- Romanistik und Anglistik an der deutschen Universität im 19. Jahrhundert: Ihre Herausbildung als Fächer und ihr Verhältnis zu Germanistik und klassischer Philologie By Hans Helmut Christmann (review)
- Linguistic Society of America
- Volume 62, Number 3, September 1986
- pp. 703-705
- View Citation
- Additional Information
BOOK NOTICES 703 D's intent is to prove that Bishop Wilkins' Essay towards a real character and a philosophical language (London, 1668) and the accompanying Alphabetical Dictionary (AD), coauthored with W. Lloyd, constitute a 'legitimate contribution to lexicography', though they have been widely ignored. The contributions are: (a) inclusion of a wide range of vocabulary in a monolingual dictionary; (b) use of 'highly systematic and methodological constructions ofentries ' and (c) the innovation of a 'self-defining lexicon'. Much of the book is D's 1983 University of Illinois (Urbana) dissertation, under the directorship of lexicographer L. Zgusta. The book contains four concise chapters with an appendix ('Semiotics ofthe tables'; 1 12-20), which presents the notational devices used. Ch. 1, 'An overview and select analyses of the essay' (4-21), introduces the background necessary for understanding W's essay, a summary of it, and an account of some of the scholars who worked with W. One item which D stresses (10-11) is that W worked with two levels of grammar—surface and underlying structure— though he made no division between syntax and semantics. This dichotomy permitted W to work on his universal language project (which included a universal alphabet), commissioned by the Royal Society; his collaborators were John Wallis, mathematician and the inventor (from scratch) of the famous prescriptive shall/will rule (1616-1703); Francis Willughby, naturalist (1635-72); John Ray, naturalist (1627-1705); and W. Lloyd (1627-1717). Ch. 2 (22-57) assembles the records to reassess the genealogy of English monolingual dictionaries . D successfully demonstrates that the AD 'had a role in the development and progress of the English dictionary' (22); it 'is the first monolingual English dictionary to include a broad range of the ordinary (i.e. non-technical and non-hard) English vocabulary in its lexicon' (57). D has looked at the vocabulary of nine other dictionaries from 1604 to 1721 (representing the early period of English lexicography ); and he presents several comparative tables (26-48) for sample lexemes. D also assesses (49-55) the relative degree of borrowing among the authors of these nine dictionaries. Ch. 3, 'The construction of entries' (58-93), deals with 'innovations of English lexicography that are directly connected with the specific enterprise of devising a dictionary' (58). W&L were, D says, the first to systematize the construction ofentries in a monolingual English dictionary ; the uniformity of the AD is maintained according to structure and content, and enhanced by a semiotic notational system. The AD uses four methods of definition: (a) single-word definition, (b) reference to location in W&L's 'Philosophical Tables', (c) brief discursive commentary; and (d) negation. In analysing the Tables, D finds 'unstated (but deducible) principles congruent with the Saussurean notion of valeur' (69). In W's 'Advertisement to the Reader' , the distinction between the Tables and the dictionary is explained: 'The Design ofthe Philosophical Tables is to enumerate and describe all kinds of Things and Notions: And the design of this Dictionary is to reckon up and explain all kinds of words, or names of things' (76). In Ch. 4 (94-120), D portrays the relationship between the AD and the Tables, examining the types and frequencies of the definitional methods found. W offered 'explications' ofhis methods ; but they are brief, and one is left to figure out his conceptual methodology. D observes (98) that, though W's stated intention was to create a universal language, 'he produced as a by-product a semantic and conceptual analysis of English.' He also compares W's definitions, oriented toward 'properties and circumstances' with those of Samual (sic) Johnson, which are 'encyclopedic' (99). According to D, the idea of a 'limited vocabulary ' by which all others can be defined was not new with W; but D convincingly demonstrates that its application to the development of lexicographic metalanguage was W's innovation (103). W was guided by an 'unspoken' linguistic theory and methodology, D states (111); further research is needed to make these underlying principles known. [Alan S. Kaye, California State University, Fullerton.] Romanistik und Anglistik an der deutschen Universität im 19. Jahrhundert : Ihre Herausbildung als Fächer und ihr Verhältnis zu Germanistik und klassischer Philologie. By Hans Helmut...