Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary - 2 volume set

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9780199208999: Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary - 2 volume set
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Product Description
A 40-year project in the making, the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary is the first historical thesaurus to include almost the entire vocabulary of English, from Old English to the present day. Conceived and compiled by the Department of English Language of the University of Glasgow, the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary is a groundbreaking analysis of the historical inventory of English, allowing users to find words connected in meaning throughout the history of the language.

The Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary is a unique resource for word-lovers of all types--linguists and language specialists, historians, literary commentators, among others--as well as a fascinating resource for everyone with an interest in the English language and its historical development. It is a perfect complement to the OED itself, allowing the words in the OED to be cross-referenced and viewed in wholly new ways.


Timeline for the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary

  • 1965: Announcement by Michael Samuels, Professor of English Language at the University of Glasgow--at a lecture to the Philological Society--that his department intends to undertake production of a historical thesaurus of English.

    Work on the Historical Thesaurus begins. The focus is on data collection and the entries are compiled using paper slips to record data (in the same way as the Oxford English Dictionary).
  • 1969: When the scale of the project becomes apparent, a successful application for funding leads to the employment of Irene Wotherspoon and Christian Kay as research assistants, mainly collecting data. A number of volunteers begin to work on the project in Glasgow, Germany, and Canada.
  • 1978: The project faces many challenges during the 1970s, the most significant being a major fire which threatened to destroy the entire archive of paper slips. All material is subsequently microfilmed and copies are kept at different locations in the UK.

    During the 1970s, classifying the data becomes the main focus. Postgraduate students are recruited. A decision is also taken to include material from the Supplements, and the forthcoming second edition and additions series of the OED. This enriches, but also slows down, the project.

    During the 1980s, Old English material is entered into electronic databases developed in London.
  • 1981: Talks with Oxford University Press on publishing the project.

    During the 1980s, the UK government sponsors a program to train people in editing and data-entry skills. The trainees help to edit and input the bulk of the Historical Thesaurus data into an electronic system.
  • 1984: Department of English Language moves into its current site at Glasgow University. A kitchen is converted into a fire-proof archive.

  • 1989: Christian Kay becomes director of the project.

About the Author:


Professor Christian Kay, MA, AM, DipGenLing
Professor Jane Roberts, MA, DPhil, DLitt
Professor Michael Samuels, MA, DLitt, FRSE
Irené Wotherspoon, MA, MLitt

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The first reference work of its kind in any language!
Published by Oxford University Press (2008)
ISBN 10: 0199208999 ISBN 13: 9780199208999
New Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
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Book Description Oxford University Press, 2008. Hardcover. Condition: New. 1st Edition. NEW & UNREAD & SEALED. Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary with additional material from A Thesaurus of Old English. The first reference work of its kind in any language. The ultimate volume for the word fetishist NEW YORKER BOOK BENCH I can hardly imagine any reference book more valuable here is the information we had to spend hours hunting down through the thickets of the OED, shot, stuffed and mounted for us. PHILIP PULLMAN, author of His Dark Materials No words of mine can express the magnificence of this monument to our huge and often beautiful language ELSPETH BARKER, Literary Review. The product of decades of research and scholarship, the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary is a unique new resource charting the full semantic development of English. It is the first historical thesaurus ever produced for any language, containing almost every major word in English from Old English to modern. This unrivalled analysis of English provides a fascinating picture of the development of the language and will be of interest to philologists, writers and lovers of words. For the very first time, information that was previously locked away in the alphabetical structure of the Oxford English Dictionary is now made easily accessible. Scholars or writers, wishing to reconstruct the vocabulary of a certain period, previously needed to look up synonyms of individual words in a thesaurus and then trace their history separately in the OED. The Historical Thesaurus collects subjects together (e.g. existence in time and space) and then within each individual entry (e.g. create/make/bring about) organises synonyms in chronological order, giving dates of usage. Every line generates fresh insights. It is at once awe-inspiring, humbling, motivating, moving. It actually made me gasp with amazement and I mean out loud several times, and I cant recall lexicology doing that to me before! Its amazing how these entries make you feel so much closer to the history of the language than was previously possible. The OED gave us individual trees, but never a sight of the whole forest or helpful pathways through it. The thesaurus does precisely that. It heralds a new era in the historical study of English DAVID CRYSTAL This huge project was conceived by the Department of English Language of the University of Glasgow. Dedicated teams spent over forty years in its making. The result is the largest thesaurus resource in the world, covering more than 920,000 words and meanings, arranged in thousands of categories under three broad sections: the world, the mind and society. You will find an abundance of etymological delights: to talk idly has waeflian as its Old English form (perhaps leading to todays waffle), chatter was around in the 13th century, while to tinkle or whiffle enjoyed a rather more short-lived usage in the 17th and 18th centuries. This remarkable new work has won widespread praise from journalists and authors around the English speaking world. I am one of those who is intrigued by the way in which language evolves. To see the development of the English language set out in this way will bring endless pleasure to any lover of words. This work is, quite simply, fascinating ALEXANDER MCCALL SMITH Ive been waiting nearly all my life for a book like this as it turns out, literally! I am thrilled that the Historical Thesaurus is now a reality. The only problem is that I may dive in and never come out again. This is a word lovers dream BARBARA KINGSOLVER Here is a work in which you can lose yourself and find your language. The Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary is so thorough and readable that it resembles other thesauri in name only. Finally the OED has a worthy counterpart AMMON SHEA, author of Reading the OED. Two volumes. Sewn cloth binding. Presented in a buckram slipcase. MASSIVELY HEAVY. UK POST FREE, but other countries will have to be charged. Language: eng. Seller Inventory # ABE-2356662359

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