The language of butchery, the UK’s last public craft

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Drawing on survey material from the 1970s, supplemented by present-day observations, this chapter sets out some core matters of the language used by butchers, and goes on to elaborate on three disparate matters of general linguistic concern. It takes a language-historical issue concerning English and French etymologies beyond the basic level at which it is customarily considered. It highlights lexicographic shortcomings as regards the treatment of semi-technical vocabulary. And it explains in some detail a little-known variety of slang, especially connected to butchers but not solely their preserve. The linguistic space inhabited by butchers emerges as both particular to them and relevant on a wider stage.


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