English Dictionaries, 800-1700: The Topical Tradition

By Werner Hüllen | Go to book overview

2 On establishing a tradition
2.1 General
2.2 Historical cases
2.2.1 Egyptian word-lists
2.2.2 Chinese word-lists
2.2.3 The Ameracósha of Sanskrit
2.2.4 Graeco-Coptic scalae
2.2.5 Arabic-Syriac word-list
2.3 Onomasiology, an autonomous tradition

2.1 General

It is the aim of this book to establish a tradition.

The lexeme tradition is explained in the Oxford English Dictionary (definition 5b) as follows:

A long established and generally accepted custom or method of procedure, having almost the force of a law; an immemorial usage; the body (or any one) of the experiences and usages of any branch or school of art or literature, handed down by predecessors and generally followed. [. . . A]n embodiment of an old established custom or institution, a 'relic'.

In the field of linguistics, theoretical as well as applied, there are several such 'established custom[s] or institution [s]', the most noteworthy of which is probably grammatography, the description of analogous structures of any language for the sake of teaching and improving its use according to certain criteria. Indeed, in Europe we have used in grammatography a stable, that is, a traditional, terminology since Dionysius Thrax (?170-?90 BC) ( Law and Sluiter 1995). Another tradition of this kind has been rhetoric since the days of Cicero ( 106-43 BC) and Quintilian (?35-?100) ( Plett 1995); a third is what would today be called semiotics, meaning the explanation of the nature and the functions of various kinds of signs, notably the linguistic ones, as has been done since Aristotle ( 384/3-322 BC) and St Augustine ( 354-430) ( Deely 1982, Posner, Robering, and Sebeok 1997).

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English Dictionaries, 800-1700: The Topical Tradition
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Publisher's Acknowledgement ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures x
  • Tables xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgements xv
  • Note on the Text xvi
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • A. Opening the Topic 1
  • 1 - The Onomasiological Approach 3
  • 2 - On Establishing a Tradition 28
  • B: The English Tradition of Onomasiology 41
  • 3 - Hermeneumata, Latin-English Glosses, and Nominales 43
  • 4 - Colloquies, Wordbooks, and Dialogues for Teaching and Learning Foreign Languages 78
  • 5 - Treatises on Terminology 140
  • 6 - John Withals' Dictionary for Young Boys (1553) 168
  • 7 - James Howell's Dictionary for the Genteel (1660) 202
  • 8 - John Wilkins' Comprehensive Thesaurus of English (1668) 244
  • C - The European Scene (1400-1700) 303
  • 9 - Multilingual Dictionaries and Nomenclators 305
  • 10 - The Case of Johannes Amos Comenius 361
  • D. Reflections on the Topic 431
  • 11 - Towards Mental Lexicography 433
  • Appendix 449
  • Bibliography 491
  • Index 515
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