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Author Topic: Beatles in lexicography & dictionaries  (Read 2221 times)

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Beatles in lexicography & dictionaries
« on: September 23, 2012, 12:00:19 PM »

Well, I suppose this goes here.
I just want to share with you how the Beatles were presented in one lexicon and in one dictionary - the year is 1974 and the place is former Yugoslavia.

The first entry says this, in translation from Croatian:
Beatles /bi:tlz/, The, English vocal-instrumental group from Liverpool; George Harrison (*1943), lead guitar; John Lennon (*1940), rhythm guitar; Paul Mc-Cartney (*1942)
bass guitar; Ringo Starr (real name: Richard Starkey, *1940); drums. They issued their first record in 1962 (Love Me Do) and very soon they become world famous
with unique interpretation of beat-music; they've mostly played their own songs. Most notable songs: Yesterday, She Loves You, Please.
At the end of the sixties, they stopped performing together.

(issued by then Yugoslavian Institute of Lexicography, now: The Miroslav Krle┼ża Institute of Lexicography.)

So, what is so special about this?
Well, they've got 14 lines written about them, much more compared to the other artists from the same lexicon. Presley has only two lines:
Presley, Elvis (*1935), American singer who launched rock and roll.

Not a word more, not a song mentioned! And they didn't include his picture - while the Beatles got the biggest picture of them all!
Gilbert Becaud (real name: Francois Silly, *1927), French singer and composer. Recorded a lot of records (Nathalie, Marianne de ma jeunesse) and TV shows.

Piaf, Edith (real name: Giovanna Gassion 1915-1963), French singer of chansons; very suggestive in  songs of poverty and misery.

And nothing more!

Let me point out that in this lexicon there is no entry for Bob Dylan, Doors, Led Zeppelin, Buddy Holly or other well known names (but they've included Armstrong, Duke Ellington, B. Goodman etc.)
Sinatra is also there (four lines): American singer, baritone; known for his ballads and songs (Strangers in the Night) and as a movie actor.

A lot different is an entry in a book called The Big Dictionary of Foreign Words (also from 1974) where you have words like abacus, a bas (French), Abdulah, antithesis,
biznis (business)
etc. Among them, we read this:
bitlzi (plural, English: beatles). First: four tousle-headed boys who had nice singing voices; they were known for singing popular songs and they became adored
by the English public (so called hair-heads from Liverpool); later they were engaged in various improprieties (they were even decorated wit the MBE) and they were loved
by those who love sensations. (...)
bitlzica, hairstyle as worn by the bitlz and their fans.

(issued by: Zora, Zagreb, 1974)

More interesting entry because it is less flattering. Notice how the name of the band is spelled - first, by the pronunciation (bitlz) and then avoiding the capital letter: beatles.
So not very scientific entry in lexicography terms. The band is shown as a sensation, author pays more attention to Beatles' hair style and their behaviour off stage than to their performances
or songs.

Now... It would be interesting to see how the Beatles were treated in dictionaries and other lexicographic works, especially in the days when they were still together or some time after the break-up.
In which year did they got first mentioned in some dictionary in America, Europe, US...? Were the entries flattering or were they criticised? glassesslip

« Last Edit: September 25, 2012, 10:00:50 AM by real01 »


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