The Cambridge Companion to English Dictionaries
How did a single genre of text have the power to standardise the English language across time and region, rival the Bible in notions of authority, and challenge our understanding of objectivity, prescription, and description? Since the first monolingual dictionary appeared in 1604, the genre has sparked evolution, innovation, devotion, plagiarism, and controversy. This comprehensive volume presents an overview of essential issues pertaining to dictionary style and content and a fresh narrative of the development of English dictionaries throughout the centuries. Essays on the regional and global nature of English lexicography (dictionary making) explore its power in standardising varieties of English and defining nations seeking independence from the British Empire: from Canada to the Caribbean. Leading scholars and lexicographers historically contextualise an array of dictionaries and pose urgent theoretical and methodological questions relating to their role as tools of standardisation, prestige, power, education, literacy, and national identity.