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date: 27 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The lexicographical needs of the dialectologist are considered: to the extent that practicalities and resources allow, a linguist creating a dictionary record of non-standard lexis for the purposes of proper dialectal examination must consider for inclusion everything they can accumulate, and omit nothing, however inconsequential it might at first appear or however irrelevant it might be for their own immediate purposes. Two benchmark dialect dictionaries are examined: the English Dialect Dictionary and Dictionary of American Regional English. Fundamental questions for dialect lexicography are ‘what qualifies as “dialect”?’, and ‘what is a dialect word?’ The written shape of the identified dialect word is in itself frequently problematic. The perceptions of language users must also be taken seriously as possibly informing the non-standard linguistic record.

Keywords: regional dictionaries, dialect dictionaries, non-standard language, historical lexicography, variation, orthography, informants, perceptions of language, evidence, dialect surveys

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