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Thursday, 31 January 2013
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Top female sources
OED3's treatment of female sources
  • OED3 policy where gender of source is concerned is under discussion
  • Should the dictionary be adding more female-authored sources (or bolstering existing ones) as a matter of principle?
  • But if women were, at various periods, contributing only a small percentage to the total of written sources, would that be an unwarrantable distortion?
  • Bibliographical studies since 1988 have confirmed 'the steady emergence of women writers early in the eighteenth century, followed by their explosive increase in its final three decades' - so that in 2000 Raven and Forster were able to show that women produced at least a third of the novels published in the late eighteenth century. (See Stanton 1988: 253; Raven, Garside, et al. 2000: vol. 1, pp. 46-7, Table 6, and accompanying discussion).
  • What are the issues here and how does one assess them and decide on lexicographical policy?

OED3's treatment of OED2's favourite female sources

Top female sources

(Over revised alphabet range M-overzealousness; data collected June 2005.)

Here it can be seen that OED3 has increased quotations from Eliot, Burney, and especially Austen. Martineau and Braddon are down, however. What will have influenced the lexicographers' decisions in these cases? (Looking at individual quotations is probably the place to start but is laborious and time-consuming.) Are there other female-authored sources which OED3 have introduced into the dictionary?
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 17 December 2008 )
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