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200Reviews Thomas L. Clark. The Dictionary of Gambling and Gaming. Cold Spring, NY: Lexik House, 1987. xxii + 263 pp. $48.00. This is a good-looking and well-made book of 263 pages. It is well-done and useful; there is nothing else like it. It is thoroughly researched and written with considerable knowledge of the subject matter. The definitions are usually quite clear, and the citations, when available, are helpful and to the point. The layout is attractive, and the format is sensible and easy to follow. Every sense, usage note, quotation, subentry, and etymological note begins a new line, making for easy readability, but making the book less compact than it might otherwise be. This is not a dictionary of argot as is suggested on the flap of the dust jacket, but a dictionary of the TOPIC of gambling and gaming. The book pulls together the vocabulary related to gambling and gaming from every conceivable source, modern and antique, including recently made collections and oral history . Clark carefully spells out the policies for inclusion and exclusion, but there is much plain, well-known English here. For example, the words luck, discard, hopper (a receptacle), easy money, maximum bet, minimum bet, meet (as in track meet), meter, and misdeal appear with their standard or at least conventional meanings within the gambling and gaming context. Clark devotes a considerable amount of space in the introduction to a discussion of "historical principles" in this kind of dictionary. He considers this dictionary a specialized descendant of a "dictionary on historical principles" and does not examine the models used in other dictionaries of non-standard expressions. A paper written by Clark titled "On the Concept 'Historical Principles' in Dictionaries of SubCultures " is part of the introduction. Clark presents, in list form. Murray's comments appearing in the 1933 edition of the OED on the characteristics of a dictionary on historical principles and argues that nonprint sources are also needed. Rather than quarrel with the historical principles model, he adds three new principles to the list. These are: (1) Utilize all historical records, including interviews and oral histories, (2) Use citations long enough to demonstrate meaning in situ, [and] (3) Cross-index with earlier dictionaries based on Reviews20 1 historical principles. There are points on which this dictionary cannot follow Murray's model, but the dictionary is also at odds with Clark's own additions to the model. Much to the benefit of the dictionary , Clark includes considerable material from contemporary interviews and collections. This seems to conflict with the "historical" character of his point number one, however. I am not sure what is meant by in situ in point two, but most of the citations used are explanations of the term in question, many apparently given in response to specific questions. Few of them appear to have been extracted from spontaneous, in situ discourse or from writing in the style of such discourse. By limiting himself to dictionaries on historical principles in point three, he is ignoring most twentieth-century collections of nonstandard vocabulary and the models they use for handling non-standard material—except works that deal specifically with gambling. Of course, because of a paucity of multiple, dated quotations, there are few entries in this dictionary that can be elucidated in the manner of a proper dictionary on historical principles. Quite a few of Murray's principles simply do not apply to any genre of language that is not documented over a lengthy period of time. More than anything the inclusion of Clark's 1981 article draws attention to the need for new models of dictionaries more suited to non-standard language than the historical principles used in the lexicography of the standardized language. If Clark had said briefly that he had attempted to "collect, define, and date gambling and gaming expressions—with scholarly rigor—from all possible English sources, including dictionaries and interviews," that would have been sufficient, and that is essentially what he has done. Anyone who studies this dictionary will be pleased and rewarded by the numerous explanations taken from oral interviews , such as the various senses of mark. In these interviews, we hear from various gaming fraternity...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 200-205
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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