Chapter published in:Late Modern English: Novel encounters
Edited by Merja Kytö and Erik Smitterberg
[Studies in Language Companion Series 214] 2020
► pp. 168–183
In search of “the lexicographic stamp”
George Augustus Sala, slang and Late Modern English dictionaries
This chapter is a contribution to the study of G. A. Sala and of the LModE period from the perspective of historical lexicography. Taking as its starting point “Slang”, an article published by Sala in an 1853 issue of Dickens’s Household Words, the study investigates Sala’s reliance on previous glossaries of slang and the possible impact of the numerous examples he provides upon the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED1), prepared shortly after. The analysis described concludes that, despite Sala’s discussion of words previously unregistered in dictionaries, his text had a tenuous impact upon OED1; it shows furthermore that OED1 did not ignore recent contemporaneous slang, testifying instead to the complex relation LModE speakers had with non-standard language.
Published online: 18 March 2020
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