To use colloquialisms one must have an adequate fluency in English and a sufficient familiarity with the language, otherwise one may sound ridiculous, especially, perhaps, if one uses a mixture of British and American colloquialisms. The author has witnessed some occasions where a student used American slang words intermingled with idiomatic expressions learned from Ch. Dickens, with a kind of English public school accent; the result was that his speech sounded like nothing on earth. § 12.6 SLANG Slang words are identified and distinguished by contrasting them to standard literary vocabulary. They are expressive, mostly ironical words serving to create fresh names for some things that are frequent topics of discourse. For the most part they sound somewhat vulgar, cynical and harsh, aiming to show the object of speech in the light of an off-hand contemptuous ridicule. Vivid examples can be furnished by various slang words for money, such as beans, brass, dibs, dough, chink, oof, wads; the slang synonyms for word head are attic, brain-pan, hat peg, nut, upper storey, compare also various synonyms for the adjective drunk: boozy, cock-eyed, high, soaked, tight and many more. Notions that for some reason or other are apt to excite an emotional reaction attract as a rule many synonyms: there are many slang words for food, alcohol drinks, stealing and other violations of the law, for jail, death, madness, drug use, etc. Slang has often attracted the attention of lexicographers. The best-known English slang dictionary is compiled by E. Partridge. The subject of slang has caused much controversy for many years. Very different opinions have been expressed concerning its nature, its boundaries and the attitude that should be adopted towards it. The question whether it should be considered a healthful source of vocabulary development or a manifestation of vocabulary decay has been often discussed. It has been repeatedly stated by many authors that after a slang word has been used in speech for a certain period of time, people get accustomed to it and it ceases to produce that shocking effect for the sake of which it has been originally coined. The most vital among slang words are then accepted into literary vocabulary. The examples are bet, bore, chap, donkey, fun, humbug, mob, odd, pinch, shabby, sham, snob, trip, also some words from the American slang: graft, hitch-hiker, sawbones, etc. These words were originally slang words but have now become part of literary vocabulary. The most prominent place among them is occupied by words or expressions having no synonyms and serving as expressive names for some specific notions. The word teenager, so very frequent now, is a good example. Also blurb — a publisher’s eulogy of a book printed on its jacket or in advertisements elsewhere, which is originally American slang word. The communicative value of these words ensures their stability. But they are rather the exception. The bulk of slang is formed by shortlived words. E. Partridge, one of the best known specialists in English 249 slang, gives as an example a series of vogue words designating a man of fashion that superseded one another in English slang. They are: blood (1550-1660), macaroni (1760), buck (1720-1840), swell (1811), dandy (1820-1870), toff (1851)1. It is convenient to group slang words according to their place in the vocabulary system, and more precisely, in the semantic system of the vocabulary. If they denote a new and necessary notion, they may prove an enrichment of the vocabulary and be accepted into standard English. If, on the other hand, they make just another addition to a cluster of synonyms, and have nothing but novelty to back them, they die out very quickly, constituting the most changeable part of the vocabulary. Another type of classification suggests subdivision according to the sphere of usage, into general slang and special slang. General slang includes words that are not specific for any social or professional group, whereas special slang is peculiar for some such group: teenager slang, university slang, public school slang, Air Force slang, football slang, sea slang, and so on. This second group is heterogeneous. Some authors, A.D. Schweitzer for instance, consider argot to belong here. It seems, however, more logical to differentiate slang and argot. The essential difference between them results from the fact that the first has an expressive function, whereas the second is primarily concerned with secrecy. Slang words are clearly motivated, сf. cradle-snatcher ‘an old man who marries or courts a much younger woman’; belly-robber ‘the head of a military canteen’; window-shopping ‘feasting one’s eyes on the goods displaced in the shops, without buying anything’. Argot words on the contrary do not show their motivation, сf. rap ‘kill’, shin ‘knife’, book ‘a life sentence’. Regarding professional words that are used by representatives of various trades in oral intercourse, it should be observed that when the word is the only name for some special notion it belongs not to slang but to terminology. If, on the other hand, it is a jocular name for something that can be described in some other way, it is slang. There are cases, of course, when words originating as professional slang later on assume the dignity of special terms or pass on into general slang. The borderlines are not always sharp and distinct. For example, the expression be on the beam was first used by pilots about the beam of the radio beacon indicating the proper course for the aircraft to follow. Then figuratively be on the beam came to mean ‘to be right’, whereas be off the beam came to mean ‘to be wrong’ or ‘to be at a loss’.
1 To this list the 20th century words masher and teddy-boy could be added. There seems to be no new equivalent in today’s English because such words as mod and rocker (like beat and beatnik) or hippy and punk imply not only, and not so much a certain way of dressing but other tastes and mental make-up as well. Mods (admirers of modern jazz music) and more sportive rockers were two groups of English youth inimical to one another. The words are formed by abbreviation and ellipsis: mod< modern jazz; rocker < rock’n roll; beat, beatnik < beat generation’, punk 250 A great deal of slang comes from the USA: corny, cute, fuss-pot, teenager, swell, etc. It would be, however, erroneous to suppose that slang is always American in its origin. On the contrary, American slang also contains elements coming from Great Britain, such as cheerio ‘goodbye’, right-o ‘yes’ > Gerry for ‘a German soldier’, and some, though not many, others. Slang is a difficult problem and much yet remains to be done in elucidating it, but a more complete treatment of this layer of vocabulary would result in an undue swelling of the chapter. Therefore in concluding the discussion of slang we shall only emphasise that the most important peculiarities of slang concern not form but content. The lexical meaning of a slang word contains not only the denotational component but also an emotive component (most often it expresses irony) and all the other possible types of connotation — it is expressive, evaluative and stylistically coloured and is the marked member of a stylistic opposition. . tions, the salesmen of these were stationers and what they sold — stationery (with the noun suffix -ery as in grocery or bakery). Not all doublets come in pairs. Examples of groups are: appreciate, appraise, apprise; astound, astonish, stun; kennel, channel, canal. The Latin word discus is the origin of a whole group of doublets:
dais Other doublets that for the most part justify their names by coming in pairs show in their various ways the influence of the language or dialect systems which they passed before entering the English vocabulary. Compare words borrowed in Middle English from Parisian French: chase, chieftain, chattels, guard, gage with their doublets of Norman French origin: catch, captain, cattle, ward, wage. § 13.4 INTERNATIONAL WORDS As the process of borrowing is mostly connected with the appearance of new notions which the loan words serve to express, it is natural that the borrowing is seldom limited to one language. Words of identical origin that occur in several languages as a result of simultaneous or successive borrowings from one ultimate source are called international words. Expanding global contacts result in the considerable growth of international vocabulary. All languages depend for their changes upon the cultural and social matrix in which they operate and various contacts between nations are part of this matrix reflected in vocabulary. International words play an especially prominent part in various terminological systems including the vocabulary of science, industry and art. The etymological sources of this vocabulary reflect the history of world culture. Thus, for example, the mankind’s cultural debt to Italy is reflected in the great number of Italian words connected with architecture, painting and especially music that are borrowed into most European languages: allegro, andante, aria, arioso, barcarole, baritone (and other names for voices), concert, duet, opera (and other names for pieces of music), piano and many many more. The rate of change in technology, political, social and artistic life has been greatly accelerated in the 20th century and so has the rate of growth of international wordstock. A few examples of comparatively new words due to the progress of science will suffice to illustrate the importance of international vocabulary: algorithm, antenna, antibiotic, automation, bionics, cybernetics, entropy, gene, genetic code, graph, microelectronics, microminiaturisation, quant, quasars, pulsars, ribosome, etc. All these show sufficient likeness in English, French, Russian and several other languages. The international wordstock is also growing due to the influx of exotic borrowed words like anaconda, bungalow, kraal, orang-outang, sari, etc. These come from many different sources. 