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PRINTED BOOKS
Author Willinsky, John, 1950-

Title Empire of words : the reign of the OED / John Willinsky.

Published Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, [1994]
©1994

Copies

Location Call No. Status
 UniM Bail  423.028 WILL    AVAILABLE
Physical description viii, 258 pages ; 25 cm
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages [239]-249) and index.
Summary Willinsky analyzes the favored citation records from the three editorial periods of the OED's compilation: the Victorian, imperial first edition; the modern supplement; and the contemporary second edition composed on an electronic data base. He reveals shifts in linguistic authority: the original edition relied on English literature and, surprisingly, on translations, reference works, and journalism; the modern editions have shifted emphasis to American sources and periodicals while continuing to neglect women, workers, and other English-speaking countries.
Willinsky's dissection of dictionary entries exposes contradictions and ambiguities in the move from citation to definition. He points out that Shakespeare, the most frequently cited authority in the OED, often confounds the dictionary's simple sense of meaning with his wit and artfulness. He shows us how the most famous four-letter words in the language found their way, one hundred years later, through a belabored editorial process into the supplement to the OED. Willinsky sheds considerable light on how the OED continues to shape the English language through the sometimes idiosyncratic, often biased selection of citations by hired readers and impassioned friends of the language. Anyone who is fascinated with words and language will find Willinsky's tour through the OED a delightful and stimulating experience.
Subject Oxford English dictionary.
Encyclopedias and dictionaries -- History and criticism.
English language -- Lexicography.
English language -- Etymology.
ISBN 0691037191 (CL)