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Thread: Green's Dictionary of Slang

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    Senior Member daeman's Avatar
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    Green's Dictionary of Slang

    Αντιγράφω από το ηλεδελτίο του Κουίνιον μια παρουσίαση του Green's Dictionary of Slang, ενός λεξικού που δεν διστάζει να χαρακτηρίσει "το OED της σλανγκ". Έργο αναφοράς για την αγγλική αργκό, από τα λίγα λεξικά της που ασχολούνται με την προέλευση των όρων και καταγράφουν τη χρήση της σε έντυπα, παρότι η σλανγκ χρησιμοποιείται κυρίως στον προφορικό λόγο. Επίσης ενδιαφέροντα είναι τα σχόλια του Κουίνιον για τις έντυπες εκδόσεις σε αντιδιαστολή με τις ηλεκτρονικές, καθώς και για την αξιοποίηση του διαδικτύου για τη λεξικογραφική έρευνα.
    This work is monumental in several senses. It is physically huge: 6000+ pages in three hefty volumes with ten million words, 110,000-plus definitions and 413,000 citations. Unfortunately, the price is likewise massive, which is hardly going to make it a household purchase, even at the deep discounts being offered by some online retailers. Leaving aside the superlatives, it is principally a testimony to the industry of its editor.

    It is only right that Jonathon Green's magnum opus should carry his name in the title. GDoS (as it is already commonly abbreviated) is an important publication in the history of slang lexicography. It's so big because it's that rare thing, a dictionary that records the historical development of slang. Every entry includes a range of dated citations, going back to the first firmly attested example, to show the way the word or phrase has been used through its life. Few slang dictionaries attempt this - though many include examples - because the written record of slang is poor (it is, after all, primarily a spoken medium) and a huge research effort is needed to acquire early citations. The only works I know of that are at all comparable in their approach, if not size, are Jonathan Lighter's Historical Dictionary of American slang, which sadly has stalled at the letter O, and its spin-off, Jesse Sheidlower's The F-Word. In its historical approach, GDoS matches the Oxford English Dictionary and it's not hyperbolic to suggest that it's the OED of slang.

    Mr Slang, as Martin Amis called Jonathon Green (a cognomen that he has adopted as his Nom de Twitter) has an enviable reputation as the premier slang lexicographer of his generation. His first foray was Newspeak: A Dictionary of Jargon, published in 1983. His single-volume dictionary, already regarded as the best available and which forms the skeleton of this work, is the Chambers Slang Dictionary of 2008, itself building on The Cassell Dictionary of Slang of 1998.

    GDoS is striking not only in its comprehensiveness. Though Green is more than ready to acknowledge the assistance of many individuals, his editor-in-chief Sarah Chatwin especially, GDoS is unusual in today's publishing world in that it has been conceived and produced by one person. It is also remarkable for coming out as a printed book at all. When in 1997 he was commissioned to prepare it, print was still a natural medium for reference works. Online publication has since become the norm. GDoS may have the melancholy attribute of being the last substantial reference work to appear as a physical object. Even here, online publication is in prospect: Oxford University Press, which distributes the book in North America, plans to make it available as an e-book via the Oxford Reference Bookshelf. Not only has publication of reference works moved online, so has much of the research work. However, Green and his helpers, his wife in particular, have focussed their attention on printed material and have spent 12 years scouring libraries for citations. Green is rightly wary of online sources for their unreliability as dating evidence, but some are usable with care and I wonder if he has yet to fully exploit their potential. While working on various word histories, I've accidentally antedated several GDoS terms in the month since my copy arrived.

    Although he has now researched English slang in more detail than any lexicographer before him, Green has no plans to retire. He told me, "One does not finish a dictionary. One pauses. And not for long. Then gets back to work. I have already added 1500 citations and new definitions and headwords to those in the book." He looks forward to online publication: "Unlike an e-book it will be 'live', with continuous revision, correction, expansion and improvement, offered in quarterly or six-monthly increments, until, as I hope, my lifeless body crashes forward on to the keyboard at some ripe old age."
    [Jonathon Green, Green's Dictionary of Slang; 3 volumes, pp6085; published in the UK by Chambers; ISBN 978-0550-10440-3; publisher's UK price £295.00.]
    Βλέποντας την τιμή του, πολύ θα ήθελα να το ζητήσω απ' τον Αγιοβασίλη, μόνο που έχω πάψει να του ζητώ δωράκια κοντά 40 χρόνια τώρα.

