Fixing Babel: An Historical Anthology of Applied English Lexicography (Hardback)
  • Fixing Babel: An Historical Anthology of Applied English Lexicography (Hardback)
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Fixing Babel: An Historical Anthology of Applied English Lexicography (Hardback)

(author), (foreword)
£100.00
Hardback 656 Pages / Published: 02/12/2016
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We all think we know what a dictionary is for and how to use one, and go right to the words we wish to look up. Yet dictionary users have not always known how English `works' and this book reproduces and examines important texts in which early dictionary authors explain choices and promote ideas. Fixing Babel provides authoritative transcriptions of documents from the front matter of major English dictionaries over a two-hundred-year period. It also provides commentary on, and annotation of, a wide range of lexicographical concerns.

Publisher: Bucknell University Press
ISBN: 9781611488098
Number of pages: 656
Weight: 1034 g
Dimensions: 238 x 159 x 38 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Shapiro (CUNY) has compiled and edited nearly 500 pages of front matter from early dictionaries of the English language. She begins with A Dictionary in English and Latine for Children, and Yong Beginners (1602)-originally compiled by John Withals, but added to by William Clerk (regularized here as Clark)-and ends with Noah Webster's 1828 An American Dictionary of the English Language; Samuel Johnson makes his appearance more than midway along (with pieces from 1747 and 1755). Altogether Shapiro collects 39 selections from more than 30 authors, including Benjamin Defoe, Edmund Coote, Thomas Sheridan, and Francis Grose. The entries document how scholarly thinking about language and dictionaries evolved and the ways in which early dictionaries influenced one another. Each entry is preceded by a biographical note (or in the case of the two anonymous works, a short commentary). Most entries are reproduced fully and explicated with notes, though a few are necessarily abridged. Shapiro's 20-page introduction serves as a fine bibliographic essay on dictionary scholarship. Including a comprehensive bibliography, Fixing Babel is the sort of historical anthology that dictionary aficionados and teachers of the history of the English language will all want, and it is a required resource for students. Summing Up: Essential. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. * CHOICE *
Fixing Babel: An Historical Anthology of Applied English Lexicography, edited by Rebecca Shapiro, offers an invaluable collection of the explanatory front matter written by dictionary authors from the early seventeenth to early nineteenth centuries. This unique collation, beautifully edited with instructive commentary, enables readers to grasp the shifting dynamic of descriptive and prescriptive elements used by lexicographers in documenting the ever-widening scope of English language use in the documented time frame. * SEL: Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 *

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