Thu Feb 19 21:44:55 UTC 2009

No disrespect for MW (and besides, the version we all use is not the  
one criticized by B and R, but one has been substantially revised by  
other scholars; the PW too is the fruit of collaboration of a  
considerable number of scholars), just an anecdote: I remember seeing  
once a word for ?woman? being glossed by ?women?s room? which is, of  
course, a direct mistranslation of Frauenzimmer.

Quoting Dominik Wujastyk <ucgadkw at UCL.AC.UK>:

> 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 instead?
> 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.
> Dominik

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