    Καλημέρα.
    Θεωρητικά, θεωρία και πράξη είναι το ίδιο πράγμα. Στην πράξη, όμως, διαφέρουν.
    When this you see, remember me and bear me in your mind, let all the world say what they may, speak of me as you find.

  2. #2
    Administrator nickel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daeman View Post
    Although he has now researched English slang in more detail than any lexicographer before him, Green has no plans to retire.
    Retire; Άλλοι αρχίζουν σ' αυτή την ηλικία! (Το λέω επειδή έχουμε γεννηθεί τον ίδιο ακριβώς μήνα. )

    Έχω τρία τουλάχιστον βιβλία του που θυμάμαι: το πιο βασικό εργαλείο για τη σλανγκ (μέχρι που μπήκε το http://www.urbandictionary.com/ στη ζωή μας και μέχρι να πάρω το τρίτομο, που κάνει μόνο 130 λίρες στην Αμαζόνα, αλλά ήδη με τρώει να περιμένω την έκδοση του e-book) είναι το Cassell Dictionary of Slang. Εξαιρετικά χρήσιμο μού έχει σταθεί και το Slang Thesaurus. Πολύ ενδιαφέρον ήταν (για μένα) και το Chasing The Sun: Dictionary-Makers and the Dictionaries They Made (δώρο που μου έκανε Έλληνας λεξικογράφος ). Πάντως, αν δει κανείς την εργογραφία του, είναι ένας άλλος David Crystal.
    Μένω ΕυρώπηΣύγκρουση ιδεών, όχι βία και μισαλλοδοξία: δεν οδηγούν πουθενά. (Λ. Κύρκος)Αριστεία, ρε!
    ΕΝΑ ΝΗΜΑ ΤΗΝ ΗΜΕΡΑ ΤΗΝ ΑΝΙΑ ΚΑΝΕΙ ΠΕΡΑ. Staying hungry, staying foolish. Το διαδίκτυο βλάπτει όταν δεν σκέφτεσαι.

  3. #3
    Administrator nickel's Avatar
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    The takeaway language of slang
    The sheer linguistic inventiveness and indestructible quality of slang can keep some of its terms in use for centuries
    James Sharpe
    From The Times Literary Supplement

    http://entertainment.timesonline.co....cle7171545.ece
    Μένω ΕυρώπηΣύγκρουση ιδεών, όχι βία και μισαλλοδοξία: δεν οδηγούν πουθενά. (Λ. Κύρκος)Αριστεία, ρε!
    ΕΝΑ ΝΗΜΑ ΤΗΝ ΗΜΕΡΑ ΤΗΝ ΑΝΙΑ ΚΑΝΕΙ ΠΕΡΑ. Staying hungry, staying foolish. Το διαδίκτυο βλάπτει όταν δεν σκέφτεσαι.

  4. #4
    Senior Member daeman's Avatar
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    ...
    10 slang phrases that perfectly sum up their era
    BBC News Magazine, 18 May 2014

    Lexicographer Jonathon Green selects the slang words and expressions that encapsulate the age in which they were coined.

    I've been collecting slang and and publishing books about it for 30 years. My database contains 125,000 words and phrases and they keep coming.


    One thing I've learnt - the more slang changes, to half-inch the well-known phrase, the more slang stays the same.

    Politically correct, even polite: I fear not. But humanity at its most human, absolutely.

    As examples I offer a selection of terms that display some of slang's nuts and bolts.


    Booze
    It was there in the first ever glossary of slang, the collection of criminal jargon published c.1532, and it's still going strong. Booze: Alcohol, drink, and as a verb, to drink. It came from Dutch buizen, to drink to excess (and beyond that buise, a large drinking vessel) and the first examples were spelt bouse. Over the centuries it spread its wings. We find the boozer (both pub and person), the booze artist, -gob, -head, -freak, -hound,-hoister, -rooster, -shunter and -stupe, all drunkards. There are the pubs, saloons and bars - the booze barn, -bazaar, -casa, -crib,-joint, -mill, -parlour, -factory, -foundry and -emporium. Across the mahogany (the bar counter) stands the booze clerk, -fencer or -pusher. If we hit the booze too heavily, we get a booze belly, and maybe a trip on the booze bus, Australia's mobile breath-tester.


