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A History of the «Concise Oxford Dictionary»


Malgorzata Kaminska

This book shows the evolution of the Concise Oxford Dictionary, a famous and innovative dictionary for native speakers of English. It traces changes in the dictionary from 1911 to recent times. By comparing samples from each edition, the author provides insights into the revisions of the dictionary. The analysis sheds light on the editors’ policy on various aspects of the dictionary’s structure, including definition style, vocabulary selection and sense discrimination. The study shows how the editors abandoned the telegraphic style of definitions and adapted them to the needs of the target users. As the dictionary evolved towards greater user-friendliness, it also aimed at broader vocabulary coverage.
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I wish to express my deepest thanks and gratitude to Professor Tadeusz Piotrowski, the supervisor of my PhD thesis, on which the current book is based, for extremely careful and detailed comments and suggestions, which helped me with the correct interpretation of facts, and to Professor Patrick Hanks, the Chief Editor of Current English Dictionaries in Oxford, for valuable advice and remarks, which steered me through the intricacies of the history of the dictionary. My sincere gratitude is also due to Professor Rafał Molencki and Professor Janusz Malak for their reviews of the PhD thesis. Special thanks go to the editors of the Concise Oxford Dictionary, in particular Dr Della Thompson and Mr Angus Stevenson, for providing me with biographical details and helpful remarks.

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