BOOKS ON LANGUAGE AT
BOOKS ON LANGUAGE
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FRANKLYN, Julian, 1899-1970 : A DICTIONARY OF RHYMING SLANG.
London : Routledge & Kegan Paul, (1961). Second edition : with an additional preface and an interesting appendix not contained in the original edition published the previous year. An absorbing Captain (Cook), Jackdaw (and Rook), or Joe (Hook), giving not just Cockney, but also Australian, American and Irish usages, with an important introductory essay, an index of meanings, etc.
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GREEN, Jonathon, 1948- : CHASING THE SUN : DICTIONARY-MAKERS AND THE DICTIONARIES THEY MADE.
London : Jonathan Cape, (1996). First edition. A history of the dictionary in England and America.
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GREIG, J.Y.T. (John Young Thomson), 1891- 1963 : BREAKING PRISCIAN’S HEAD, OR, ENGLISH AS SHE WILL BE SPOKE AND WROTE.
London : Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., . First edition. A lively, combative (and learned) essay on the future development of English, named for the Latin grammarian Priscian of Lydia, using James Joyce to illustrate the coining of neologisms, and generally calculated “to horrify grammarians and pedants”. As one review remarked. “Most of the improvements are likely to come from America. We on this side of the Atlantic will be wise to take them over with a good grace”. In the “Today and Tomorrow” series.
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[HOTTEN, John Camden, 1832-1873] : A DICTIONARY OF MODERN SLANG, CANT, AND VULGAR WORDS, USED AT THE PRESENT DAY IN THE STREETS OF LONDON ...
London : John Camden Hotten, 1859. First edition. An extraordinary compilation from the mercurial bookseller, publisher, rogue and antiquary, John Camden Hotten. Alongside an extensive dictionary of some 3,000 words unknown to other dictionaries (covering the slang of the universities, the rookeries, parliament and the court, as well as the London streets) there are an absorbing history of the subject, glossaries of two secret languages – the back-slang of the costermongers and the rhyming-slang of the chaunters and patterers (the first authoritative account of either), and an extensive bibliography.
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HOTTEN, John Camden, 1832-1873 – publisher : THE SLANG DICTIONARY; OR, THE VULGAR WORDS, STREET PHRASES, AND “FAST” EXPRESSIONS OF HIGH AND LOW SOCIETY. MANY WITH THEIR ETYMOLOGY, AND A FEW WITH THEIR HISTORY TRACED.
London : John Camden Hotten, 1864. [Third edition]. First published in 1859 as “A Dictionary of Modern Slang”, containing 3,000 examples, the present edition has more than tripled in size to include some 10,000 definitions – cant; gipsy slang; jaw-breakers; beggars’ maps and hieroglyphics; slang history; fashionable slang; parliamentary slang; military and dandy slang; university slang; religious slang; legal slang; literary slang; theatrical slang; money slang; shopkeepers’ slang; workmen’s slang; slang oaths; drunk slang; back slang; rhyming slang – and a bibliography.
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MACBRIDE, Mackenzie (Charles Mackenzie), 1861-1933 : LONDON’S DIALECT : AN ANCIENT FORM OF ENGLISH SPEECH.
London : Priory Press, 1910. First edition. Beginning as a spirited defence of the much derided Cockney dialect (in fact the first standard and the first written English), MacBride goes on to explore its origins and then the importance of dialects in general, with much on the dialects of other parts of the country.
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PRENDERGAST, Thomas, 1806-1886 : THE MASTERY OF LANGUAGES ; OR, THE ART OF SPEAKING FOREIGN TONGUES IDIOMATICALLY.
London : Richard Bentley, 1864. First edition. An interesting early work on the theory of language learning, recently reprinted in the Foundations of Foreign Language Teaching series. Prendergast analyses how children acquire language and draws lessons and techniques. He had fomerly been a civil servant in Madras and part of the work relates to the structure of Hindustani.
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TRENCH, Richard Chenevix, 1807-1886 : ENGLISH : PAST AND PRESENT. FIVE LECTURES.
London : John W. Parker & Son, 1855. First edition. Subsequently much-reprinted university lectures from the Irish old Harrovian, Apostle at Cambridge, later Archbishop of Dublin, and progenitor of the Oxford English Dictionary. The lectures cover English as a composite language; gains of the language; diminutions of the language; changes in meaning, and changes in spelling.
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