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date: 04 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Technical language is not literary in the eyes of many critics; it tends to exclude readers and so we often leave it unread on the page, as ornament or reality effect. This chapter suggests that technical language is literary language and that understanding what it signifies both literally and in relation to what we (too confidently) think of as “standard” language can take us down various philological, critical, and political paths of reading. Our exemplary text is The Return of the Native, in which Hardy deploys a “Wessex” dialect that is always surrounded by standard English. Indeed, dialect is a particularly problematic technical language because it is so local, and often connotes the claustrophobia of the regional. At the same time, it imparts to us a knowledge of place and the means of survival in various places that does crucial work, in literature as well as out of it.

Keywords: dialect, jargon, vernacular, standardization, lexicography, locale, technical language

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