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Strange Vernaculars

How Eighteenth-Century Slang, Cant, Provincial Languages, and Nautical Jargon Became English...

Janet Sorensen

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Princeton University Press
01 December 2020
How vocabularies once associated with outsiders became objects of fascination in eighteenth-century Britain While eighteenth-century efforts to standardize the English language have long been studied-from Samuel Johnson's Dictionary to grammar and elocution books of the period-less well-known are the era's popular collections of odd slang, crimi
By:   Janet Sorensen
Imprint:   Princeton University Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 235mm,  Width: 156mm, 
ISBN:   9780691210742
ISBN 10:   0691210748
Pages:   352
Publication Date:   01 December 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Janet Sorensen is associate professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of The Grammar of Empire in Eighteenth-Century British Writing.

Reviews for Strange Vernaculars: How Eighteenth-Century Slang, Cant, Provincial Languages, and Nautical Jargon Became English

I learned much from Strange Vernaculars, a dense, demanding, and thoroughly rewarding book. ---Jack Lynch, Oxford Journal Show[s] how discourses on the English language both reflected and galvanized the forces of cultural and political hegemony in Britain, and those of expansion, empire and slavery on a global scale. ---John Gallagher, Times Literary Supplement Sorensen shows how a wide range of authors represented and classified the real or imagined speech of lower status groups, refashioning it as 'strange vernaculars'. . . . She is especially strong on the hidden role of race. . . . Her final section on sailors' talk includes some fine points on Jane Austen, and on the allure of naval speech as both foreign and familiar, an allure that lies at the heart of the book. ---Elspeth Jajdelska, Times Higher Education Sorensen brings together sociolinguistics and literary history in an innovative and subtle exploration of the social cachet that heteroglossia had for writers in the 18th century. . . . This sensitive work is both a contribution to 18th- century studies and a model of how heteroglossia in literature might be investigated in other eras. * Choice * For readers interested in the evolution of English, this is a fascinating look at the role strangeness and otherness played in the development of a national language and identity. ---James Holloway, Fortean Times


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