Chosen words: past and present problems for dictionary makers

Front Cover
University of Exeter Press, 1997 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 188 pages
What goes into our dictionaries and why? This informative collection of essays shows how dictionaries today have grown from the small beginnings of English lexicography in Shakespeare's time. Discussion is anchored in the practice of the past, but the author has been concerned throughout to show how the difficulties which beset the first compilers are still with us today. The essays may thus be read as a stimulating, even chastening, introduction to some of the practical problems that might confront any trainee lexicographer. The product of over forty years' scholarly work on Cawdrey, Kersey, Bailey, Johnson and other lexicographers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, these essays cover a wide variety of topics, including dialect words, variant spellings, how strict the alphabetical order can or should be, the treatment of phrasal verbs, of the literary and learned language, of common words, archaism and figurative usage. There are also critical assessments of some of the great historical dictionaries of Europe.

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Modern Practice and the Origins
John Kersey and the First
Dialect Words in General Dictionaries

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Common terms and phrases

About the author (1997)

N.E. Osselton has divided his academic career equally between universities in Holland (Groningen, Leiden) and England (Southampton, Newcastle); he has held chairs of English Language in both countries. He was a founder member (and later President) of the European Association for Lexicography and now lives in retirement in Durham.