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    By: Julie Coleman

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    The second volume of Julie Coleman's fascinating and entertaining history of the uses and the recording of slang and criminal cant takes the story from 1785 to 1858 and explores its first manifestations in the USA and Australia. During this period glossaries of cant are thrown into the shade by dictionaries of slang, which now include the language of thieves and cover a broad spectrum of non-standard English. Cant represented a practical threat to life and property. Slang, the author reveals, was a threat to the moral core of society, insidiously seductive to a wide section of the public. Julie Coleman shows how Francis Grose's Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue revolutionised lexicography of non-standard English. She explores the earliest Australian and American slang glossaries, whose authors included the thrice-transported James Hardy Vaux and George Matsell, New York City's first chief of police.

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