    Diss
    Slang, being subversive to its very core, doesn't have much time for rules but like all language it has to accept one - words are always older than you think. Let's take diss. Meaning - disrespect. Origins - African-American, spread like so much of that slang-filled language via the worldwide success of hip-hop and rap music. Date - ever since the late 1980s. Except, with the exception of the meaning, all that is wrong. Go back, search among the vast number of online databases that are lexicography's gift from the internet. Look, digitally, at the Sunday Times of Perth, Western Australia. Specifically at 10 December 1906 and find: "When a journalistic rival tries to 'dis' you / And to prejudice you in the public's eyes." The next example is 1981. The only question now - what about the examples in between?


    Groovy
    I had met slang earlier - you couldn't read writers such as Sapper or PG Wodehouse and fail to note that not all language was restrained to the standard - but I doubt if I really started thinking "slang" till the 60s.Groovy, heavy, bag (of which Papa had a brand new…), uptight (and outasite), thing, cool, dope… such were hippiedom's key words. That they came, unaltered, from an American black vocabulary that was around 30 years old was irrelevant. Ignorance, if not bliss, did not impede our use. Some were laid to rest; others flourish. Dope still means drugs, as well as affirming excellence. Cool marches on, re-minted for every youthful generation. As for groovy, it began life meaning conservative ("stuck in a groove"); now the young use it to mock those who pose as latter-day freaks.


    Hipster

    The original hipster wore Italian suits, listened to Charlie Parker's brand of "cool" jazz, shot up heroin and doubled as what Norman Mailer, in a famous essay of 1957, christened "The White Negro". Mass-marketed, he was the idealised stud of Hugh Hefner's "Playboy philosophy", at his incomparable best the taboo-shattering stand-up Lenny Bruce. Something cooler and blacker than the beatnik, he was a cut above the hippie, which, pre-bells and beads, signified a failed or at best wannabe hipster. He vanished around 1960. Now he's back (and she too) and the Urban Dictionary describes "a subculture of men and women typically in their 20s and 30s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter". Been there, dare I say, done that too.


    Not all there
    Slang fails on caring, sharing and compassion but it does a good insult. Modernity lacks the 18th Century's excellent "you are a thief and a murderer: you have killed a baboon and stolen his face" but there is much on offer. Slang, as noted, pooh-poohs political correctness and has no time for euphemism, however justified, and while mental-health professionals might deplore the fact, lists a wide range of terms it defines as "mad". The over-riding image is "not all there". Take your pick from:A couple of chips short of an order, a butty, a happy meal or even a circuit-board, a few bob short of the pound, a few snags short of a barbie, one brick short of a load, one sandwich short of a picnic,one stop short of East Ham (yes, "barking") or two wafers short of a communion.


    Dosh

    With "older than you think" still in mind, there's dosh - money. Like many of slang terms for cash, the inference is "something you need", e.g. the needful, bread, as in "the staff of life" or quid, from the Latin for "what", with "one needs" left unspoken. Dosh, which started life around 1850, may come from a mix of "dollar" and "cash" but the root lies more likely in doss, a sleep, bed or lodging house, itself rooted in Latin's dorsus, the back, on which one rests. Dosh was the money required to get that very basic necessity.


    Bad=good

    Slang, being what Americans would term a contrary cuss, is never happier than when rendering its topics and terminology inside-out, upside down and generally turning all available arses about-face. Never more so than with those alleged poles of morality, good and bad. It is a vocabulary, after all, in which do good means to make substantial profits from crime and get good to become drunk. And bad? Quite simply, in slang's looking-glass environs, bad means good. Albeit with a special sauce of sexiness and outsider cool.

    It all starts with rum. In cant, the language of criminal beggars, rum meant good. The reason is lost, though there may be links to Rome, both as a former imperial capital and in Romeville, cant for London. The image is of the great and powerful city epitomizing something desirable.

    "Good" rum offered over 120 compounds. There was rum booze, which was good strong beer, there was a rum diver who was a competent pickpocket and a rum doxy who was a pretty girl. A rum kiddy was a smart young villain and rum nantz the best-quality brandy (from Nantes, whence it was exported). Then, around 1760, it all changes. We meet the rum cove, an odd or eccentric character, the rum phiz, a deformed face (phiz as in physiognomy), and of course the rum 'un, a dubious individual.