260 International words should not be mixed with words of the common Indo-European stock that also comprise a sort of common fund of the European languages. This layer is of great importance for the foreign language teacher not only because many words denoting abstract notions are international but also because he must know the most efficient ways of showing the points of similarity and difference between such words as control : : контроль; general : : генерал; industry : : индустрия or magazine : : магазин, etc. usually called ‘translator’s false friends’. The treatment of international words at English lessons would be one-sided if the teacher did not draw his pupils’ attention to the spread of the English vocabulary into other languages. We find numerous English words in the field of sport: football, out, match, tennis, time. A large number of English words are to be found in the vocabulary pertaining to clothes: jersey, pullover, sweater, nylon, tweed, etc. Cinema and different forms of entertainment are also a source of many international words of English origin: film, club, cocktail, jazz. At least some of the Russian words borrowed into English and many other languages and thus international should also be mentioned: balalaika, bolshevik, cosmonaut, czar, intelligentsia, Kremlin, mammoth, rouble, sambo, soviet, sputnik, steppe, vodka. To sum up this brief treatment of loan words it is necessary to stress that in studying loan words a linguist cannot be content with establishing the source, the date of penetration, the semantic sphere to which the word belonged and the circumstances of the process of borrowing. All these are very important, but one should also be concerned with the changes the new language system into which the loan word penetrates causes in the word itself, and, on the other hand, look for the changes occasioned by the newcomer in the English vocabulary, when in finding its way into the new language it pushed some of its lexical neighbours aside. In the discussion above we have tried to show the importance of the problem of conformity with the patterns typical of the receiving language and its semantic needs. Chapter 14 REGIONAL VARIETIES OF THE ENGLISH VOCABULARY § 14.1 STANDARD ENGLISH VARIANTS AND DIALECTS Standard English — the official language of Great Britain taught at schools and universities, used by the press, the radio and the television and spoken by educated people may be defined as that form of English which is current and literary, substantially uniform and recognised as acceptable wherever English is spoken or understood. Its vocabulary is contrasted to dialect words or dialecticisms. Local dialeсts are varieties of the English language peculiar to some districts and having no normalised literary form. Regional varieties possessing a literary form are called variants. In Great Britain there are two variants, Scottish English and Irish English, and five main groups of dialects: Northern, Midland, Eastern, Western and Southern. Every group contains several (up to ten) dialects. One of the best known Southern dialects is Cockney, the regional dialect of London. According to E. Partridge and H.C. Wylde, this dialect exists on two levels. As spoken by the educated lower middle classes it is a regional dialect marked by some deviations in pronunciation but few in vocabulary and syntax. As spoken by the uneducated, Cockney differs from Standard English not only in pronunciation but also in vocabulary, morphology and syntax. G.B. Shaw’s play «Pygmalion» clearly renders this level of Cockney as spoken at the time when the play was written and reveals the handicap Cockney obviously presents in competition with speakers of standard English. Professor Henry Higgins, the main character of the play, speaking about Eliza Doolittie, the flower girl, says: You see this creature with her kerbstone English: the English that will keep her in the gutter to the end of her days. Well, sir, in three months I could pass this girl off as a duchess … even get her a place as lady’s maid or shop assistant which requires better English. «The Encyclopaedia Britannica» treats Cockney as an accent, not acknowledging it the status of dialect. Cockney has attracted much literary attention, and so we can judge of its past and present on the evidence of literature. As recorded by Ch. Dickens over a century ago, Cockney was phonetically characterised by the interchange of the labial and labio-dental consonants [w] and [v]: wery for very and vell for well. This trait was lost by the end of the 19th century. The voiceless and voiced dental spirants [?] and [?] are still replaced — though not very consistently — by [f] and [v] respectively: fing for thing and farver for father (inserting the letter r indicates vowel 262 length). This variation is not exclusively characteristic of Cockney and may be found in several dialects. Another trait not limited to Cockney is the interchange of the aspirated and non-aspirated initial vowels: hart for art and ‘eart for heart. The most marked feature in vowel sounds is the substitution of the diphthong [ai] for standard [ei] in such words as day, face, rain, way pronounced: [dai], [fais], [rain], [wai]. There are some specifically Cockney words and set expressions such as up the pole ‘drunk’, you’ll get yourself disliked (a remonstrance to a person behaving very badly). Cockney is lively and witty and its vocabulary imaginative and colourful. Its specific feature not occurring anywhere else is the so-called rhyming slang, in which some words are substituted by other words rhyming with them. Boots, for instance, are called daisy roots, hat is tit for tat, head is sarcastically called loaf of bread, and wife — trouble and strife. It has set expressions of its own. Here is an example of a rather crude euphemistic phrase for being dead: «She may have pulled me through me operation,» said Mrs Fisher, «but ‘streuth I’m not sure I wouldn’t be better off pushing up the daisies, after all.» (M. Dickens) The study of dialects has been made on the basis of information obtained with the help of special techniques: interviews, questionnaires, recording by phonograph and tape-recorder, etc. Data collected in this way show the territorial distribution of certain key words and pronunciations which vary from region to region. Dialects are now chiefly preserved in rural communities, in the speech of elderly people. Their boundaries have become less stable than they used to be; the distinctive features are tending to disappear with the shifting of population due to the migration of working-class families in search of employment and the growing influence of urban life over the countryside. Dialects are said to undergo rapid changes under the pressure of Standard English taught at schools and the speech habits cultivated by radio, television and cinema. For the most part dialect in literature has been limited to speech characterisation of personages in books otherwise composed in Standard English. There are Yorkshire passages in «Wuthering Heights» by Emily Bronte, and Lancashire passages in «Mary Barton» by E. Gaskell. A Southern dialect (that of Dorset) is sometimes introduced by Th. Hardy, A. Tennyson used Lancashire dialect in two of his poems reproducing peasant speech («Northern Farmer: Old Style» and «Northern Farmer: New Style»). «The Northern Farmer: Old Style» is the monologue of a dying old man. He knows that his death is near and is resigned to it: «If I must die I must die.» He wants his nurse to bring him ale, although doctor has forbidden it. The last stanza runs as follows: «What atta stannin’ theer for, an’ doesn bring ma the yaale? Doctor’s a ‘tattier, lass, an a’s hallus V the owd taale; I weant break rules for Doctor, a knows now moor nora floy, Git ma my yaale I tell tha, an gin I тип doy I тип doy.» (Tennyson) The dialect vocabulary is remarkable for its conservatism: many words that have become obsolete in standard English are still kept in dialects, e. g. to and ‘envy’ < OE andian; barge ‘pig’ < OE berg; bysen ‘blind’ < OE bisene and others. 263 According to O. Jespersen, however, dialect study suffered from too much attention being concentrated on the «archaic» traits. «Every survival of an old form, every trace of old sounds that have been dropped in standard speech, was greeted with enthusiasm, and the significance of these old characteristics greatly exaggerated, the general impression being that popular dialects were always much more conservative than the speech of educated people. It was reserved for a much later time to prove that this view is completely erroneous, and that popular dialects in spite of many archaic details are on the whole further developed than the various standard languages with their stronger tradition and literary reminiscences.»1 The standard work of reference in dialect study is Joseph Wright’s «English Dialect Dictionary». After this brief review of dialects we shall now proceed to the discussion of variants. The Scottish Tongue and the Irish English have a special linguistic status as compared with dialects because of the literature composed in them. The name of Robert Burns, the great national poet of Scotland, is known all over the world. There is a whole group of modern poets including Hugh MacDiarmid writing in this variant of the English language. A few lines from R. Burns’s poem dedicated to his friend James Smith will illustrate the general character of Scottish: To James Smith 1 Dear Smith, the slee’st, pawkie thief That e’er attempted stealth or rief! Ye surely hae some warlock-brief Owre human hearts; For ne’er a bosom yet was prief Against your arts. 2 For me, I swear by sun and moon, And every star that blinks aboon, Ye’ve cost me twenty pair o’shoon Just gaun to see you; And ev’ry ither pair that’s done Mair taen I’m wi’ you… Here slee’st meant ‘slyest’, pawkie ‘cunning’, ‘sly’, rief ‘robbery’, warlock-brief ‘wizard’s contract’ (with the devil), prief ‘proof’, aboon 1 Jespersen O. Language, Its Nature, Development and Origin. London, 1949. P. 68. 264 ‘above’, shoon ‘shoes’. The other dialect words differing only in pronunciation from their English counterparts (owre : : over; mair : : more) are readily understood. The poetic features of Anglo-Irish may be seen in the plays by J.M. Synge and Sean О’Casey. The latter’s name is worth an explanation in this connection. O’ is Gaelic and means ‘of the clan of’. Cf. Mac — the Gaelic for ‘son’ found in both Scottish and Irish names.1 Sean, also spelled Shawn and pronounced [So:n], is the Irish for John. Some traits of Anglo-Irish may be observed in the following lines from «The Playboy of the Western World» by J.M. Synge: I’ve told my story no place till this night, Pegeen Mike, and it’s foolish I was here, maybe, to be talking free, but you’re decent people, I’m thinking, and yourself a kindly woman, the way I was not fearing you at all. Pegeen exemplifies the diminutive suffix found in Standard English only in loan-words. The emphatic personal pronoun yourself appears in a non-appositional construction. Cf. also It was yourself started it (O’Casey). The main peculiarities concern syntax, and they are reflected in some form words. The concrete connective word the way substitutes the abstract conjunction so that. Cf. also the time that, the while for when, and all times for always. E.g.: I’d hear himself snoring out — a loud, lonesome snore he’d be making all times, the while he was sleeping’, and he a man’d be raging all times the while he was waking (Synge). The Anglo-Irish of J.M. Synge, however, should not be taken as a faithful reproduction of real speech, as it is imbued with many romantic poetic archaisms. Words from dialects and variants may penetrate into Standard English. The Irish English gave, for instance, blarney n ‘flattery’, bog n ‘a spongy, usually peaty ground of marsh’. This word in its turn gave rise to many derivatives and compounds, among them bog-trotter, the ironical nickname for Irishman. Shamrock (a trifoliate plant, the national emblem of Ireland) is a word used quite often, and so is the noun whiskey. The contribution of the Scottish dialect is very considerable. Some of the most frequently used Scotticisms are: bairn ‘child’, billy ‘chum’, bonny ‘handsome’, brogue ‘a stout shoe’, glamour ‘charm’, laddie, lassie, kilt, raid, slogan, tartan, wee, etc. A great deal in this process is due to Robert Burns who wrote his poems in Scottish English, and to Walter Scott who introduced many Scottish words into his novels. § 14.2 AMERICAN ENGLISH The variety of English spoken in the USA has received the name of American English. The term variant or variety appears most appropriate for several reasons. American English cannot be called a dialect although it is a regional variety, because it has a literary 1 Cf. fitz (ultimately from Latin filius), which is used in the same way in the Anglo-Norman names: Fitzgerald ‘son of Gerald’. 