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The Mysterious Case of the Vanishing Tramlines: James Murray's Legacy and the 1933 OED Supplement Sarah Ogilvie Trinity College, Oxford Acareful inspection of the pages of the 1933 Oxford English Dictionary Supplement (1933 Supplement) reveals something strange: there are no tramlines. These are two small, parallel lines — 1 1 — that OED editors put beside headwords considered to be "alien or not yet naturalized" (Murray 1888, xxvi). The use of tramlines to denote a word's loan status was a practice devised byJames Murray in the 1880s and used thereafter in the first edition of the OED (1884-1928), the four-volume Supplement to the OED (1972-1986) by Robert Burchfield , and the second edition of the OED (1989).2 James Murray and his fellow editors considered tramlines so important that they counted the total number per volume, and pub1I am indebted to the AHRC and the Wingate Foundation for funding to pursue this research; to Lynda Mugglestone, David Cram, Jane Shaw, Bill Frawley, Aditi Lahiri, Peter Gilliver, and two anonymous reviewers for feedback on earlier drafts of this paper; to Antoinette Rossi for assistance with the original research ; to Martin Maw and Beverley Hunt of the OUP archives, and to the Secretary of the Delegates of Oxford University Press for permission to publish archival documents. ^Tramlines have been dropped in the third edition of the OED. Dictionaries:Journal ofthe Dictionary Society ofNorth America 29 (2008), 1-22. Sarah Ogilvie lished the results in every preface. The task of counting tramlines fell to Murray's daughter, Hilda, who counted a total of 9731 tramlines in the first edition of the OED (OEDl).3 Burchfield's Supplement, which was based on the 1933 Supplement, reinstated tramlines and was published with over 6000 tramlines.4 The second edition of the OED (1989) reproduced all the tramlines that appeared in OEDl and the Burchfield Supplement. The remit of the 1933 Supplement was to augment OEDl with words and senses that had not been included during its seventy-year compilation, such as appendicitis, aeroplane, African, cinema, jazz, and radio. Its editors, Charles Onions and Sir William Craigie, had been Murray's assistants and co-editors on OEDl: Onions since 1895 and Craigie since 1897. They chose to apply the same lexicographic methods and dictionary layout to the 1933 Supplement. Their aim was to build on the legacy set for them byJames Murray, not to develop independent policies that introduced new lexicographic policies. It is therefore striking that a central part of OED policy — the marking of loanwords — was omitted from the 1933 Supplement. This paper seeks to solve the mystery of why there were no tramlines in the 1933 Supplement. No Tramlines in the 1933 OED Supplement It is not entirely accurate to say there were no tramlines in the 1933 Supplement. A close inspection of the text reveals tramlines on two words: kadin, a Turkish word for a woman of the Sultan's harem, and rhexis, a word from Latin and Greek denoting 'the breaking or bursting of the wall of a blood vessel': 'This figure was calculated by adding the total per volume = 870 + 928 + 718 + 453 + 844 + 1343 + 1845 + 791 + 1006 + 933 = 9731 tramlines in OEDl. 4This figure was estimated from 637 tramlines in 10% sample: 637 ? 10 = 6370 tramlines in the Burchfield Supplement. The Mysterious Case of the Vanishing Tramlines Kadin in the 1933 OED Supplement Rhexis in the 1933 OED Supplement A few words have tramlines on the second pronunciation if it is non-naturalized (e.g., apache 'band of robbers in Paris'; estampage 'impression on paper of an inscription'; and sabotage 'deliberate or organized destruction'). Sarah Ogilvie Why are kadin and rhexis the only words with tramlines in the 1933 Supplement} A comparison with other loanwords in the volume shows no reason why they should be treated differently. The word kadin had a spelling that was straightforward for English orthography, and had a pronunciation (/'kadin/) that provided no difficulty for the English sound system. The word-initial stress and the length of the first vowel showed a degree of naturalization in English that differed from the original Turkish pronunciation (which has stress on the final syllable ).5 There...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 1-22
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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