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A History of Cant and Slang Dictionaries: Volume I1567-1784$
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Julie Coleman

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199557097

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199557097.001.0001

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The beggars are coming to town

The beggars are coming to town

Chapter:
1 The beggars are coming to town
Source:
A History of Cant and Slang Dictionaries: Volume I
Author(s):

Julie Coleman (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199557097.003.0002

This chapter discusses the historical roots of English cant and slang. The period 1560-1640 was characterized by the agrarian revolution, and the progressive criminalization of poverty; the later part by the transition to a cash culture and by the haphazardly harsh treatment of criminals. The word-lists reflect changing interests and concerns caused by population growth and migration, developments in legal and penal theory and practice, and far-reaching changes in trade and travel.

Keywords:   English cant, English slang, poverty, vagrancy, social change

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