Lexicography and the OED: Pioneers in the Untrodden Forest

Lexicography and the OED: Pioneers in the Untrodden Forest

Lexicography and the OED: Pioneers in the Untrodden Forest

Lexicography and the OED: Pioneers in the Untrodden Forest

Synopsis

'An excellently integrated and fascinating collection of essays dealing with aspects of the compilation of the OED.' -Years Work in English Studies'Dr Mugglestone is to be congratulated on bringing together an international team of experts and producing such a coherent volume of consistent excellence... Penny Silva's fine essay, 'Time and Meaning: Sense and Definition in the OED', may be taken as representative. This chapter should be required reading for every dictionary editor.' -Notes and Queries'This carefully edited and printed collection will be an invaluable work of reference for lexicophiles.' -International Journal of Lexicography'This is a rich and scholarly volume, based on hitherto unexploited documentary resources relating to the OED. It not only gives unusually fresh glimpses into the early history of this work, but also sets out an agenda of issues relevant to anyone concerned with dictionaries and dictionary-making.' -The Review of English Studies'This study is an essential acquisition for lexicographers, language scholars and researchers. Indeed, anyone with a passion for the English language and a basic knowledge of the history of the OED will find much of interest within these pages.' - Richard Boyle, Times Higher Education Supplement'Lexicography and the OED justifiably claims to be 'the most wide-ranging account yet published of the creation of one of the great canonical works of the 20th century.' -Richard Boyle, Times Higher Education SupplementThe Oxford English Dictionary occupies a special place in the history of English, cultural as well as linguistic. Lexicography and the OED sets out to explore the pioneering endeavours in both lexicography and lexicology which led to the making of its first edition. Making use of much unpublished archive material, this collection of twelve essays brings a wide variety of perspectives to bear upon the OED, and the particular problems posed by the attempt to break new ground in its formation.

Excerpt

Lexicography and the OED was written with the main intent of examining the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, originally published by the Clarendon Press in Oxford between 1884 and 1928 under the title A New English Dictionary on a Historical Basis. Though OED, the title by which it is now known, gradually crept into use over these years (see further Chapter 1, n. 1), first on the covers and wrappers of the individual parts and on the binding-cases of the quarterpersian edition, and, in the edition of 1933, on the title-page too, it is the original title of A New English Dictionary (NED) which perhaps most clearly signals the departures which were, in a variety of ways, deliberately being made in terms of English lexicography in the course of its formation. As the relevant entry in the fascicle N-Niche (edited by W. A. Craigie and published in September 1906) indicates, new can be taken to signify that which is 'first invented or introduced; novel' as well as that 'different from that previously existing, known, or used': 'now made, or brought into existence, for the first time'. The new dictionary of the Philological Society was intentionally to be all these things, not least since, as Murray himself stressed, it was a venture in which the lexicographer must almost necessarily assume the role of pioneer, exploring—and charting—the hitherto unknown territories of the English language in both past and present.

Adopting a range of lexicographical and linguistic perspectives, the chapters in this volume, many using previously unpublished archive material, examine the results and processes of the pioneering endeavours which thus informed the origins, and the realization, of the OED. The dictionary is, however, a complex and by no means static construct. As a result, though the central focus remains on the first edition of the OED, the 1933 Supplement edited by W. A. Craigie and C. T. Onions, Robert Burchfield's four-volume Supplement of 1972-86, the publication of the integrated edition of OED2 in 1989, edited by Edmund Weiner and John Simpson (and especially the appearance of the latter on CD-ROM in 1992 which has, in itself, immeasurably facilitated much of the research in this volume) also feature where relevant, if to a lesser extent. As revision of the dictionary continues towards the publication of OED3, it is moreover clear that the pioneering ventures which Murray saw as integral to the art of lexicography are by no means restricted to the past.

Acknowledgements are primarily due to the staff of Room 132 in the Bodleian Library for their unfailing courtesy and help with the archives of the Murray Papers and, in equal measure, to Jenny McMorris from the Archives of Oxford University Press for her help and advice on the OUP archive materials connected . . .

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