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28292.  Tue Oct 25, 2005 12:48 pm Reply with quote

Does anyone know the first dictionary to come into existance worldwide? I could only find what looks like a piece of coursework on the early history of the dictionary in England.....

The availability, format and wide use of dictionaries are taken for granted in our modern written literary culture. And yet the roots of this probably most useful literary tool are to be found in the ancient and medieval periods when oral communication was predominant. (Hüllen 49) In England, as in other European countries, the spread of Latin texts and Latin education led to glossing and production of glossaries as new people endeavored to master the classical language. Yet eventually the tool used to help spread Latin education became an important element in the development of vernacular culture as a larger and larger Old English vocabulary was recorded in the growing glossaries.

The beginnings of English glossography are to be found in the seventh century in the celebrated Canterbury school of Theodore and Hadrian. Theodore was a Greek-speaking monk from Asia and Hadrian a Latin-speaking African, and the classical curriculum of their school included both Greek and Latin. Scholars argue that the so called 'original English collection' of glosses, which served as a source for many later English as well as continental glossaries, was developed in the Canterbury school. (Lapidge )

28370.  Tue Oct 25, 2005 9:03 pm Reply with quote

best I can find is first English dictionary:

29215.  Tue Nov 01, 2005 12:36 pm Reply with quote

This is the best i can find, hope it helps

One of the earliest dictionaries known, and which is still extant today in an abridged form, is one written in Latin during the reign of the emperor Augustus. It is known by the title "De Significatu Verborum" ("On the meaning of words") and was originally compiled by Verrius Flaccus. It was twice modified in succeeding centuries, first by Festus, and then by Paul the Deacon. Verrius Flaccus' dictionary was an abridged list of difficult or antiquated words, whose usage was illustrated by quotations from early Roman authors.

29241.  Tue Nov 01, 2005 3:55 pm Reply with quote

well it seems that Johnson, creditted for the first English Dictionary was preceeded by Edward Phillips some 97 years earlier. Shame that because Johnsons Dictionary had some very good definitions

29252.  Tue Nov 01, 2005 5:17 pm Reply with quote

And some gloriously wrong ones as well - the pastern defined as 'the knee of a horse' for example.

Johnson was once asked by a woman why there were mistakes in his dictionary, and he replied 'Ignorance madam. Sheer ignorance.'

29357.  Wed Nov 02, 2005 5:52 pm Reply with quote

I've got a facsimile edition of Dr Johnson's Dictionary on my desk and I am determined to find a funny definition which hasn't made the quotation books...

29359.  Wed Nov 02, 2005 6:10 pm Reply with quote

OK, well this one isn't funny but it's rather interesting.

HABERDASHER n. This word is ingeniuoufly deduced by Minfhew from habt ihr dafs, German, have you this, the expreffion of a fhopkeeper offering his wares to fale.

Wonderful idea and (who knows) it may even be true. The OED says the origin of the word haberdasher is 'unknown'.

29360.  Wed Nov 02, 2005 6:14 pm Reply with quote

This one's a bit half-hearted to fay the leaft:

HALIBUT n. A fort of fifh

29361.  Wed Nov 02, 2005 6:15 pm Reply with quote

Oddly enough, he doesn't include the word HALF-HEARTED in his Dictionary at all.

29362.  Wed Nov 02, 2005 6:19 pm Reply with quote

Ah...That's because it's not a word.

Well, "it" is, but...

29365.  Wed Nov 02, 2005 7:17 pm Reply with quote

It is a word, Nat. A hyphenated word.

29366.  Wed Nov 02, 2005 7:21 pm Reply with quote

JAGGEDNESS n. The ftate of being denticulated.

29372.  Wed Nov 02, 2005 8:01 pm Reply with quote

Oh I fay.

29386.  Wed Nov 02, 2005 8:45 pm Reply with quote

Under 'denticulated' does it say 'being in a state of jaggedness'?

29426.  Thu Nov 03, 2005 10:59 am Reply with quote

I seem to remember that he defines "cough" with at least two words that I'd need to look up - at least he adds "it is pronounced 'koff'."


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