Dominik Wujastyk ucgadkw at UCL.AC.UK
Thu Feb 19 12:46:50 UTC 2009

On Thu, 19 Feb 2009, Jan Houben wrote:

> It is well-known that this applies to Monier-Williams' dictionary (see his
> own introduction which understates his dependency),

It is a standard trope in our field to take pot-shots at Monier-Williams' 
dictionary on the grounds that it is derivative and that MW doesn't come 
clean about quite how derivative it is.  On the other hand, how many of us 
would like to throw our copies of MW away, and use only PW or Apte 

In his introduction, MW argues at some length about the critical value of 
his lexicographical innovations, especially in the arrangement of the 
materials, but also in the evaluation and enlargement of the vocabulary. 
It's true, he sounds a bit shrill at times.  But in my view, the whole 
matter isn't very simple, and MW's original contributions to making a new 
dictionary go far beyond rearrangement (or the introduction of new error!) 
and certainly do not warrant reflex dismissal.

There is a good article that many will know, that goes into this matter 
with subtlety and care:

Ladislav Zgusta, "Copying in Lexicography: Monier-Williams' Sanskrit 
Dictionary and other cases (Dvaikosyam)" Lexicograpohica 4 (1988): 
pp. 145-164.


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