In the 1970s

In the 1970s, Millet (1971) and Stanley (1977) found that standard English dictionaries contained far fewer entries that were marked as feminine. Entries that relate to women are far more negative than those relating to men and, according to Millet (ibid), this represents an “archaic culture”. There is no doubt that dictionaries reflect the cultural values of a society in a given period. Even a quick review of the two slang dictionaries by Ben-Amotz and Ben-Yehuda (1972, 1982) is sufficient to testify to the sexist attitude that was common in Israeli society during that period. Many of the sexist entries were either not included in Rosenthal’s dictionary (2005) or labeled as “outdated”. It would thus be interesting to see whether the entries appearing in the new dictionary reflect a different social perspective than in the past. The selection of entries to be included in the dictionary and how they are defined indicates socio-cultural commentary by the lexicographer. Treichler (1989) argues that a dictionary is not only created from discourse, but is even responsible for structuring the discourse itself. For this reason, several dictionaries have been published with the declared aim of correcting distortions with respect to sexist language. The most well known among them are Miller ; Swift (1980) and 329

Kramarae ; Treichler (1985). Kramarae ; Treichler define existing words and change their meaning in order to become non-sexist. They present fragments from feminist writers and poets and show the new meaning that can be assigned to words like “man-made” or “marriage”. The very name of the dictionary –
Dictionary of Israeli Slang
(Rosenthal, 2005) – clearly indicates that it is not designed to document official language. In fact, in the introduction to the dictionary, Nir writes that speakers of slang are aware that they are overstepping the bounds of “respectable” normative language. However, he states that “the use of slang expressions allows speakers to avoid the discomfort involved in going against social custom (taboos)”. In the same introduction, Ben-Shahar states that the foundations of slang are not only created by toying with vocabulary, but also by playing with grammar. Among other things, she refers to methods of inflection and the use of feminine morphemes. The author of the dictionary sets out his guiding principles. He writes as follows:

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