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Commentary ____________________267 were a history of slang lexicography rather than of slang, these omissions would be worth noting. But Lighter has examined each of these candidates and rejected them on a principled basis derived from his citations. Rather than being faulted for omissions, Lighter should be praised for weeding mere "dictionary words" and not repeating the usual lexicographical plagiarism. It seems odd that Spears should make this complaint since he has studied lexicographical piracy and decried its negative effects. Spears does celebrate Lighter's work. But the difference between Spears's ideas about how it should have been done and how it was done ought to have been more carefully distinguished in the review. Those who have supported and encouraged Lighter in the past ought now to redouble their efforts; he has at last brought to print the most magnificent slang dictionary ever executed . Richard W. Bailey References Crystal, David, ed. 1980. Eric Partridge in His Own Words. New York: Macmillan. Lighter, J. E. 1994. The Random House Historical Dictionary ofAmerican Slang. Vol. 1. New York: Random House. Spears, Richard A. 1987. "Piracy in Argot Dictionaries." Dictionaries 9:24-32. _____. 1989. "Historical Principles in Dictionaries of Non-Standard Vocabularies ." Dictionaries 11:97-109. _____. 1995. Review of HDAS. Dictionaries 16:186-203. Wentworth, Harold, and Stuart Berg Flexner. 1960. Dictionary ofAmerican Slang. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell. Reviewing a Slang Dictionary Any reviewer ofHDAS or any other dictionary must evaluate the plan of die dictionary, how well it matches up with the real world of language use, and how well it matches up widi the dictionary itself. With HDAS, there is a unique blend of subject matter and philosophical orientation. It is known that I have given some thought to these matters, and it is not unreasonable for me to be asked to write a review. Unfortunately, Professor Bailey's "Celebration" seems to be aimed more at the reviewer than the review. He has designed a Spears diat does not exist, putting biased thought into his head and false words into his mouth—and the real Spears wants nothing to do with Bailey's creation. First, I care very much for 268_______________________Commentary historical principles, the foundation of our science—but I feel free to question their appropriateness for certain kinds of vocabulary and to evaluate how they are applied in any lexicographical product. Second, I made no reference whatsoever to historical principles, either praise or criticism, in the review of HDAS. Third, I must remind Professor Bailey that my 1989 article was not a review of HDAS. Unlike works cited in that article, HDAS is based on a huge corpus of printed citations, making the use of some aspects of historical principles possible and, indeed, obligatory. No one—including the real Spears—has ever applied any ofthe notions in the 1989 paper and I wager no one ever will. Contrary to Bailey's assertions, I made no suggestions in the review as to how HDAS should have been done. The development ofthe plan ofthe dictionary was Lighter's choice, and it is the ramifications of the choice that were under review. I have no hidden agenda; I am in awe of Lighter's accomplishment. I have criticized the presentation of the plan of the dictionary either by responding to specific assertions in the introduction or by bringing up points that were not covered well or at all in the introduction. It is not odd that I bring mention of the work of Flexner into the close of the review. He is quoted earlier in my review as follows: The year date is given before each quotation. The first quotation often indicates the earliest printed occurrence of the word which was found, but in no instance can it be assumed that this was its first appearance in print. Indeed, nearly all words are used orally—sometimes for years—before they appear in a published source. (I HearAmerica Talking, xvii) Bailey claims that I suggest the answer "... is to throw out useful evidence on the ground that some users might be tempted to put too much faith in die dates." I neither stated nor implied any such thing. The answer is...


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