    "Bad" rum's descendants start emerging in the early 19th Century. There is terrible, nasty, awful, mean and hell. There is also, though today's young might find this surprising, wicked, which turns up in 1842. Then it promptly disappears and does not re-emerge until 1908, often describing food (a "wicked ragout") or drink (a"wicked punch"). One can also shake a wicked foot. Exclamatory wicked! arrives in the 1970s (in the 50s musical Grease, though the "real" fifties offer no examples) and really gets going - stand up, Jamie Oliver - in the 90s.


    Much is owed to hip-hop. Ill appeared in 1987, dank and skanky (used elsewhere of drugs and floozies respectively) in 1989 and ghetto in 1996. The new century has added roughneck, beasty and treacherous.



    Whole nine yards

    Why do people read slang dictionaries? Not for the spelling, nor the pronunciation. What they want is the etymologies - the stories behind the words. Usually we can give them, although a surprising number are simply playing with standard English. Thus dog, with its compounds, offers 161 meanings in slang. But sometimes we can't. What, for instance lies behind the phrase the whole nine yards? We know that it comes out of US regional use, and is so far first recorded in 1907. But its origins? Most suggestions involve standards of measurement, from the dimensions of a nun's habit to the capacity of a cement truck and the length of an ammunition clip to that of a hangman's rope. However, few, when checked, actually run to nine yards. It may be no more than the use of nine as a form of mystic number. Your guess, dare I admit, maybe be even better than mine.


    Nang

    Slang may stay the same but the lexis evolves. Standard English laid down such terms as drunk or sexual intercourse centuries ago. Slang, not so much a language (where's the grammar?) but rather a vast compendium of synonyms, has respectively 3,000 and 1,750 terms for each. That the former tend to suggest some form of physical ineptitude and latter, sadly, too often boils down to "man hits woman", does not mean there won't be more. But there are real novelties. Nang, meaning first-rate, is an example of slang's current cutting edge, Multi-ethnic London English (MLE). This mix of Jamaican patois, American hip-hop, Cockney classics and the coinages of youthful Londoners has added much to slang's vocabulary. Nang, imported from the Caribbean where it means ostentation or style and rooted in Mende nyanga, showing off, is one of the better-known examples.


    Yolo

    Slang is ephemeral. So runs the critique. As booze and thousands of other terms make clear, this is far from the rule. But yes, some things don't last. Yolo - you only live once - was the flavour of the month, even year, not that long ago. Today few slang users worthy of their attitude would be heard using it. It is far from alone. In 1840 Charles McKay, in his book Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions, listed a number of defunct, yet once hugely popular catchphrases. Among them - has your mother sold her mangle? walker! quoz! flare up! and there he goes with his eye out! Each, as Mackay noted, was "the slang par excellence of the Londoners, and afforded them a vast gratification". And now? All gone, not to mention forgotten.



    Here is a selection of slang which defines an era for readers.
    [...]


    www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27405988
    Θεωρητικά, θεωρία και πράξη είναι το ίδιο πράγμα. Στην πράξη, όμως, διαφέρουν.
    When this you see, remember me and bear me in your mind, let all the world say what they may, speak of me as you find.

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    Senior Member dharvatis's Avatar
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    Χαχαχα! one stop short of East Ham (yes, "barking")!
    Life is an aberration; it appears under unusual conditions, where there is an abnormal amount of resources, and then proceeds to expand and evolve, consuming those resources until eventually it dies away, leaving behind only bare rock and empty soda cans.

  6. #6
    Senior Member daeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dharvatis View Post
    Χαχαχα! one stop short of East Ham (yes, "barking")!
    Quote Originally Posted by daeman View Post
    ... "is running on a lean mixture", "The cheese fell off his cracker a long time ago" και "He's just a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic", είναι όλα συνώνυμα του «δεν τα 'χει τετρακόσια» που λέει ο Νικέλ αποπάνω ή «κάπου χάνει» κ.ά.π. που θα μπορούσαμε να σκεφτούμε.

    Ένας κατάλογος με 163 τέτοιες αγγλικές εκφράσεις / ατάκες, κοινές και μη, υπάρχει σ' αυτή τη σελίδα: "Not too bright" list.
    209 now, but still a few links short of a chain...

