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DARE, HISTORY, AND THE TEXTURE OF THE ENTRY

DARE, HISTORY, AND THE TEXTURE OF THE ENTRY American Speech, Vol. 77, No. 4, Winter 2002 Copyright © 2002 by the American Dialect Society thoughtful people have insisted on it as an intellectual defense against the inveterate polysemy of history since Greek ’ι στορι α (Zgusta 1992). ´ At first glance, calling a dictionary entry a history strains credulity. Certainly, neither an entry nor a whole dictionary qualifies as a Foucauldian “master narrative.” For that sort of history, one must turn to a work like Mencken’s The American Language, masterly enough when it was first published in 1919, but then revised and expanded, and then further expanded into two supplementary volumes (1945, 1948), all in the interest of providing the most complete possible narrative account of American English. Generally, when we speak of a history, we mean a narrative of this kind. As Paul Veyne (1971, 4) suggests, “History is an account of events . . . it is a narration. . . . Like the novel, history sorts, simplifies, organizes, fits a century into a page.” But one recognizes immediately that many attributes of history apply as well to the historical dictionary entry: it, too, sorts, simplifies, organizes, and often fits many centuries into a http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Speech: A Quarterly of Linguistic Usage Duke University Press

DARE, HISTORY, AND THE TEXTURE OF THE ENTRY

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2002 by American Dialect Society
ISSN
0003-1283
eISSN
1527-2133
DOI
10.1215/00031283-77-4-370
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

American Speech, Vol. 77, No. 4, Winter 2002 Copyright © 2002 by the American Dialect Society thoughtful people have insisted on it as an intellectual defense against the inveterate polysemy of history since Greek ’ι στορι α (Zgusta 1992). ´ At first glance, calling a dictionary entry a history strains credulity. Certainly, neither an entry nor a whole dictionary qualifies as a Foucauldian “master narrative.” For that sort of history, one must turn to a work like Mencken’s The American Language, masterly enough when it was first published in 1919, but then revised and expanded, and then further expanded into two supplementary volumes (1945, 1948), all in the interest of providing the most complete possible narrative account of American English. Generally, when we speak of a history, we mean a narrative of this kind. As Paul Veyne (1971, 4) suggests, “History is an account of events . . . it is a narration. . . . Like the novel, history sorts, simplifies, organizes, fits a century into a page.” But one recognizes immediately that many attributes of history apply as well to the historical dictionary entry: it, too, sorts, simplifies, organizes, and often fits many centuries into a

Journal

American Speech: A Quarterly of Linguistic UsageDuke University Press

Published: Dec 1, 2002

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