Dictionaries: A Very Short Introduction

Paperback | August 25, 2011

byLynda Mugglestone

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Do, or should, dictionaries control language? How do they treat language change, both now and in the past? Which words do dictionaries leave out - and on what grounds? Dictionaries are far more than works which list the words and meanings of a language. In this Very Short Introduction Lynda Mugglestone shows that all dictionaries are partial and all are selective. They are human products, reflecting the dominant social and cultural assumptions of the time in whichthey were written.Dictionaries exist then not only as works which seek to document language, but also as cultural documents that are connected to the world in which they were produced. Exploring common beliefs about dictionaries, providing glimpses of behind the scenes dictionary makers at work, and confronting theproblems of how a word is to be defined, Mugglestone shows that dictionaries are always, and inevitably, more than the crafting of a simple list of words. Concluding with a look at the range of modern dictionaries and transformations, from online dictionaries such as urbandictionary.com orwictionary to txt-spk and slang, she reveals the controversial nature of the debates about communication and language, showing that only in written and spoken English does the language of dictionaries exist in full.

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Do, or should, dictionaries control language? How do they treat language change, both now and in the past? Which words do dictionaries leave out - and on what grounds? Dictionaries are far more than works which list the words and meanings of a language. In this Very Short Introduction Lynda Mugglestone shows that all dictionaries are p...

Lynda Mugglestone has written widely on a range of aspects of language, culture, and the history of dictionaries. While two books Lost for Words: The Hidden History of the OED (Yale, 2005) and Lexicography and the OED: Pioneers in the Untrodden Forest (OUP, 2001; 2003) have focussed on the Oxford English Dictionary, a range of articl...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:152 pages, 6.85 × 4.37 × 0.68 inPublished:August 25, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199573794

ISBN - 13:9780199573790

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Table of Contents

Preface1. Identity2. History3. Craft4. Authority5. Truth6. Last words