BOOKS ON LANGUAGE AT
BOOKS ON LANGUAGE
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CARBERY, Mary (Lady Mary Toulmin), 1867-1949 & GREY, Edwin : HERTFORDSHIRE HERITAGE : OURSELVES AND OUR WORDS.
London : John Green & Co., 1948. First edition. General historical matter on the county, followed by over 100 pages of a glossary of Hertfordshire dialect words.
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CROMBIE, Alexander, 1762-1840 : THE ETYMOLOGY AND SYNTAX OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE EXPLAINED AND ILLUSTRATED.
London : Simpkin, Marshall & Co., 1843. Fifth edition. A clearly-written and long-popular study of the language in general and the alphabet, with separate chapters on noun, article, pronoun, adjective, verb, participle, adverb, preposition, conjunction and interjection, with a second section on syntax and the canons of criticism. Compiled by the Scottish schoolmaster and minister, the Reverend Doctor Alexander Crombie and originally published in 1802.
FRANKLYN, Julian, 1899-1970 : A DICTIONARY OF RHYMING SLANG.
London : Routledge & Kegan Paul, (1961). Second edition : with an additional preface and an interesting appendix not contained in the original edition published the previous year. An absorbing Captain (Cook), Jackdaw (and Rook), or Joe (Hook), giving not just Cockney, but also Australian, American and Irish usages, with an important introductory essay, an index of meanings, etc.
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GREEN, Jonathon, 1948- : CHASING THE SUN : DICTIONARY-MAKERS AND THE DICTIONARIES THEY MADE.
London : Jonathan Cape, (1996). First edition. A history of the dictionary in England and America.
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GREIG, J.Y.T. (John Young Thomson), 1891- 1963 : BREAKING PRISCIAN’S HEAD, OR, ENGLISH AS SHE WILL BE SPOKE AND WROTE.
London : Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., . First edition. A lively, combative (and learned) essay on the future development of English, named for the Latin grammarian Priscian of Lydia, using James Joyce to illustrate the coining of neologisms, and generally calculated “to horrify grammarians and pedants”. As one review remarked. “Most of the improvements are likely to come from America. We on this side of the Atlantic will be wise to take them over with a good grace”. In the “Today and Tomorrow” series.
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[HOTTEN, John Camden, 1832-1873] : A DICTIONARY OF MODERN SLANG, CANT, AND VULGAR WORDS, USED AT THE PRESENT DAY IN THE STREETS OF LONDON ...
London : John Camden Hotten, 1859. First edition. An extraordinary compilation from the mercurial bookseller, publisher, rogue and antiquary, John Camden Hotten. Alongside an extensive dictionary of some 3,000 words unknown to other dictionaries (covering the slang of the universities, the rookeries, parliament and the court, as well as the London streets) there is an absorbing history of the subject, plus glossaries of two secret languages – the back-slang of the costermongers and the rhyming-slang of the chaunters and patterers (the first authoritative account of either), as well as an extensive bibliography.
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MACBRIDE, Mackenzie (Charles Mackenzie), 1861-1933 : LONDON’S DIALECT : AN ANCIENT FORM OF ENGLISH SPEECH.
London : Priory Press, 1910. First edition. Beginning as a spirited defence of the much derided Cockney dialect (in fact the first standard and the first written English), MacBride goes on to explore its origins and then the importance of dialects in general, with much on the dialects of other parts of the country.
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PRENDERGAST, Thomas, 1806-1886 : THE MASTERY OF LANGUAGES ; OR, THE ART OF SPEAKING FOREIGN TONGUES IDIOMATICALLY.
London : Richard Bentley, 1864. First edition. An interesting early work on the theory of language learning, recently reprinted in the Foundations of Foreign Language Teaching series. Prendergast analyses how children acquire language and draws lessons and techniques. He had formerly been a civil servant in Madras and part of the work relates to the structure of Hindustani.
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TRENCH, Richard Chenevix, 1807-1886 : ENGLISH : PAST AND PRESENT. FIVE LECTURES.
London : John W. Parker & Son, 1855. First edition. Subsequently much-reprinted university lectures from the Irish old Harrovian, Apostle at Cambridge, later Archbishop of Dublin, and progenitor of the Oxford English Dictionary. The lectures cover English as a composite language; gains of the language; diminutions of the language; changes in meaning, and changes in spelling.
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WOOD, Helen : THE GRAMMATICAL READING CLASS-BOOK; OR, AN EASY INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH GRAMMAR; IN ENTERTAINING CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN A LADY & HER DAUGHTERS; IN WHICH THE PARTS OF SPEECH ARE FAMILIARLY EXPLAINED, AND THE RULES OF GRAMMAR INTRODUCED AND ILLUSTRATED IN A PLEASING MANNER.
London : Simpkin, Marshall & Co.; Hamilton, Adams & Co., [etc]., 1850. Eighth edition. “Designed to inspire young persons with a taste for that useful branch of education” – Little Lucy Harcourt is brought up to the mark in grammar – “though she sometimes betrayed a little impatience, ill-humour, and carelessness, yet if we look over these little faults, she was tolerably good”. Intended for use both at home and in schools, but although the work evidently enjoyed a considerable nineteenth-century vogue, being first published in about 1827 (the date of the preface) and reaching a tenth edition in 1865, we are unable to trace any edition earlier than the 1841 (sixth) in the British Library – and no copy of the present edition in any major library worldwide.
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