[Ads-l] _beatnik_: interdating

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Sun Aug 16 13:26:54 UTC 2015

On Sat, Aug 15, 2015 at 11:07:47PM -0400, Ben Zimmer wrote:
> On Sat, Aug 15, 2015 at 10:43 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
> >
> > Ebony - May 1960 - Page 63
> > https://books.google.com/books?id=QoVz2rpp-skC
> > _Beatnik_ Dictionary
> > The Official Handbook
> > For Everyone In Orbit
> > Packed with words and phrases straight
> > from infinity. A perfect novelty gift.
> > Send One Skin (1.00)
> > To: Kimbrough Pub. Co., Dept. E
> > 4639 Poplar Ave., Memphis, Tenn.
> Haven't seen this, but Tom Dalzell mentions it in his chapter on "The
> Beat Counterculture" in _Flappers 2 Rappers: American Youth Slang_:

I have a copy of this. It's a fun one.

> https://groups.google.com/d/msg/pmjs/bBre4Nm2xiE/aHBvv9-C9JMJ
> Incidentally, regarding "usage" as an issue in lexicography, in 1959
> my father compiled and sold a small, pamphlet-like dictionary called
> the "Swinging Syllables Beatnik Dictionary."  He advertised it in
> Playboy Magazine and sold copies through the mail for $1 each.  I
> mentioned to him a couple of years ago that his humble dictionary was
> recently cited in a scholarly dictionary of American slang.  He
> thought that was pretty funny, because, as he said, since he wasn't a
> beatnik and he didn't know enough beatnik slang to fill out a
> dictionary, he supplemented his "research" with a bunch of words and
> phrases that sounded to him like things that beatniks might say.

I hear stories like this all the time. When I meet authors of
self-published or similarly casual slang dictionaries/glossaries, they
often dismiss their work--"Oh, I was young, I just wrote down the stuff
I heard, and made up some things."

Jesse Sheidlower

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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