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The "First Estonian Slang Dictionary" is based on a slang vocabulary collected in Tallinn high schools in the spring of 1989. As the collection procedure was based on 152 thematic questionnaires, the dictionary's first and main half is thematic. The dictionary's second half, or register, presents all slang words in alphabetic order, with cross references by number to the relevant themes.

In constructing this dictionary, I have used computer analyses of the primary data, which were ably completed by computer linguist and programmer Indrek Hein. These include frequency vocabularies, boys' and girls' vocabularies, and various theme orderings (number of responses, number of synonyms, etc.).

The use of computer methods determined the character of the dictionary. The construction itself gives much information about Estonian slang. Namely, themes are ordered by their popularity. The most popular slang theme is TÜDRUK (girl), while the most unpopular theme is TÖÖ (work). Therefore, the dictionary begins with themes for which use of slang is both active and creative, ending with themes for which use of slang is less frequent.

The domain of theme has three zones which show the frequency of use of slang words. These zones are physically separated by lines. The first zone gives the most widely used slang words, ordered by frequency of use. The words are defined, their etymology shown, and any palatalization noted. Occurrences when a word is restricted to the vocabulary of a single gender are also noted. The second zone gives words with medium frequency of use in alphabetical order, with descriptions analogous to those in the first zone. The third zone gives very infrequently used words in alphabetical order.

In summary, "The First Estonian Slang Dictionary" contains around 7500 entries, presented to also provide the user with information about the popularity and frequency of use of each slang word. The user also learns about the vocabulary of boys and girls, the existence of palatalization, and the etymology of each entry. Throughout, I have often used my author's license to describe the most widespread "stylistic aura" of various slang words, often along with my own assessments.

Mai Loog