Small Dictionaries and Curiosity: Lexicography and Fieldwork in Post-Medieval Europe

Hardcover | February 4, 2017

byJohn Considine

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Small Dictionaries and Curiosity tells a story which has not been told before, that of the first European wordlists of minority and unofficial languages and dialects, from the end of the Middle Ages to the early nineteenth century. These wordlists were collected by people who were curiousabout the unrecorded or little-known languages they heard around them. Between them, they document more than 40 language varieties, from a Basque-Icelandic pidgin of the North Atlantic to the Kalmyk language of the lower Volga. The book gives an account of about 90 of these dictionaries and wordlists, some of them single-page jottings and some of them full-sized printed books, paying attention to their content and their physical form alike. It explores the kinds of curiosity and imagination by which their makers weremoved: the lover of all languages hearing new voices in an inn; the speaker of a dying language recording his linguistic memories; the patriot deploying his lexicographical findings in the service of an emerging nation. It offers an encounter with the diverse voices of the entirety of post-medievalEurope, turning away from the people of the courts and universities whose language was documented in big dictionaries to listen to people who did not speak the languages of power: the people of remote places and dying communities; the illiterate poor, settled or homeless; migrants from the edges ofEurope and beyond.

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Small Dictionaries and Curiosity tells a story which has not been told before, that of the first European wordlists of minority and unofficial languages and dialects, from the end of the Middle Ages to the early nineteenth century. These wordlists were collected by people who were curiousabout the unrecorded or little-known languages t...

John Considine teaches English at the University of Alberta, and contributes as a consultant to the Oxford English Dictionary, of which he was formerly an assistant editor. His books include Dictionaries in Early Modern Europe (2008), Academy Dictionaries 1600-1800 (2014), and the edited volume Ashgate Critical Essays on Early English ...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.98 inPublished:February 4, 2017Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198785011

ISBN - 13:9780198785019

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Table of Contents

1. IntroductionPart I: Curiosity2. Western lexicographers in the lands of the Mongols3. Curiosity and lexicography from Petrarch to Leibniz4. The history of lexicography and the history of curiosityPart II: The long sixteenth century5. The first curiosity-driven wordlists: Rotwelsch6. The broadening tradition: wordlists of other cryptolects7. The curiosity-driven lexicography of a whole language: Romani8. Weakly codified languages and lexicography in the sixteenth century9. Curiosity-driven lexicography in the sixteenth centuryPart III: The long seventeenth century10. Languages and regional varieties11. Natural history and lexicography: John Ray and his friends12. Ray's Collection of English words13. Ray's German contemporaries and successors14. Edward Lhuyd: The making of a lexicographer15. Edward Lhuyd, travelling lexicographer16. Edward Lhuyd's GlossographyPart IV: The long eighteenth century17. Polyglot collections from Gessner to Leibniz18. Witsen, Leibniz, and the turn to Inner Eurasia19. Strahlenberg and the lexicography of Inner Eurasia20. Early wordlists of Scandinavian regionalisms21. Early wordlists of Finnish and Sami22. Johan Ihre and Swedish lexicography23. Dying languages24. Old Prussian and Polabian25. Cornish and ManxPart V: Into the nineteenth century26. Dictionaries of Scottish Gaelic in the century of Ossian27. Bardic dictionaries: Faroese, Serbian, and Breton28. Lexicography and national epic in FinlandConclusion: Writing the history of lexicography