Skt. lexicography

Thu Feb 2 17:42:53 UTC 1995

Not long ago in the context of a discussion of the Tamil dictionary
"problem," someone (I regret I did not note the scholar's name, and have
deleted the message) referred to an article by Ladislav ZGUSTA, "Copying
Lexicography: Monier-Williams' Sanskrit Dictionary and Other Cases
(Dvaiko"syam)," _Lexicographica_ 4 (1988): 145-64.  I bother to mention
this again because I have just read this fascinating article, and while I
cannot speculate on its relevance for the whole Tamil controversy, being
ignorant of that language for starters, I think it might deeply interest
anyone who has ever used both PW and MW and consciously or not compared
them (and I assume that means pretty much all of us).   It might also
provide further food for thought to anyone who has ever troubled to
speculate on the meaning of a word, and dared to put those speculations
into print.  This probably applies in spades to those who append
"glossaries" and the like to their works, both in terms of the content of
the entries and their general organization.  If nothing else (although
there is much else), the article will reinforce in anyone who reads it the
remarkable debt we all owe to Otto von Boehtlingk and Rudolf von Roth, even
when we turn first of all to Monier-Williams.  (It would be interesting for
some energetic scholar to compare, in this context, Apte's work with the
above -- he has certainly excerpted texts which it is not clear other
lexicographers have examined.  -- It would also be interesting in this
regard to discuss something about the way the Poona project is dealing with
these issues.  See Marek MEJOR's discussion of their treatment of some
philosophical vocabulary in _Studien zur Indologie und Iranistik_ 16 /17
(1992) -- sorry I don't have the page numbers at hand.)

Jonathan Silk


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