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Reviews177 Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1988. Story, G. M., W. J. Kirwin, and J. D. A. Widdowson. Dictionary ofNewfoundland English. Toronto: U of Toronto, 1982. Strevens, Peter. "Standards and the Standard Language." English Today 2 (1985): 5-8. Wolfram, Walt, and Ralph W. Fasold. The Study of Social Dialects in American English. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice, 1974. * * * Darrell R. Raymond, comp. Dispatches from the Front: The Prefaces to the Oxford English Dictionary. Waterloo, Ontario: UW Centre for the New Oxford English Dictionary, October 1987. Unpaged. Unpriced. When Robert W. Burchfield became editor of A Supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary in 1957, he began by reading the prefaces to the fascicles and volumes of the New English Dictionary. Written for the benefit of subscribers to the New English Dictionary, these prefaces were often discarded when the fascicles were assembled into volumes, and they were not reprinted in 1933 when the work was issued as The Oxford English Dictionary. For modern readers, these prefaces are only available in copies of the NED that were kept in their parts as originally issued or bound by an unusually scrupulous bindery. As part of our continuing series of materials on the history of the OED, Dictionaries published the first of Murray's "lost" prefaces (9 [1987]: 179-95). Now, thanks to the Centre for the OED at the University of Waterloo, all of these prefaces are assembled in one place. This volume is handsome, and, though the original large format of the NED page has been photographically reduced, the prefaces are clearly printed. Two aspects of the work might have been improved. One is that no sequential page numbers are provided (making reference difficult); the other is that the prefaces are presented in alphabetical rather than in the chronological order of their publication. Table 4 (at the front of the volume) shows the issue dates of each fascicle, and from it we learn that, for instance, the part for X-Zyxt appeared in 178Reviews July 1921 while that for Worm-Wyzen appeared in April 1928. Reading them in alphabetical order presents some curious anomalies, and a person is sometimes memorialized in one preface and thanked as a living helper in a subsequent one. The decision to present the prefaces alphabetically arose, no doubt, from the idea that these essays recount the history of the English vocabulary more than they do the history of the dictionary. There is something to be said for that proposition, and the prefaces eventually took on a regular structure centered on the language (whether they were written by Murray, Bradley, Craigie, or Onions): statistical information on the number of main words, combinations, and subordinate entries in the fascicle (compared to other dictionaries of the day); observations on the etymological provenance of the entries; a listing of words to which special attention is drawn; and acknowledgment of helpers and staff who assisted in work for that portion of the alphabet. (The four editors worked separately and with separate staffs and hence wrote separate prefaces.) As Darrell Raymond notes in his own preface, Murray's prefaces "are always distinguishable," and Murray's prejudices and ego are everywhere apparent. He accumulated honors as the work went on and represented them amply on the title pages of the parts he published. In the first portion (?-Ant), he is: James A. H. Murray, LL. D. President of the Philological Society. By the end of the work, he is: Reviews1 79 Sir James A. H. Murray, B. A. Lond., M. A., D. Litt, Oxon., LL. D., Edin. and Glasg., Litt. D. Dublin and Camb., D. C. L. Durham, D. Litt. Wales and Cape Town, Ph. D. Freiburg i. B.; Fellow of the British Academy and Royal Society, Edin.; Foreign Corresp. Member of the Institute of France (Acad. Inscr.), The Imperial and Royal Academies of Vienna, Berlin, Upsala, and Flanders, The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, The American Philosophical Society, and De Maatschappy der Nederlandsche Letterkunde te Leyden. This last listing does not end, as do many of the intermediate ones, with "Etc." Some specimens of Murray's prejudices as they appear in the prefaces help to illuminate the history of his work. The "origin...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 177-183
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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