Cumbrian Lexis in the English Dialect Dictionary: William Nicolson’s Glossarium Brigantinum (1677) in Focus
- Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America
- Dictionary Society of North America
- Number 35, 2014
- pp. 162-186
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This paper examines Cumbrian lexis in Joseph Wright’s English Dialect Dictionary (1898–1905), paying special attention to the contribution of William Nicolson’s largely unnoticed Glossarium Brigantinum (1677). The paper relies on quantitative methods of analysis to determine the proportion of words exemplified by means of Nicolson’s data and to evaluate the treatment Wright gave to them. It first presents an overview of the source materials for Wright’s dictionary, with a focus on early and Cumbrian documents. It then describes Nicolson’s glossary and Mackenzie E. C. Walcott’s abridged edition of it issued in 1868, the edition Wright used for the dictionary. Finally, relying on information retrieved from the EDD Online, it presents the results of the analysis. The argument is made that, although Wright referred to the Glossarium Brigantinum as a source for the dialect of Cumberland, the actual use he made of it demonstrates that it also proved useful with regard to Westmoreland.