English dictionaries in the sixteenth century

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • SSHRC IG awarded 2012: The research project I propose will lead to a book on the intellectual and cultural history of dictionaries in sixteenth-century England. The primary texts it will discuss are dictionaries and wordlists produced or circulated in England, both printed and manuscript. These texts were at the heart of sixteenth-century English literate culture. Many of them were bilingual, guiding English-speakers in their encounters with other languages. Latin-English and English-Latin dictionaries form the largest group (every educated person used these, so that they are for instance theone kind of dictionary which Shakespeare is absolutely certain to have studied), but there were also dictionaries of English with Welsh, Spanish, Italian, French, Old English, Russian, and other languages, and wordlists of English with languages of Africa, the Ottoman Empire, and the Arctic. Monolingual English dictionaries and glossaries introduced their readers to the fields of specialized literate knowledge most highly valued in sixteenth-century insular culture, giving access to the languages of the law, medicine, and other arts and sciences; the first free-standing non-specialized English dictionary appearedjust after the period under discussion, in 1604. My first monograph has, as far as I know, mostly been read by members of the academic community (including undergraduate students) and professional lexicographers, and I would expect much the same to be true of the study which I now propose to write. I would also expect the proposed study to have a similar interdisciplinary impact, and a similar indirect impact beyond the academy, to that of my first book, which has recently been cited by historians of lexicography and the language sciences, but also in works on language for a wide readership by authors such as Jack Lynch, Henry Hitchings, and Alastair Fowler, and in studies of the histories of Orientalism, religion, Anglo-Saxon studies, Byzantine literature, literary translation, the English language, and m├®ditations cosmographiques.

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  • Type of Item
    Research Material
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  • License
    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International