265 normalised form called Standard American (or American National Standard), whereas by definition given above a dialect has no literary form. Neither is it a separate language, as some American authors, like H.L. Mencken, claimed, because it has neither grammar nor vocabulary of its own. From the lexical point of view we shall have to deal only with a heterogeneous set of Americanisms. An Americanism may be defined as a word or a set expression peculiar to the English language as spoken in the USA. E. g. cookie ‘a biscuit’; frame-up ‘a staged or preconcerted law case’; guess ‘think’; mail ‘post’; store ‘shop’. A general and comprehensive description of the American variant is given in Professor A.D. Schweitzer’s monograph. An important aspect of his treatment is the distinction made between Americanisms belonging to the literary norm and those existing in low colloquial and slang. The difference between the American and British literary norm is not systematic. The American variant of the English language differs from British English1 in pronunciation, some minor features of grammar, but chiefly in vocabulary, and this paragraph will deal with the latter. Our treatment will be mainly diachronic. Speaking about the historic causes of these deviations it is necessary to mention that American English is based on the language imported to the new continent at the time of the first settlements, that is on the English of the 17th century. The first colonies were founded in 1607, so that the first colonisers were contemporaries of W. Shakespeare, E. Spenser and J. Milton. Words which have died out in Britain, or changed their meaning may survive in the USA. Thus, I guess, was used by G. Chaucer for I think. For more than three centuries the American vocabulary developed more or less independently of the British stock and was influenced by the new surroundings. The early Americans had to coin words for the unfamiliar fauna and flora. Hence bullfrog ‘a large frog’, moose (the American elk), opossum, raccoon (an American animal related to the bears) for animals; and corn, hickory, etc. for plants. The opposition of any two lexical systems among the variants described is of great linguistic and heuristic2 value, because it furnishes ample data for observing the influence of extra-linguistic factors upon vocabulary. American political vocabulary shows this point very definitely: absentee voting ‘voting by mail’, dark horse ‘a candidate nominated unexpectedly and not known to his voters’, gerrymander ‘to arrange and falsify the electoral process to produce a favourable result in the interests of a particular party or candidate’, all-outer ‘an adept of decisive measures’. Both in the USA and Great Britain the meaning of leftist is ‘an adherent of the left wing of a party’. In the USA it also means a left-handed person and lefty in the USA is only ‘a left-handed person’ while in Great Britain it is a colloquial variant of leftist and has a specific sense of a communist or socialist. 1 It must be noted that an Englishman does not accept the term «British English». 2 Heuristic means ‘serving to discover’. 266 Many of the foreign elements borrowed into American English from the Indian languages or from Spanish penetrated very soon not only into British English but also into several other languages, Russian not excluded, and so became international due to the popularity of J.F. Cooper and H. Longfellow. They are: canoe, moccasin, squaw, tomahawk, wigwam, etc. and translation loans: pipe of peace, pale-face and the like, taken from Indian languages. The Spanish borrowings like cafeteria, mustang, ranch, sombrero, etc. are very familiar to the speakers of many European languages. It is only by force of habit that linguists still include these words among the specific features of American English. As to the toponyms, for instance Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Utah (all names of Indian tribes), or other names of towns, rivers and states named by Indian words, it must be borne in mind that in all countries of the world towns, rivers and the like show in their names traces of the earlier inhabitants of the land in question. Another big group of peculiarities as compared with the English of Great Britain is caused by some specific features of pronunciation, stress or spelling standards, such as [?] for [a:] in ask, dance, path, etc., or [e] for [ei] in made, day and some other. The American spelling is in some respects simpler than its British counterpart, in other respects just different. The suffix -our is spelled -or, so that armor and humor are the American variants of armour and humour. Altho stands for although and thru for through. The table below illustrates some of the other differences but it is by no means exhaustive. For a more complete treatment the reader is referred to the monograph by A.D. Schweitzer. British spelling American spelling cosy cozy offence offense practice practise jewellery jewelry travelling traveling thraldom thralldom encase incase In the course of time with the development of the modern means of communication the lexical differences between the two variants show a tendency to decrease. Americanisms penetrate into Standard English and Britishisms come to be widely used in American speech. Americanisms mentioned as specific in manuals issued a few decades ago are now used on both sides of the Atlantic or substituted by terms formerly considered as specifically British. It was, for instance, customary to contrast the English word autumn with the American fall. In reality both words are used in both countries, only autumn is somewhat more elevated, while in England the word fall is now rare in literary use, though found in some dialects and surviving in set 267 expressions: spring and fait, the fall of the year are still in fairly common use. Cinema and TV are probably the most important channels for the passage of Americanisms into the language of Britain and other languages as well: the Germans adopted the word teenager and the French speak of l’automatisation. The influence of American advertising is also a vehicle of Americanisms. This is how the British term wireless is replaced by the Americanism radio. The personal visits of British writers and scholars to the USA and all forms of other personal contacts bring back Americanisms. The existing cases of difference between the two variants are conveniently classified into: 1) Cases where there are no equivalents in British English: drive-in ‘a cinema where you can see the film without getting out of your car’ or ‘a shop where motorists buy things staying in the car’; dude ranch ‘a sham ranch used as a summer residence for holiday-makers from the cities’. 2) Cases where different words are used for the same denotatum, such as can, candy, mailbox, movies, suspenders, truck in the USA and tin, sweets, pillar-box (or letter-box), pictures or flicks, braces and lorry in England. 3) Cases where the semantic structure of a partially equivalent word is different. The word pavement, for example, means in the first place ‘covering of the street or the floor and the like made of asphalt, stones or some other material’. In England the derived meaning is ‘the footway at the side of the road’. The Americans use the noun sidewalk for this, while pavement with them means ‘the roadway’. 4) Cases where otherwise equivalent words are different in distribution. The verb ride in Standard English is mostly combined with such nouns as a horse, a bicycle, more seldom they say ride on a bus. In American English combinations like a ride on the train, ride in a boat are quite usual. 5) It sometimes happens that the same word is used in American English with some difference in emotional and stylistic colouring. Nasty, for example, is a much milder expression of disapproval in England than in the States, where it was even considered obscene in the 19th century. Politician in England means ‘someone in polities’, and is derogatory in the USA. Professor A.D. Schweitzer pays special attention to phenomena differing in social norms of usage. For example balance in its lexico-semantic variant ‘the remainder of anything’ is substandard in British English and quite literary in America. 6) Last but not least, there may be a marked difference in frequency characteristics. Thus, time-table which occurs in American English very rarely, yielded its place to schedule. This question of different frequency distribution is also of paramount importance if we wish to investigate the morphological peculiarities of the American variant. 