Principles Of Latin Lexicography -- By: T. D. Woolsey

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 002:5 (Feb 1845)
Article: Principles Of Latin Lexicography
Author: T. D. Woolsey


Principles Of Latin Lexicography

Professor T. D. Woolsey

Translated by Professor T. D. Woolsey, Yale College.

[The first part of the Latin dictionary of Wilhelm Freund, of Breslau appeared in 1834, and contained the letters A—C. The second part was published in two numbers, in 1836, and 1844, and went from D to K. The fourth part, (R-Z) was published in 1836, and the third part has been announced as about to appear in 1844. We believe that this lexicon will take a very high rank, probably before any other Latin, and certainly before any Greek one in existence. The preface, containing the author’s views of lexicography and an account of his method, has a bearing by no means confined to the Latin or to any particular set of languages, and is, we think, calculated to be useful to all whose labors are directed to lexicography as well as to scholars in general. A translation of this preface is now laid before the reader.—Tr.]

Between the first publication of the Latin lexicons of Forcellini, Gesner, and Scheller, and the appearance of the present work, more than fifty years have elapsed; and during just this interval, classical philology has met with so thorough a transformation that for this very reason the attempt to bring out a dictionary of the Latin tongue, which shall better correspond with the altered standpoint of the philological sciences, requires no excuse. Still it is

the duty of the author to make known what is the problem he has proposed to himself, and by what means he has tried to solve it: to do this as completely as possible is the aim of the ensuing lines. In order, however, to take the necessary survey where the vastness of the subject almost precludes its being surveyed, it is advisable to arrange it under particular rubrics; and therefore in what follows we shall treat, (1) of the idea and elements of Latin Lexicography, (2) of the compass of the present dictionary, (3) of the method of handling the several articles, (4) of the arrangement of the articles, (5) of the signs and technical terms employed in the work, and (G) of the aids in composing it.

I. Of the idea and elements of Latin Lexicography.

§ 1. If Lexicography in general is that science whose task it is to set forth the nature of every single word of a language through all the periods of its existence, it is the task of Latin lexicography in particular to set forth the nature of every single word of the Latin language, as it makes itself known in all the periods of the existence of that language; or more succinctly expressed, it is the object of Latin lexicography to give the history of every single word of the Latin language. It is, therefore, ...

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