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):
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