268 Practically speaking the same patterns and means of word-formation are used in coining neologisms in both variants. Only the frequency observed in both cases may be different. Some of the suffixes more frequently used in American English are: -ее (draftee n ‘a young man about to be enlisted’), -ette (tambour-majorette ‘one of the girl drummers in front of a procession’), -dom and -ster, as in roadster ‘motorcar for long journeys by road’ or gangsterdom. American slang uses alongside the traditional ones also a few specific models, such as verb stem+-er+adverb stem+-er, e. g. opener-upper ‘the first item on the programme’ and winder-upper ‘the last item’. It also possesses some specific affixes and semi-affixes not used in literary colloquial: -o, -eroo, -aroo, -sie, -sy, as in coppo ‘policeman’, fatso ‘a fat man’, bossaroo ‘boss’, chapsie ‘fellow’. The trend to shorten words and to use initial abbreviations in American English is even more pronounced than in the British variant. New coinages are incessantly introduced in advertisements, in the press, in everyday conversation; soon they fade out and are replaced by the newest creations. Ring Lardner, very popular in the 30s, makes one of his characters, a hospital nurse, repeatedly use two enigmatic abbreviations: G.F. and B.F.; at last the patient asks her to clear the mystery. «What about Roy Stewart?» asked the man in bed. «Oh, he’s the fella I was telling you about,» said Miss Lyons. «He’s my G.F.’s B.F.» «Maybe I’m a D.F. not to know, but would you tell me what a B.F. and G.F. are?» «Well, you are dumb, aren’t you!» said Miss Lyons. «A G.F. that’s a girl friend, and a B.F. is a boy friend. I thought everybody knew that.» The phrases boy friend and girl friend, now widely used everywhere, originated in the USA. So it is an Americanism in the wider meaning of the term, i.e. an Americanism «by right of birth», whereas in the above definition we have defined Americanisms synchronically as lexical units peculiar to the English language as spoken in the USA. Particularly common in American English are verbs with the hanging postpositive. They say that in Hollywood you never meet a man: you meet up with him, you do not study a subject but study up on it. In British English similar constructions serve to add a new meaning. With words possessing several structural variants it may happen that some are more frequent in one country and the others in another. Thus, amid and toward, for example, are more often used in the United States and amidst and towards in Great Britain. The lexical peculiarities of American English are an easy target for ironical outbursts on the part of some writers. John Updike is mildly humorous. His short poem «Philological» runs as follows: The British puss demurely mews; His transatlantic kin meow, The kine in Minnesota moo; Not so the gentle Devon cows: They low, As every schoolchild ought to know. 269 A well-known humourist G. Mikes goes as far as to say: «It was decided almost two hundred years ago that English should be the language spoken in the United States. It is not known, however, why this decision has not been carried out.» In his book «How to Scrape Skies» he gives numerous examples to illustrate this proposition: «You must be extremely careful concerning the names of certain articles. If you ask for suspenders in a man’s shop, you receive a pair of braces, if you ask for a pair of pants, you receive a pair of trousers, and should you ask for a pair of braces, you receive a queer look. I should like to mention that although a lift is called an elevator in the United States, when hitch-hiking, you do not ask for an elevator, you ask for a lift. There is some confusion about the word flat. A flat in America is called an apartment; what they call a flat is a puncture in your tyre (or as they spell it, tire). Consequently the notice: FLATS FIXED does not indicate an estate agent where they are going to fix you up with a flat, but a garage where they are equipped to mend a puncture.» Disputing the common statement that there is no such thing as the American nation, he says: «They do indeed exist. They have produced the American constitution, the American way of life, the comic strips in their newspapers: they have their national game, baseball — which is cricket played with a strong American accent — and they have a national language, entirely their own, unlike any other language.» This is of course an exaggeration, but a very significant one. It confirms the fact that there is a difference between the two variants to be reckoned with. Although not sufficiently great to warrant American English the status of an independent language, it is considerable enough to make a mixture of variants sound unnatural and be called Mid-Atlantic. Students of English should be warned against this danger. § 14.3 CANADIAN, AUSTRALIAN AND INDIAN VARIANTS It should of course be noted that American English is not the only existing variant. There are several other variants where difference from the British standard is normalised. Besides the Irish and Scottish variants that have been mentioned in the preceding paragraph, there are Australian English, Canadian English, Indian English. Each of these has developed a literature of its own, and is characterised by peculiarities in phonetics, spelling, grammar and vocabulary. Canadian English is influenced both by British and American English but it also has some specific features of its own. Specifically Canadian words are called Canadianisms. They are not very frequent outside Canada, except shack ‘a hut’ and fathom out ‘to explain’. The vocabulary of all the variants is characterised by a high percentage of borrowings from the language of the people who inhabited the land before the English colonisers came. Many of them denote some specific realia of the new country: local animals, plants or weather conditions, new social relations, new trades and conditions of labour. The local words for new notions penetrate into the English language and later on may become international, if they are of sufficient interest and importance for people speaking other languages. 270 International words coming through the English of India are for instance: bungalow n, jute n, khaki a, mango n, nabob n, pyjamas, sahib, sari. Similar examples, though perhaps fewer in number, such as boomerang, dingo, kangaroo, are all adopted into the English language through its Australian variant and became international. They denote the new phenomena found by English immigrants on the new continent. A high percentage of words borrowed from the native inhabitants of Australia will be noticed in the sonorous Australian place names. 1 It has been noticed by a number of linguists that the British attitude to this phenomenon is somewhat peculiar. When anyone other than an Englishman uses English, the natives of Great Britain, often half-consciously, perhaps, feel that they have a special right to criticise his usage because it is «their» language. It is, however, unreasonable with respect to people in the United States, Canada, Australia and some other areas for whom English is their mother tongue. At present there is no single «correct» English and the American, Canadian and Australian English have developed standards of their own. It would therefore have been impossible to attempt a lexicological description of all the variants simultaneously: the aim of this book was to describe mainly the vocabulary of British English, as it is the British variant that is received and studied in Soviet schools. 1 S.J. Baker quotes a poem consisting of geographical names only: I like the native names as Paratta And Illawarra, and Wooloomooloo, Nandowra, Woogarora, Bulkomatta, Tenah, Toongabbie, Mittagong, Merroo… Chapter 15 LEXICOGRAPHY § 15.1 TYPES OF DICTIONARIES Lexicography, that is the theory and practice of compiling dictionaries, is an important branch of applied linguistics. The fundamental paper in lexicographic theory was written by L.V. Shcherba as far back as 1940. A complete bibliography of the subject may be found in L.P. Stupin’s works. Lexicography has a common object of study with lexicology, both describe the vocabulary of a language. The essential difference between the two lies in the degree of systematisation and completeness each of them is able to achieve. Lexicology aims at systematisation revealing characteristic features of words. It cannot, however, claim any completeness as regards the units themselves, because the number of these units being very great, systematisation and completeness could not be achieved simultaneously. The province of lexicography, on the other hand, is the semantic, formal, and functional description of all individual words. Dictionaries aim at a more or less complete description, but in so doing cannot attain systematic treatment, so that every dictionary entry presents, as it were, an independent problem. Lexicologists sort and present their material in a sequence depending upon their views concerning the vocabulary system, whereas lexicographers have to arrange it most often according to a purely external characteristic, namely alphabetically. It goes without saying that neither of these branches of linguistics could develop successfully without the other, their relationship being essentially that of theory and practice dealing with the same objects of reality. The term dictionary is used to denote a book listing words of a language with their meanings and often with data regarding pronunciation, usage and/or origin. There are also dictionaries that concentrate their attention upon only one of these aspects: pronouncing (phonetical) dictionaries (by Daniel Jones) and etymological dictionaries (by Walter Skeat, by Erik Partridge, «The Oxford English Dictionary»). For dictionaries in which the words and their definitions belong to the same language the term unilingual or explanatory is used, whereas bilingual or translation dictionaries are those that explain words by giving their equivalents in another language.1 Multilingual or polyglot 1 The most important unilingual dictionaries of the English language are «The Oxford English Dictionary», A.S. Hornby’s dictionary, Webster’s, Funk and Wagnells, Random House and many more (see Recommended Reading at the end of the book). 272 dictionaries are not numerous, they serve chiefly the purpose of comparing synonyms and terminology in various languages. 1 Unilingual dictionaries are further subdivided with regard to the time. Diachronic dictionaries, of which «The Oxford English Dictionary» is the main example, reflect the development of the English vocabulary by recording the history of form and meaning for every word registered. They may be contrasted to synchronic or descriptive dictionaries of current English concerned with present-day meaning and usage of words. 2 The boundary between the two is, however, not very rigid: that is to say, few dictionaries are consistently synchronic, chiefly, perhaps, because their methodology is not developed as yet, so that in many cases the two principles are blended. 3 Some synchronic dictionaries are at the same time historical when they represent the state of vocabulary at some past stage of its development. 4 Both bilingual and unilingual dictionaries can be general and special. General dictionaries represent the vocabulary as a whole with a degree of completeness depending upon the scope and bulk of the book in question. The group includes the thirteen volumes of «The Oxford English Dictionary» alongside with any miniature pocket dictionary. Some general dictionaries may have very specific aims and still be considered general due to their coverage. They include, for instance, frequency dictionaries, i.e. lists of words, each of which is followed by a record of its frequency of occurrence in one or several sets of reading matter. 