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This book continues Julie Coleman's acclaimed history of dictionaries of English slang and cant. It describes the increasingly systematic and scholarly way in which such terms were recorded and classified in the UK, the USA, Australia, and elsewhere, and the huge growth in the publication of and public appetite for dictionaries, glossaries, and guides to the distinctive vocabularies of different social groups, classes, districts, regions, and nations. Dr Coleman describes the origins of words and phrases and explores their history. By copious example she shows how they cast light on everyday life across the globe - from settlers in Canada and Australia and cockneys in London to gang-members in New York and soldiers fighting in the Boer and First World Wars - as well as on the operations of the narcotics trade and the entertainment business and the lives of those attending American colleges and British public schools. The slang lexicographers were a colourful bunch. Those featured in this book include spiritualists, aristocrats, socialists, journalists, psychiatrists, school-boys, criminals, hoboes, police officers, and a serial bigamist. One provided the inspiration for Robert Lewis Stevenson's Long John Silver. Another was allegedly killed by a pork pie. Julie Coleman's account will interest historians of language, crime, poverty, sexuality, and the criminal underworld.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780199549375
ISBN-10: 0199549370
Format: Hardback
(241mm x 163mm x 31mm)
Pages: 520
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 23-Oct-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Julie Coleman

Julie Coleman is Reader in English at the University of Leicester and founder of the International Society for Historical Lexicography and Lexicology. Her research interests lie in the history of the English language, particularly the history of the lexis. She is the author of A Thesaurus of Love, Sex, and Marriage, Rodopi 1999. The first two volumes of her history of cant and slang dictionaries, on the periods 1567-1784 and 1785-1858, were published by OUP in 2004. A fourth volume taking the history to 1984 is in preparation.

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