A History of Cant and Slang Dictionaries Volume II: 1785-1858

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Overview

The publication of Francis Grose's Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue revolutionized the lexicography of non-standard English. His influence is felt in most of the dictionaries covered in this volume which copy, variously, his carefully documented reliance on written sources, his delighted revelation of first-hand experience of the seedier side of London life, and his word-list. During this period, glossaries of cant are thrown into the shade by dictionaries of slang, which include the language of thieves, but cover a much broader spectrum of non-standard English. While cant represented a practical threat to property and life, slang was a moral threat to the very structure of society. In the 1820s, Pierce Egan's Life in London demonstrated how popular and successful slang literature could be among the masses. This volume also includes the earliest Australian and American slang glossaries, by individuals like James Hardy Vaux (a convict transported three times) and George Matsell (New York's first chief of police).

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A fascinating glimpse into a world in which a secret language was at once menacing and thrilling."—Times Literary Supplement
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199254705
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 2/17/2005
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Julie Coleman lectures on English Historical Linguistics and Medieval Literature at the University of Leicester. She has written widely on English lexicology and lexicography from the medieval period onwards, and is founder and current chair of the International Society for Historical Lexicography and Lexicology.

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Table of Contents

1. Francis Grose
2. Dictionaries Based on Grose's
3. Humphry Tristram Potter
4. James Hardy Vaux
5. Pierce Egan
6. John Bee
7. Minor British Cant and Slang Lists
8. Some American Cant and Slang Lists
9. College Dictionaries
10. Conclusions

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