5 A rhyming dictionary is also a general dictionary, though arranged in inverse order, and so is a thesaurus in spite of its unusual arrangement. General dictionaries are contrasted to special dictionaries whose stated aim is to cover only a certain specific part of the vocabulary. Special dictionaries may be further subdivided depending on whether the words are chosen according to the sphere of human activity in which they are used (technical dictionaries), the type of the units themselves (e. g. phraseological dictionaries) or the relationships existing between them (e. g. dictionaries of synonyms). The first subgroup embraces highly specialised dictionaries of limited scope which may appeal to a particular kind of reader. They register and explain technical terms for various branches of knowledge, art and trade: linguistic, medical, technical, economical terms, etc. Unilingual books of this type giving definitions of terms are called 1 See, for example: Buck, Carl Darling. A Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages. Chicago, 1949. 2 Such as: Hornby A.S., Gatenby E.V., Wakefield H. The Advance Learner’s Dictionary of Current English. Oxford, 1948. 3 Cf.: The Concise Oxford Dictionary/Ed. by H.W. Fowler. Oxford, 1944. 4 Bosworth J. and Toller T. An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary. Oxford, 1882-1898; Kurath, Hans and Kuhn, Sherman M. Middle English Dictionary. Univ. of Michigan Press, 1952. 5 See, for instance: Thorndike E.L. and Lorge I. The Teacher’s Word-Book of 30,000 Words; West Michael. A General Service List of English Words. London, 1959; Eaton, Helen S. Semantic Frequency List of English, French, German and Spanish. Chicago, 1940; Kuccra, Henry] and Francis, W. Nelson. Computational Analysis of Present-Day American English. Brown Univ. Press, Providence, 1967. 18 И. B. Арнольд 273 glossaries. They are often prepared by boards or commissions specially appointed for the task of improving technical terminology and nomenclature. The second subgroup deals with specific language units, i.e. with phraseology, abbreviations, neologisms, borrowings, surnames, toponyms, proverbs and. sayings, etc. The third subgroup contains a formidable array of synonymic dictionaries that have been mentioned in the chapter on synonyms. Dictionaries recording the complete vocabulary of some author are called concordances,1 they should be distinguished from those that deal only with difficult words, i.e. glossaries. Taking up territorial considerations one comes across dialect dictionaries and dictionaries of Americanisms. The main types of dictionaries are classified in the accompanying table. Types of Dictionaries Unilingual Bilingual or multilingual General Explanatory dictionaries irrespective of their bulk English-Russian, Russian-English, etc. and multilingual dictionaries Etymological, frequency, phonetical, rhyming and thesaurus type dictionaries Concentrated on one of the distinctive features of the word Special Glossaries of scientific and other special terms; concordances1 Dictionaries of abbreviations, antonyms, borrowings, new words, proverbs, synonyms, surnames, toponyms, etc.2 Dictionaries of scientific and other special terms1 Dictionaries of abbreviations, phraseology, proverbs, synonyms, etc.2 Dictionaries of American English, dialect and slang dictionaries Dictionaries of Old English and Middle English with explanations in Modern English 1 Dictionary entries are chosen according to the sphere of communication or the corpus in which they occur. 2 Dictionary entries are selected according to the type of relationships between words. 1 For instance: Schmidt, Alex. Shakespeare Lexicon. A Complete Dictionary of All the English Words: In 2 vols. Berlin, 1923. There are concordances to the works of G. Chaucer, E. Spenser, W. Shakespeare, J. Milton, W. Wordsworth, P.B. Shelley and other writers. 274 Finally, dictionaries may be classified into linguistic and non-linguistic. The latter are dictionaries giving information on all branches of knowledge, the encyclopaedias. They deal not with words, but with facts and concepts. The best known encyclopaedias of the English-speaking world are «The Encyclopaedia Britannica»1 and «The Encyclopaedia Americana».2 There exist also biographical dictionaries and many minor encyclopaedias. English lexicography is probably the richest in the world with respect to variety and scope of the dictionaries published. The demand for dictionaries is very great. One of the duties of school teachers of native language is to instil in their pupils the «dictionary habit». Boys and girls are required by their teachers to obtain a dictionary and regularly consult it. There is a great variety of unilingual dictionaries for children. They help children to learn the meaning, spelling and pronunciation of words. An interesting example is the Thorndike dictionary.3 Its basic principle is that the words and meanings included should be only those which schoolchildren are likely to hear or to encounter in reading. The selection of words is therefore determined statistically by counts of the actual occurrence of words in reading matter of importance to boys and girls between 10 and 15. Definitions are also made specially to meet the needs of readers of that age, and this accounts for the ample use of illustrative sentences and pictures as well as for the encyclopaedic bias of the book. A dictionary is the most widely used reference book in English homes and business offices. Correct pronunciation and correct spelling are of great social importance, because they are necessary for efficient communication. A bilingual dictionary is useful to several kinds of people: to those who study foreign languages, to specialists reading foreign literature, to translators, to travellers, and to linguists. It may have two principal purposes: reference for translation and guidance for expression. It must provide an adequate translation in the target language of every word and expression in the source language. It is also supposed to contain all the inflectional, derivational, semantic and syntactic information that its reader might ever need, and also information on spelling and pronunciation. Data on the levels of usage are also considered necessary, including special warnings about the word being rare or poetical or slangy and unfit to be used in the presence of «one’s betters». The number of special bilingual dictionaries for various branches of knowledge and engineering is ever increasing. A completely new type are the machine translation dictionaries which present their own specific problems, naturally differing from those presented by bilingual dictionaries for human translation. It is highly probable, however, that their 1 The Encyclopaedia Britannica: In 24 vols. 10th ed. London — Chicago — Toronto, 1961. 2 The Encyclopaedia Americana. The International Reference Work: In 30 vols. 9th ed. N.Y., 1957. 3 Thorndike E.L. The Thorndike Century Junior Dictionary. Scott Foresmann Co.. Chicago — Atlanta — Dallas — New York, 1935. 18* 275 development will eventually lead to improving dictionaries for general use. The entries of a dictionary are usually arranged in alphabetical order, except that derivatives and compounds are given under the same head-word. In the ideographic dictionaries the main body is arranged according to a logical classification of notions expressed.1 But dictionaries of this type always have an alphabetical index attached to facilitate the search for the necessary word.2 The ideographic type of dictionary is in a way the converse of the usual type: the purpose of the latter is to explain the meaning when the word is given. The Thesaurus, on the contrary, supplies the word or words by which a given idea may be expressed. Sometimes the grouping is in parallel columns with the opposite notions. The book is meant only for readers (either native or foreign) having a good knowledge of English, and enables them to pick up an adequate expression and avoid overuse of the same words. The Latin word thesaurus means ‘treasury’. P. Roget’s book gave the word a new figurative meaning, namely, ‘a store of knowledge’, and hence ‘a dictionary containing all the words of a language’. A consistent classification of notions presents almost insuperable difficulties. Only relatively few «semantic fields», such as kinship terms, colour terms, names for parts of human body and some others fit into a neat scheme. For the most part, however, there is no one-to-one correlation between notions and words, and the classification of notions, even if it were feasible, is a very poor help for classification of meanings and their systematic presentation. The system of meanings stands in a very complex relationship to the system of notions because of the polysemantic character of most words. The semantic structure of words and the semantic system of vocabulary depend on many linguistic, historical and cultural factors. § 15.2 SOME OF THE MAIN PROBLEMS OF LEXICOLOGY The most burning issues of lexicography are connected with the selection of head-words, the arrangement and contents of the vocabulary entry, the principles of sense definitions and the semantic and functional classification of words. In the first place it is the problem of how far a general descriptive dictionary, whether unilingual or bilingual, should admit the historical element. In fact, the term «current usage» is disconcertingly elastic, it may, for instance, be stretched to include all words and senses used by W. Shakespeare, as he is commonly read, or include only those of the fossilised words that are kept in some set expressions or familiar quotations, e. g. shuffled off this mortal coil («Hamlet»), where coil means ‘turmoil’ (of life). For the purpose of a dictionary, which must not be too bulky, selection between 1 «Roget’s Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases» was first published in 1852. About 90 succeeding revised editions have appeared since. 2 An American version of Thesaurus is rearranged alphabetically, with the ideographic classification shown by means of cross-references. See: The New Roget’s Thesaurus in Dictionary Form/Ed. by Norman Lewis. 1961. 