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Thursday, 31 January 2013
Home arrow Initial results arrow Outline material arrow 1150-1499
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OED's most quoted sources (figures approx.)

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Were these the giants that have most contributed to the English language? Or were they the ones most favoured, for a variety of different reasons, by the lexicographers? The case of Sir Walter Scott is a particularly interesting one. He looks an eccentric choice today as the third most cited source, and a good deal of the vocabulary for which he is cited by OED is for archaisms or revivals of medieval usage in his historical novels that can't (surely?) have represented everyday usage among his contemporaries. However, he was the publishing phenomenon of his day and had an incalculably great influence on the literary (linguistic?) scene – see St Clair 2004.
 
Note on data: the figures for Shakespeare and the Bible (i.e. various full and partial versions and translations) are taken from OED facts on OED Online's web-site.

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