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Indo-Iranian Languages and Peoples$
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Nicholas Sims-Williams

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780197262856

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197262856.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 27 October 2021

Hunting the hapax: Sir Harold W. Bailey (1899–1996)*

Hunting the hapax: Sir Harold W. Bailey (1899–1996)*

(p.1) Hunting the hapax: Sir Harold W. Bailey (1899–1996)*
Indo-Iranian Languages and Peoples

Ronald E. Emmerick

British Academy

This chapter presents a speech that details the life and career of Harold Walter Bailey. It also addresses the question of whether he himself coined the phrase ‘hunting the hapax’. Bailey was very fond of hapaxes and he collected them not in order to do away with them but to try to account for them as what he would call ‘interesting words’. This approach has of course some justification when one is dealing with a language that is no longer spoken and that is known only as a result of studying a limited text corpus. In fact, however, Bailey's Dictionary of Khotan Saka contains hapaxes on almost every page, many of which will not survive the test of time—even though Bailey has been at great pains to defend them.

Keywords:   Harold Walter Bailey, hapaxes, languages, Dictionary of Khotan Saka, interesting words

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