276 scientific and technical terms is also a very important task. It is a debatable point whether a unilingual explanatory dictionary should strive to cover all the words of the language, including neologisms, nonce-words, slang, etc. and note with impartial accuracy all the words actually used by English people; or whether, as the great English lexicographer of the 18th century Samuel Johnson used to think, it should be preceptive, and (viewed from the other side) prohibitive. Dictionary-makers should attempt to improve and stabilise the English vocabulary according to the best classical samples and advise the readers on preferable usage. A distinctly modern criterion in selection of entries is the frequency of the words to be included. This is especially important for certain lines of practical work in preparing graded elementary textbooks. When the problem of selection is settled, there is the question as to which of the selected units have the right to a separate entry and which are to be included under one common head-word. These are, in other words, the questions of separateness and sameness of words. The first deals with syntagmatic boundaries of word-units and has to solve such questions as whether each other is a group of two separate words to be treated separately under the head-words each and other, or whether each other is a unit deserving a special entry (compare also: one another). Need such combinations as boiling point, carbon paper, department store, phone box be sub-entered under their constituents? If so, under which of them? Or, perhaps, it will be more convenient for those who use the dictionary if these were placed as separate main entries consisting of a nominal compound or a phrase. As to the sameness, this deals with paradigmatic boundaries. How many entries are justified for hound’? COD has two — one for the noun, and the other for the verb: ‘to chase (as) with hounds’; the verb and the noun are thus treated as homonyms. «Chambers’s Twentieth Century Dictionary» combines them under one head-word, i.e. it takes them as variants of the same word (hence the term «sameness»). The problem is even more complicated with variants belonging to the same part of speech. This problem is best illustrated by the pun that has already been discussed elsewhere in this book: Mind you, I don’t mind minding the children if the children mind me (Understand, I don’t object to taking care of the children if the children obey me). Here the dictionary-maker is confronted with the problem of sameness. Should mind be considered one word with several semantic variants, and take one entry? Or is it more convenient to represent it as several words? The difference in the number of entries for an equal bulk of vocabulary may also depend on a different approach to the regularly formed derivatives, like those with -er, -ing, -ness, and -ly. These are similar to grammatical endings in their combining possibilities and semantic regularity. The derivation is so regular, and the meaning and class of these derivatives are so easily deduced that they are sometimes sidered not worth an entry. 377 That is why the definition of the scope of a dictionary is not quite as simple as it might appear at first sight. There exist almost unsurmountable difficulties to a neat statistical evaluation. Some publishers state the number of entries in a subtitle, others even claim for the total coverage with the exception of very special terms. It must be remembered, however, that without a generally accepted standard for settling the problems of sameness and separateness no meaningful evaluation of the scope of any particular dictionary is possible. Besides in the case of a living language the vocabulary is not stable, and the attitude of lexicographers to archaisms and neologisms varies. The arrangement of the vocabulary entry presents many problems, of which the most important are the differentiation and the sequence of various meanings of a polysemantic word. A historical dictionary (the Oxford Dictionary, for instance) is primarily concerned with the development of the English vocabulary. It arranges various senses chronologically, first comes the etymology, then the earliest meanings marked by the label obs. — obsolete. The etymologies are either comparative or confined to a single language. The development is documented by illustrative quotations, ranging from the oldest to recent appearances of the word in question. A descriptive dictionary dealing with current usage has to face its own specific problems. It has to apply a structural point of view and give precedence to the most important meanings. But how is the most important meaning determined upon? So far each compiler was guided by his own personal preference. An objective procedure would be to obtain data of statistical counts. But counting the frequency of different meanings of the same word is far more difficult than counting the frequency of its forms. It is therefore not by chance that up to now many counts have been undertaken only for word forms, irrespective of meaning. Also, the interdependence of meanings and their relative importance within the semantic structure of the word do not remain the same. They change almost incessantly, so that the task of establishing their relative frequency would have to be repeated very often. The constant revisions necessary would make the publication of dictionaries very expensive. It may also be argued that an arrangement of meanings according to frequency would sometimes conceal the ties and relationship between various elements of the semantic structure. Nevertheless some semantic counts have been achieved and the lexicographers profited by them. Thus, in preparing high-school English dictionaries the staff under chief editor C.L. Barnhart was aided by semantic counts which Dr E.L. Thorndike had made of current standard literature, from children’s books to «The Encyclopaedia Britannica». The count according to C.L. Barnhart was of enormous importance in compiling their dictionaries, but the lexicographer admits that counts are only one of the criteria necessary for selecting meanings and entries, and that more dictionary evidence is needed, namely typical quotations for each meaning. Dictionary evidence normally exists in the form of quotation slips constituting raw material for word treatment and filed under their appropriate head-words. 278 In editing new dictionaries the lexicographers cannot depend only on the scholarly editions such as OED. In order to meet the demands of their readers, they have to sample the reading of the public for whom the dictionary is meant. This textual reference has to be scrupulously examined, so as to account for new words and meanings making their way into the language. Here again some quantitative criteria must be established. If a word or meaning occurs in several different sources over a wide range of magazines and books during a considerable period of time, it may be worth including even into a college dictionary. The preface to «The Concise Oxford Dictionary», for instance, states that its authors find that sense development cannot be presented in every word, because obsolete words are as a rule omitted. Only occasionally do they place at the beginning a rare but still current sense, if it can throw light on the more common senses that follow, or forms the connecting link with the etymology. The etymologies are given throughout, but otherwise the compilers do not seem to keep to any consistent principle and are guided by what they think is the order of logical connection, familiarity or importance. E.L. Thorndike formulates the following principles: «Other things being equal, literal uses come before figurative, general uses before special, common uses before rare, and easily understandable uses before difficult, and to sum up: that arrangement is best for any word which helps the learner most.» A synchronic dictionary should also show the distribution of every word. It has been traditionally done by labelling words as belonging to a certain part of speech, and by noting some special cases of grammatically or lexically bound meanings. Thus, the word spin is labelled in «The Concise Oxford Dictionary» as v.t. & i., which gives a general idea of its distribution; its various senses are shown in connection with words that may serve as subject or object, e. g.: «2. (of spider, silkworm, etc.) make (web, gossamer, cocoon, or abs.) by extrusion of fine viscous thread … 10. spun glass (spun when heated into filaments that remain pliant when cold); spun gold, silver (gold, silver thread prepared for weaving …).» This technique is gradually being improved upon, and compilers strive to provide more detailed information on these points. «The Advanced Learner’s Dictionary …» by A.S. Hornby, E.V. Gatenby and H. Wakefield supplies information on the syntactical distribution of each verb. In their «Notes on Syntax» the compilers state that one who is learning English as a foreign language is apt to form sentences by analogy, which at times may lead him into error. For instance, the student must be warned against taking the use of the verb tell in the sentence Please tell me the meaning as a model for the word explain, because *Please, explain me the meaning would be ungrammatical. For this purpose they provide a table of 25 verb patterns and supply the numerical indications in each verb entry. This gives the student the necessary guidance. Indications are also supplied as to which nouns and which semantic varieties of nouns may be used in the plural. This helps the student to avoid mistakes like *interesting informations. Many dictionaries indicate the different stylistic levels to which the words belong: colloquial, technical, poetical, rhetorical, archaic, familiar, vulgar or slang, and their expressive colouring: emphatic, ironical, 279 diminutive, facetious. This is important, because a mere definition does not show these data. There is always a difference in style between the dictionary word and its definition. The word digs is a slang word but its definition ‘lodgings’ is not. Giving these data modern dictionary-makers strive to indicate the nature of the context in which the word may occur. The problem is also relevant for bilingual dictionaries and is carefully presented in the «New English-Russian Dictionary» edited by I.R. Galperin. A third group of lexicographic problems is the problem of definitions in a unilingual dictionary. The explanation of meaning may be achieved by a group of synonyms which together give a fairly general idea; but one synonym is never sufficient for the purpose, because no absolute synonyms exist. Besides, if synonyms are the only type of explanation used, the reader will be placed in a vicious circle of synonymic references, with not a single word actually explained. Definitions serve the purpose much better. These are of two main types. If they are only concerned with words as speech material, the definition is called linguistic. If they are concerned with things for which the words are names, they are termed encyclopaedic. American dictionaries are for the most part traditionally encyclopaedic, which accounts for so much attention paid to graphic illustration. They furnish their readers with far more information about facts and things than their British counterparts, which are more linguistic and more fundamentally occupied with purely lexical data (as contrasted to r e a 1 i a), with the grammatical properties of words, their components, their stylistic features, etc. Opinions differ upon the optimum proportion of linguistic and encyclopaedic material. Very interesting considerations on this subject are due to Alf Sommerfeldt. He thinks that definitions must be based on the fact that the meanings of words render complex notions which may be analysed (cf. componental analysis) into several elements rendered by other words. He emphasises, for instance, that the word pedestrian is more aptly defined as ‘a person who goes or travels on foot’ than as ‘one who goes or travels on foot’. The remark appears valuable, because a definition of this type shows the lexico-grammatical type to which the word belongs and consequently its distribution. It also helps to reveal the system of the vocabulary. Much too often, however, one sees in dictionaries no attention paid to the difference in distribution between the defined and the defining word. The meaning of the word may be also explained by examples, i.e. contextually. The term and its definition are here fused. For example, diagonal is explained by the following context where only this term can occur: A square has two diagonals, and each of them divides the square into two right-angled isosceles triangles. Very often this type can be changed into a standard form, i.e. A diagonal is one of the two lines …, etc. One more problem is the problem of whether all entries should be defined or whether it is possible to have the so-called «run-ons» for derivative words in which the root-form is readily recognised (such as absolutely or resolutely). In fact, whereas resolutely may be conveniently given as a -ly run-on after resolute, there is a meaning problem for absolutely. One must take into consideration that in colloquial speech absolutely means ‘quite so’, ‘yes’ which cannot be deduced from the meaning of the corresponding adjective. 