    Θεωρητικά, θεωρία και πράξη είναι το ίδιο πράγμα. Στην πράξη, όμως, διαφέρουν.
    When this you see, remember me and bear me in your mind, let all the world say what they may, speak of me as you find.

  7. #7
    Senior Member dharvatis's Avatar
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    21. Couldn't pour water out of a boot with instructions on the heel.
    Αυτό τώρα, ποιος μπορεί να το σκέφτηκε;;!
    Life is an aberration; it appears under unusual conditions, where there is an abnormal amount of resources, and then proceeds to expand and evolve, consuming those resources until eventually it dies away, leaving behind only bare rock and empty soda cans.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Themis's Avatar
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    Μια βιαστική σταχυολόγηση:
    If you gave them a penny for thoughts, you'd get change.
    The hard drive is spinning but the OS hasn't been installed.
    A few bristles short of a broom.
    A poster child for birth control.
    Shipped but not delivered.
    A few bits short of a byte.
    If their nose was on upside down they'd drown in the rain.
    Couldn't find their way out of a paper bag.
    One IQ point above brain death.
    Any slower and he'd need to be watered once a week.
    Was hiding behind the door when they passed out brains.
    Batteries not included.
    If brains were dynamite, they couldn't blow their hat off.
    As quick as a snail crossing super-glue.
    Not wrapped too tight.
    Can't find their butt with two hands and a road map.
    If he went any slower he'd have to speed up to stop.
    If brains were electricity, they wouldn't have enough to light a firefly.
    Aπ' ό,τι κάλλη έχει άνθρωπος, τα λόγια έχουν τη χάρη / να κάμουσι κάθε καρδιά παρηγοριά να πάρη
    κι οπού κατέχει να μιλεί με γνώση και με τρόπο / κάνει και κλαίσι και γελούν τα μάτια των ανθρώπω.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Themis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daeman View Post
    [...] publisher's UK price £295.00. Βλέποντας την τιμή του, πολύ θα ήθελα να το ζητήσω απ' τον Αγιοβασίλη
    Μη μπαίνεις σε πειρασμό, Δαεμάνε, το Άμαζον ανέβασε την τιμή στις 349 στερλίνες (βλ. το ίδιο λινκ που παραθέτεις στην αρχή). Φαίνεται ότι σκέφτηκαν: το ζαχαρώνει ο Δαεμάνος, ας του τα πάρουμε χοντρά. Αλλά πίσω έχει ο Δαεμάνος την ουρά - και χαμηλά τη μπάρα...
    Aπ' ό,τι κάλλη έχει άνθρωπος, τα λόγια έχουν τη χάρη / να κάμουσι κάθε καρδιά παρηγοριά να πάρη
    κι οπού κατέχει να μιλεί με γνώση και με τρόπο / κάνει και κλαίσι και γελούν τα μάτια των ανθρώπω.

  10. #10
    Administrator nickel's Avatar
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    Έχω το επίτομό του και θεωρώ ότι είναι υπεραρκετό, ιδίως τώρα που έχουμε ολόκληρο ίντερνετ, όπου οι εγγραφές στο Urban θα είναι πάντα πιο φρέσκες από οποιοδήποτε έντυπο λεξικό. Μου είναι αδύνατο να φανταστώ τι θα έπρεπε να μεταφράσουμε που θα χρειαζόταν το τρίτομο. Αντιθέτως, ακόμα και σε απλά ψαξίματα στο επίτομο, οι πολλές σημασίες δυσκολεύουν συχνά την ανεύρεση και την επιλογή της σωστής. Η τιμή του τρίτομου, τιμή για βιβλιοθήκες (με γερά κονδύλια), είναι η σωστή τιμή για να αποτρέπει κάθε πειρασμό. Άγιε Βασίλη, αν είναι να μου φέρεις δώρο, φέρε μου ράφια. Και τοίχους για ράφια...
    Μένω ΕυρώπηΣύγκρουση ιδεών, όχι βία και μισαλλοδοξία: δεν οδηγούν πουθενά. (Λ. Κύρκος)Αριστεία, ρε!
    ΕΝΑ ΝΗΜΑ ΤΗΝ ΗΜΕΡΑ ΤΗΝ ΑΝΙΑ ΚΑΝΕΙ ΠΕΡΑ. Staying hungry, staying foolish. Το διαδίκτυο βλάπτει όταν δεν σκέφτεσαι.

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