Abstract

ABSTRACT:

John Russell Bartlett, author of the 1848 Dictionary of Americanisms, came to lexicography indirectly through his fascination with American popular culture. Nonetheless, he shaped his dictionary to conform for the most part with standard dictionaries of the time. Any deviations are usually for the purpose of serving his larger goals, such as providing cultural background. This article argues that it's worth examining Bartlett's work to understand which features of dictionaries seemed essential to a mid-nineteenth-century vernacular lexicographer. His decisions are interesting partly because he was thinking about some of the same issues as more professional lexicographers of that era, for instance how to use illustrative quotations. Bartlett was also important as a recorder of vernacular English. His work preserves many examples of slang and colloquial speech that would otherwise have been lost. The article introduces Bartlett as a scholar, and then takes a detailed look at his aims and strategies as he compiled the dictionary. A following section describes the dictionary's evolution through subsequent editions and a final section discusses Bartlett's influence on later lexicographers.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 147-176
Launched on MUSE
2020-12-17
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.