280 § 15.3 HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF BRITISH AND AMERICAN LEXICOGRAPHY Although, as we have seen from the preceding paragraph, there is as yet no coherent doctrine in English lexicography, its richness and variety are everywhere admitted and appreciated. Its history is in its way one of the most remarkable developments in linguistics, and is therefore worthy of special attention. In the following pages a short outline of its various phases is given. A need for a dictionary or glossary has been felt in the cultural growth of many civilised peoples at a fairly early period. The history of dictionary-making for the English language goes as far back as the Old English period where its first traces are found in the form of glosses of religious books with interlinear translation from Latin. Regular bilingual English-Latin dictionaries were already in existence in the 15th century. The unilingual dictionary is a comparatively recent type. The first unilingual English dictionary, explaining words by English equivalents, appeared in 1604. It was meant to explain difficult words occurring in books. Its title was «A Table Alphabeticall, containing and teaching the true writing and understanding of hard usuall English words borrowed from the Hebrew, Greeke, Latine or French». The little volume of 120 pages explaining about 3000 words was compiled by one Robert Cawdrey, a schoolmaster. Other books followed, each longer than the preceding one. The first attempt at a dictionary including all the words of the language, not only the difficult ones, was made by Nathaniel Bailey who in 1721 published the first edition of his «Universal Etymological English Dictionary». He was the first to include pronunciation and etymology. Big explanatory dictionaries were created in France and Italy before they appeared for the English language. Learned academies on the continent had been established to preserve the purity of their respective languages. This was also the purpose of Dr Samuel Johnson’s famous Dictionary published in 1755.1 The idea of purity involved a tendency to oppose change, and S. Johnson’s Dictionary was meant to establish the English language in its classical form, to preserve it in all its glory as used by J. Dryden, A. Pope, J. Addison and their contemporaries. In conformity with the social order of his time, S. Johnson attempted to «fix» and regulate English. This was the period of much discussion about the necessity of «purifying» and «fixing» English, and S. Johnson wrote that every change was undesirable, even a change for the best. When his work was accomplished, however, he had to admit he had been wrong and confessed in his preface that «no dictionary of a living tongue can ever be perfect, since while it is hastening to publication, some 1 Johnson, Samuel. A Dictionary of the English Language in Which the Words are Deduced from Their Originals and Illustrated in Their General Significations by Examples from the Best Writers: In 2 vols. London, 1775. 19 И. В. Арнольд 281 words are budding and some falling away». The most important innovation of S. Johnson’s Dictionary was the introduction of illustrations of the meanings of the words «by examples from the best writers», as had been done before him in the dictionary of the French Academy. Since then such illustrations have become a «sine qua non» in lexicography; S. Johnson, however, only mentioned the authors and never gave any specific references for his quotations. Most probably he reproduced some of his quotations from memory, not always very exactly, which would have been unthinkable in modern lexicology. The definitions he gave were often very ingenious. He was called «a skilful definer», but sometimes he preferred to give way to sarcasm or humour and did not hesitate to be partial in his definitions. The epithet he gave to lexicographer, for instance, is famous even in our time: a lexicographer was ‘a writer of dictionaries, a harmless drudge …’. The dictionary dealt with separate words only, almost no set expressions were entered. Pronunciation was not marked, because S. Johnson was keenly aware of the wide variety of the English pronunciation and thought it impossible to set up a standard there; he paid attention only to those aspects of vocabulary where he believed he could improve linguistic usage. S. Johnson’s influence was tremendous. He remained the unquestionable authority on style and diction for more than 75 years. The result was a lofty bookish style which received the name of «Johnsonian» or «Johnsonese». As to pronunciation, attention was turned to it somewhat later. A pronouncing dictionary that must be mentioned first was published in 1780 by Thomas Sheridan, grandfather of the great dramatist. In 1791 appeared «The Critical Pronouncing Dictionary and Expositor of the English Language» by John Walker, an actor. The vogue of this second dictionary was very great, and in later publications Walker’s pronunciations were inserted into S. Johnson’s text — a further step to a unilingual dictionary in its present-day form. The Golden Age of English lexicography began in the last quarter of the 19th century when the English Philological Society started work on compiling what is now known as «The Oxford English Dictionary» (OED), but was originally named «New English Dictionary on Historical Principles». It is still occasionally referred to as NED. The purpose of this monumental work is to trace the development of English words from their form in Old English, and if they were not found in Old English, to show when they were introduced into the language, and also to show the development of each meaning and its historical relation to other meanings of the same word. For words and meanings which have become obsolete the date of the latest occurrence is given. All this is done by means of dated quotations ranging from the oldest to recent appearances of the words in question. The English of G. Chaucer, of the «Bible» and of W. Shakespeare is given as much attention as that of the most modern authors. The dictionary includes spellings, pronunciations and detailed etymologies. The completion of the work required more than 75 years. The result is a kind of encyclopaedia of language used not only for reference purposes but also as a basis for lexicological research. 282 The lexicographic concept here is very different from the prescriptive tradition of Dr S. Johnson: the lexicographer is the objective recorder of the language. The purpose of OED, as stated by its editors, has nothing to do with prescription or proscription of any kind. The conception of this new type of dictionary was born in a discussion at the English Philological Society. It was suggested by Frederick Furnivall, later its second titular editor, to Richard Trench, the author of the first book on lexicology of the English language. Richard Trench read before the society his paper «On Some Deficiencies in our English Dictionaries», and that was how the big enterprise was started. At once the Philological Society set to work to gather the material, volunteers offered to help by collecting quotations. Dictionary-making became a sort of national enterprise. A special committee prepared a list of books to be read and assigned them to the volunteers, sending them also special standard slips for quotations. By 1881 the number of readers was 800, and they sent in many thousands of slips. The tremendous amount of work done by these volunteers testifies to the keen interest the English take in their language. The first part of the Dictionary appeared in 1884 and the last in 1928. Later it was issued in twelve volumes and in order to accommodate new words a three volume Supplement was issued in 1933. These volumes were revised in the seventies. Nearly all the material of the original Supplement was retained and a large body of the most recent accessions to the English language added. The principles, structure and scope of «The Oxford English Dictionary», its merits and demerits are discussed in the most comprehensive treaty by L.V. Malakhovsky. Its prestige is enormous. It is considered superior to corresponding major dictionaries for other languages. The Oxford University Press published different abridged versions. «The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles» formerly appeared in two volumes, now printed on thinner paper it is bound in one volume of 2,538 pages. It differs from the complete edition in that it contains a smaller number of quotations. It keeps to all the main principles of historical presentation and covers not only the current literary and colloquial English but also its previous stages. Words are defined and illustrated with key quotations. «The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English» was first published in 1911, i.e. before the work on the main version was completed. It is not a historical dictionary but one of current usage. A still shorter form is «The Pocket Oxford Dictionary». Another big dictionary, also created by joined effort of enthusiasts, is Joseph Wright’s «English Dialect Dictionary». Before this dictionary could be started upon, a thorough study of English dialects had to be completed. With this aim in view W.W. Skeat, famous for his «Etymological English Dictionary» founded the English Dialect Society as far back as 1873. Dialects are of great importance for the historical study of the language. In the 19th century they were very pronounced though now they are almost disappearing. The Society existed till 1896 and issued 80 publications, mostly monographs. 