Les debuts de la lexicographie française: Estienne, Nicot et le Thresor de la langue françoyse (1606) (review)
- Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America
- Dictionary Society of North America
- Number 1, 1979
- pp. 161-163
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REVIEWS161 correctly. In these and similar instances, the lexicographer should make it clear that he is not expressing approval of such meanings. A great effort has been made to save space by using hyphens, swung dashes and a host of other symbols and abbreviations. This is a long-standing tradition of German lexicography, but I for one find it inconvenient. There is a map of Spain on the inside front cover and recto side of the preliminary leaf, but the corresponding areas at the back of the dictionary (the ideal place for a map of Spanish America) are blank. There are Unes missing s.v. comité (between lines 15 and 16) and moneda (5 and 6). In the upper-left-hand column of p. 826, lines have been omitted or misplaced and s.v.pantorrilla read enseñar. In sum, this is a good start towards a truly modern, accurate, and comprehensive Spanish-German dictionary. David L. Gold University of Haifa Terence Russon Wooldridge, Les debuts de la lexicographie française: Estienne, Nicot et le Thresor de la langue françoyse (1606). Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1977. Pp. xxiii, 340. $35.00. This book is a significant contribution to the field of lexicography—a field which has gained its rank among 'scientific' disciplines in France only since the second half of this century. It represents the fruit of several years of serious research of an author who has been trained in the tradition of French lexicographic methods and who is as well versed in Renaissance French studies, as he is in the most recent developments in French linguistics. As its title and sub-title indicate, Wooldridge's volume is at the same time a meticulous evaluation of Nicot's monument (Ie Thresor de la langue françoyse, published posthumously in 1606, and considered to be the forerunner of the monolingual French dictionary) and its relationship to the various editions of Estienne's Dictionnaire; and an analysis (from the point of view of the modem user) of the entire philological and linguistic structure of essentially the first lexicographic tradition in France. The work begins with a long list of clear and concise 'abbreviations and other formulas' (pp. xi-xiv), including a precise explanation of the author's cross reference system for pages and lines of the Thresor. Then comes an eight-page 'glossary,' with illustrations, of the linguistic and lexicographic terms used throughout the book. This feature makes the work accessible to non-specialists. The core of the book consists of an 'Introduction,' three major chapters and a 'Conclusion.' Chapter 1, 'From the Latin dictionary to the French dictionary ,' is essentially bibliographic. Wooldridge traces the path leading from the Latin dictionary (Latinae Linguae Thesaurus 1531-36) to the different editions of the Dictionnaire françois-latin (Estienne 1539, Estienne 1549, Thierry 162GLADYS E. SAUNDERS 1564-65-72 and Nicot-Dupuys 1573-84-85), in which French is asserted to be the main subject, to Nicot's Thresor, and then to the Thresor's rivals in the early 17th century. The lexicographers' intentions, concerning their respective dictionaries , are compared. Wooldridge has included in this chapter (inserted as pp. 47-58 of his text) reproductions of the original title pages and prefaces of the various dictionaries—a type of iconic support for his thesis, as it were. (Here one sees the lexicographers commenting on their activity as dictionary makers.) Two of Wooldridge's principal concerns occupy chapters 2 and 3, namely, the consultable dictionary' and the reader's discoveries.' A dictionary taken as a whole is a macro-text (a discontinuous text). If considered as an instrument of 'consultability,' its efficaciousness may be judged by the length of time it takes the user to search for an article and read it. The less time required of the user to carry out this task, the more 'consultable' the macro-text is said to be. Hence, one can increase 'consultability' by increasing the fragmentation of the items of information, which must be accomplished necessarily by a larger structuration of entries, understood by the user (p. 97). In this brilliant, voluminous second chapter (pp. 63-245), Wooldridge completely exhausts the complexity of the problem of...