Throughout history, most dictionaries have served the purpose of preserving the purity of the language, usually preferring the erudite vocabulary of the affluent upper classes to the salty, constantly evolving slang of their working-class counterparts. That began to change in the early modern period, when several innovative lexicographers began publishing collections of slang terms used by particular subcultures, such as criminals. According to scholars, Francis Grose's Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue is one of the most important and complete of these early slang dictionaries. Spend some time with this fascinating volume to learn the slang definitions of words and phrases like "poisoned" (pregnant), "shooting the cat" (vomiting after excess alcohol consumption), and "snoozing ken" (a brothel).
The groundbreaking history of the English language, fusing chronological with anecdotal and etymological accounts of individual word-histories, to create not one story, but many stories. The English language is now accepted as the global lingua franca of the modern age, spoken or written in by over a quarter of the human race. But how did it evolve? How did a language spoken originally by a few thousand Anglo-Saxons become one used by more than 1,500 million? What developments can be seen as we move from Beowulf to Chaucer to Shakespeare to Dickens and the present day? A host of fascinating questions are answered in The Stories of English, a groundbreaking history of the language by David Crystal, the world-renowned writer and commentator on English. Many books have been written about English, but they have all focused on a single variety: the educated, printed language called “standard” English. David Crystal turns the history of English on its head and instead provides a startlingly original view of where the richness, creativity and diversity of the language truly lies—in the accents and dialects of nonstandard English users all over the world. Whatever their regional, social or ethnic background, each group has a story worth telling, whether it is in Scotland or Somerset, South Africa or Singapore. Interweaved within this central chronological story are accounts of uses of dialect around the world as well as in literary classics from The Canterbury Tales to The Lord of the Rings. For the first time, regional speech and writing is placed center stage, giving a sense of the social realities behind the development of English. This significant shift in perspective enables the reader to understand for the first time the importance of everyday, previously marginalized, voices in our language and provides an argument too for the way English should be taught in the future.
First published in 1811, this book is an extensive dictionary of contemporary slang and colloquialisms written by Francis Grose. Francis Grose (before 1731 – 1791) was an English draughtsman, antiquary, and lexicographer. Other notable works by this author include: “The antiquities of England and Wales”, (1784), “A glossary of provincial and local words used in England” (1839) and “The antiquities of Scotland” (1797). “A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue” will appeal those with an interest in lexicography and historical slang, and it would make for a charming addition to any collection. Many vintage books such as this are becoming increasingly scarce and expensive. We are republishing this volume now in a modern, high-quality edition complete with a specially commissioned new introduction on the history of erotic literature.