19* 283 Curiously enough, the first American dictionary of the English language was compiled by a man whose name was also Samuel Johnson. Samuel Johnson Jr., a Connecticut schoolmaster, published in 1798 a small book entitled «A School Dictionary». This book was followed in 1800 by another dictionary by the same author, which showed already some signs of Americanisation. It included, for instance, words like tomahawk and wampum, borrowed into English from the Indian languages. It was Noah Webster, universally considered to be the father of American lexicography, who emphatically broke away from English idiom, and embodied in his book the specifically American usage of his time. His great work, «The American Dictionary of the English Language», appeared in two volumes in 1828 and later sustained numerous revised and enlarged editions. In many respects N. Webster follows the lead of Dr S. Johnson (the British lexicographer). But he has also improved and corrected many of S. Johnson’s etymologies and his definitions are often more exact. N. Webster attempted to simplify the spelling and pronunciation that were current in the USA of the period. He devoted many years to the collection of words and the preparation of more accurate definitions. N. Webster realised the importance of language for the development of a nation, and devoted his energy to giving the American English the status of an independent language, distinct from British English. At that time the idea was progressive as it helped the unification of separate states into one federation. The tendency became reactionary later on, when some modern linguists like H. Mencken shaped it into the theory of a separate American language, not only different from British English, but surpassing it in efficiency and therefore deserving to dominate and supersede all the languages of the world. Even if we keep within purely linguistic or purely lexical concepts, we shall readily see that the difference is not so great as to warrant American English the rank of a separate language, not a variant of English (see p. 265). The set of morphemes is the same. Some words have acquired a new meaning on American soil and this meaning has or has not penetrated into British English. Other words kept their earlier meanings that are obsolete and not used in Great Britain. As civilisation progressed different names were given to new inventions on either side of the Atlantic. Words were borrowed from different Indian languages and from Spanish. All these had to be recorded in a dictionary and so accounted for the existence of specific American lexicography. The world of today with its ever-growing efficiency and intensity of communication and personal contacts, with its press, radio and television creates conditions which tend to foster not an isolation of dialects and variants but, on the contrary, their mutual penetration and integration. Later on, the title «International Dictionary of the English Language» was adopted, and in the latest edition not Americanisms but words not used in America (Britishisms) are marked off. N. Webster’s dictionary enjoyed great popularity from its first editions. This popularity was due not only to the accuracy and clarity of definitions but also to the richness of additional information of encyclopaedic 284 character, which had become a tradition in American lexicography. As a dictionary N. Webster’s book aims to treat the entire vocabulary of the language providing definitions, pronunciation and etymology. As an encyclopaedia it gives explanations about things named, including scientific and technical subjects. It does so more concisely than a full-scale encyclopaedia, but it is worthy of note that the definitions are as a rule up-to-date and rigorous scientifically. Soon after N. Webster’s death two printers and booksellers of Massachusetts, George and Charles Merriam, secured the rights of his dictionary from his family and started the publication of revised single volume editions under the name «Merriam-Webster». The staff working for the modern editions is a big institution numbering hundreds of specialists in different branches of human activity. It is important to note that the name «Webster» may be attached for publicity’s sake by anyone to any dictionary. Many publishers concerned with their profits have taken this opportunity to issue dictionaries called «Webster’s». Some of the books so named are cheaply-made reprints of old editions, others are said to be entirely new works. The practice of advertising by coupling N. Webster’s name to a dictionary which has no connection with him, continues up to the present day. A complete revision of N. Webster’s dictionary is achieved with a certain degree of regularity. The recent «Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language» has called forth much comment, both favourable and unfavourable. It has been greatly changed as compared with the previous edition, in word selection as well as in other matters. The emphasis is on the present-day state of the language. The number of illustrative quotations is increased. To accommodate the great number of new words and meanings without increasing the bulk of the volume, the editors excluded much encyclopaedic material. The other great American dictionaries are the «Century Dictionary», first completed in 1891; «Funk and Wagnalls New Standard Dictionary», first completed in 1895; the «Random House Dictionary of the English Language», completed in 1967; «The Heritage Illustrated Dictionary of the English Language», first published in 1969, and C.L. Barnhart’s et al. «The World Book Dictionary» presenting a synchronic review of the language in the 20th century. The first three continue to appear in variously named subsequent editions including abridged versions. Many small handy popular dictionaries for office, school and home use are prepared to meet the demand in reference books on spelling, pronunciation, meaning and usage. An adequate idea of the dictionaries cannot be formed from a mere description and it is no substitute for actually using them. To conclude we would like to mention that for a specialist in linguistics and a teacher of foreign languages systematic work with a good dictionary in conjunction with his reading is an absolute necessity. CONCLUSION The present book has treated the specific features of the English word as a structure, both on the morphemic and semantic levels, and dealt with the English vocabulary as an adaptive system of contrasting and interrelated elements. The presentation of these is conceived on the basis of the theory of oppositions as initiated by N.S. Trubetzkoy and is described, partly at least, in set-theoretical terms. The classical book on the theory of oppositions is the posthumous treatise by N.S. Trubetzkoy «Grundzuge der Phonologie». The full significance and value of this work are now being realised and appreciated both in Soviet linguistics and abroad. Nevertheless, application of the theory of oppositions to linguistic analysis on levels other than that of phonology is far from being complete. One need hardly say that the present volume does not attempt to be definitive in its treatment of oppositions for lexicological description: quite considerable amount of research has already been done in some directions and very little in many others. Many points remain to be elucidated by future patient study and by collecting reliable factual evidence on which more general conclusions may then be built. The special interest of contemporary science in methods of linguistic research extends over a period of about thirty years. The present status of principles and techniques in lexicology, although still far from satisfactory, shows considerable progress and an intense development. The main procedures in use have been described in connection with the subject-matter they serve to investigate. They are the componential analysis, the contextological and valency analysis, analysis into immediate constituents, explanatory transformations based on dictionary definitions and different types of semantic oppositions helping to describe the vocabulary system. Each of these techniques viewed separately has its limitations but taken together they complete one another, so that each successive procedure may prove helpful where the previous one has failed. We have considered these devices time and again in discussing separate aspects of the vocabulary system. All these are formalised methods in the sense that they replace the original words in the linguistic material sampled for analysis by symbols that can be discussed without reference to the particular elements they stand for, and then state precise rules for the combination and transformation of formulas thus obtained. 286 It must be emphatically stressed that although the synchronic and diachronic treatments are set apart, and the focal point of interest is the present state of the English vocabulary, these two aspects are not divorced, and the constant development of the whole system is always kept in mind. It must be fully realised that the separation of the two aspects is only an abstraction necessary for heuristic purposes. Secondly, structural methods demand a rigorous separation of levels and a study of language as an autonomous system. This dogmatic thesis placed a burden upon research. In present-day Soviet linguistics the interrelation between different levels as well as between language and extralinguistic reality is taken as all-important. Finally, what is especially important, language is a social phenomenon, the language of any society is an integral part of the culture and social life of this society, words recognised within the vocabulary of the language are that part of the language on which the influence of extra-linguistic factors tells in the first place. Much of the semantic incommensurability that exists between languages can be accounted for in terms of social and cultural differences. Sociolinguistics which is now making great progress is concerned with linguistic differences and with the actual performances of individuals as members of specific speech communities. It concentrates on the correlation of linguistic features with values and attitudes in social life with the status of speakers and listeners in social network. It deals with coexistence in the same individual or the same group of speakers of several linguistic codes, resorted to according to language-use conventions of society, i.e. a more prestigious formal and conservative code is used for official purposes, the other for spontaneous informal conversation. As sociolinguistics is still in its infancy it was possible to include in the present book only a few glimpses of this new branch. Recent years in» Soviet linguistics have undoubtedly seen great progress in lexicology coming from various schools with various aims and methods. It is outside the scope of the present book to reflect them all, it is to be hoped, however, that the student will watch current literature and retrieve the necessary information on points that will interest him.