When the Provincial Dialects Were the Subject of Conversation: Eighteenth-Century Norfolk Words in BL Add MS 32640
- Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America
- Dictionary Society of North America
- Number 37, 2016
- pp. 99-131
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This paper examines the Norfolk dialect words contained in BL Add MS 32640, an amateur list that George Nicol, London bookseller to George III, sent to Sarah Sophia Banks in 1789. This paper aims to determine the extent to which this specimen contributes to the historical record of the dialect, especially given that early testimonies to the vocabulary of Norfolk are not abundant. The paper first presents an overview of early sources concerned with Norfolk and East Anglian lexis. It then describes the manuscript list, paying attention to the type of vocabulary recorded and its distribution. Finally, it presents the results of the analysis that examines the data against the evidence furnished by previous and later Norfolk sources. The paper argues that the manuscript contains items that had not been recorded for Norfolk at so early a date, as well as terms whose senses, as documented in this amateur list, have gone unrecorded in other dialect sources, including Joseph Wright’s English Dialect Dictionary (1896–1905).