Academy Dictionaries: 1600-1800 by John Considine

By John Considine

This can be the 1st unified heritage of the massive, prestigious dictionaries of the 17th and eighteenth centuries, compiled in academies, which got down to glorify residing ecu languages. The culture started with the Vocabolario degli Accademici della Crusca (1612) in Florence and the Dictionnaire de l'Académie françoise (1694) in Paris, and unfold throughout Europe - to Germany, Spain, England, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Russia - within the eighteenth century, attractive scholars of language as varied as Leibniz, Samuel Johnson, and Catherine the good. the entire significant academy and academy-style dictionaries of the interval as much as 1800, released and unpublished, are mentioned in one narrative, bridging nationwide and linguistic obstacles, to provide a background of lexicography on a ecu scale. Like John Considine's Dictionaries in Early smooth Europe (Cambridge collage Press, 2008), this examine treats dictionaries either as actual books and as formidable works of the human mind's eye.

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53 In fact, a problem with one of the authorities for the dictionary became apparent at an early stage. 54 The work of lexicography turned out, however, to be harder to undertake collaboratively than that of collation, and as work on the dictionary proceeded, there were inconsistencies among different academicians’ treatments of different words. At least they had the advantage of being a coherent social group: as the American lexicographer Sidney Landau has remarked, ‘dictionaries composed entirely by strangers will not be as good as dictionaries composed by people who work together and know each other’.

Words were included even if attestations for them could not be found. 80 It had more to offer than an increased wordlist: for instance, archaic words were labelled ‘V. ’ (voce antiqua) much more systematically than before. The preliminaries included an impressive list of sources (four pages of the names of early and modern authors and anonymous texts, and twenty-nine pages of the abbreviations by which individual works were designated in the citations), a forty-page index of the Greek words cited in the Vocabolario, and a two hundred-page index of the Latin words.

In February 1584 – the month, as it happened, in which the first volume of Salviati’s Avvertimenti was published – the Accademia della Crusca came into being. Its name was a witty adaptation of brigata dei crusconi, now emphasizing purification rather than coarseness: its emblem was a frullone, or boltinghutch, the device which separates good flour from bran (crusca). Bastiano de’ Rossi, who worked closely with Salviati on the latter’s ‘vocabolario’, was its secretary. The codification of the vernacular soon came to interest the Accademici, no doubt as a result of the influence of Salviati, even after his departure from Florence and his death.

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