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266Reviews Amateurism is no great offense, however. Indeed this book is amateur in the good etymological sense as well as the professionally snobby one. It is the product of an enthusiastic love of the subject. It communicates that enthusiasm. It informs about arcane subjects that fall within the competence of the author. It shows a wide and humane knowledge relating to its matter. It is undoubtedly the best British-American parallel list available today. One can only speculate on what the 1994 edition will be called. And look forward to it. John Algeo University of Georgia REFERENCES Read, Allen Walker. "The Making of Parallel Lists between British and American English." Manuscript of a paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Dialect Society, Washington, D.C, 28 Dec. 1984. Schur, Norman W. British Self-Taught: With Comments in American. New York: Macmillan, 1973. —. English English. Essex, CT: Verbatim, 1980. The Oxford English Dictionary and the State of the Language. Robert W. Burchfield and Hans Aarsleff. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1988. 56 pp. $3.95. In May 1986, the Library of Congress held a festival and symposium celebrating the completion of the final volume of Burchfield's Supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary Reviews267 (1972-86). Daniel J. Boorstin, a distinguished American historian and then Librarian of Congress, praised the English language and celebrated lexicographers. Robert and Elizabeth Burchfield (accompanied by minders)1 were feted with an ostentation that must have been some recompense for years of lonely dictionary-making; they had just been in New Orleans (where ghetto-blaster, Burchfield reports [30], is used in the sense current in the Oxfordshire village in which he lives) and were about to depart for Japan on a round-theworld sales tour. The Library of Congress, after some delay, presents in this booklet three papers given on that occasion in Washington, two by Burchfield and one by Hans Aarsleff. Aarsleff's "The Original Plan for the OED and Its Background " (34-43) rehearses the ideas discussed in his account of the same subject published in 1962—for instance, the influence of Richard Chenevix Trench on the formation of the Dictionary. In his youthful excursus on this subject, Aarsleff did something no one had ever done before: he called James Murray a liar. What he had described as a "false statement " and "Murray's mistake" was the assertion in Murray's Romanes lecture that the OED was part of The Evolution of English Lexicography. Contrary to Murray's claim that Charles Richardson's Dictionary was the immediate ancestor of his work, Aarsleff had written: "the OED depends for its lexicography entirely on Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon, first published in 1843 and itself merely an English version of a great work by the German classicist Franz Passow " (419). In his Washington lecture, Aarsleff used a passive verb to dilute his earlier and more personal attack: "It has been said that the OED is lineally descended from a long succession of English dictionaries, as if by a process of natural evolution, but this is not true" (43). A more minute examination of Passow's lexicographical practice and of the OED, lately published by Ladislav Zgusta, vindicates Murray : "One hardly could . . . assume that Liddell-Scott was 268Reviews Murray's inspiration, or even the main source of his inspiration " (221). Burchfield's two lectures were genial and fresh. In one, "Editing a Supplement to the OED, 1957-1986" (46-56), he offered a memoir divided into sections: beginning (Burchfield in his "pre-lexicographical period" [48] and his novitiate), middle (celebratory comments in the press), and end (of what A. J. Aitken has called "the long slog to Z'). The other lecture is an Olympian view of English and its dictionaries. Oxford is an intellectual village, and, like other villagers, its denizens suppose that outsiders are profoundly interested in its gossip and spats. In 1982, Roy Harris, Oxford's Professor of Linguistics, wrote an essay in The Times Literary Supplement claiming that historical lexicography generally and the OED specifically constitute "a suspect enterprise which smacks of cultural subversion." Alphabetical ordering makes no sense; quoting "reputable authors" is elitist; historical principles do not reflect language...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 266-271
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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