Hard Words for the Ladies: The First English Dictionaries and the Question of Readership

Page355-363
AuthorSylvia Brown
TitleHard Words for the Ladies: The First English Dictionaries and the Question of Readership
AbstractWomen are often addressed in or associated with the first English vernacular dictionaries, but their relationship to dictionary-making is in fact more figurative than literal. This paper asks what this figurative use of the female reader signifies for the original conception and intentions behind the first English dictionaries. Although these dictionaries have often been understood as unproblematic products of the growth and enrichment of the English language, the 'domesticating' function of the female reader indicates a much more anxious and complex response to 'hard words,' especially those borrowed from foreign tongues. This response, particularly in the case of Robert Cawdrey's A Table Alphabeticall, can best be understood in terms of a godly rhetoric of plain intelligibility and reformation, for which woman stands as the exemplary subject.
SessionPART 3 - The Dictionary-Making Process
Keywords
BibTex
@InProceedings{ELX96_1-040,
author = {Sylvia Brown},
title = {Hard Words for the Ladies: The First English Dictionaries and the Question of Readership},
pages = {368-377},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 7th EURALEX International Congress},
year = {1996},
month = {aug},
date = {13-18},
address = {Göteborg, Sweden},
editor = {Martin Gellerstam, Jerker Järborg, Sven-Göran Malmgren, Kerstin Norén, Lena Rogström, Catalina Röjder Papmehl},
publisher = {Novum Grafiska AB},
isbn = {91-87850-14-1},
}
Download