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NEGLECTED OLD FRENCH LEXICOGRAPHICAL RESOURCES HANS-ERICH KELLER The lexicologist dealing with Old French materials has reason to envy his Germanist and Anglicist colleagues, since their reference works, undated in approach, are scientifically all-encompassing and certainly more complete. The GalloRomance scholar, for example, has no other resource tools but the old Godefroy,1 which alone covers the period stretching from the very beginning of the French language to the Renaissance, and Tobler-Lommatzsch,2 which only lists words belonging to the Old French period proper, i.e., until ca. 1350, and these exclusively stemming from literary documents.3 However, there exists an inordinately rich source of lexical items that to date has barely been exploited: this is the immense Old and Middle French material contained in medieval lexicological works, another extremely useful aid in explaining present-day lexicological problems such as etymologies, dialect forms, and doublets. Interest in medieval lexicological works is not new; on the contrary, it is evidenced very early in the history of GalloRomance lexicology. After World War II, however, it dissipated for nearly four decades except for the efforts of three persons or teams: Erhard Lommatzsch, who—although very sparingly—inserted some lexicographical material in Adolf Tobler's Wörterbuch; Walther von Wartburg, who integrated the findings of earlier generations in his monumental Französisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch;* and Kurt Baidinger and his team, who are currently researching these sources for their Dictionnaire étymologique de l'ancien français.5 Very recently, animated by the project of a Dictionnaire du moyen français in preparation by the Institut de Langue Française at Nancy, interest in these studies was renewed and has led to other publications.6 But at least the pioneering work with respect to Anglo-Norman and Middle English was already done in 1857, when Thomas Wright published A volume of vocabularies, illustrating the condition and manners of our 110 Hans-Erich Keller111 forefathers ... in a privately printed edition;7 this was followed in the 1860s by Auguste Scheler's study "Trois traités de lexicographie latine du XIIe et du XIIIe siècle"8 and Friedrich Diez's Altromanische Glossare of 1865.9 Interest in medieval lexicography found a resounding echo in 1870 in France, where Gaston Paris, a disciple of Diez who became that period's master of Romance philology, announced: J'ai obtenu du Ministère de l'Instruction publique [of the Second Empire] l'autorisation de publier dans la collection des Documents inédits un Corpus des anciens glossaires français manuscrits. Cette publication . . . apportera réellement à la langue française un gain considérable.10 The Franco-Prussian War effectively terminated this project. It was eventually revived by Mario Roques, a student of Gaston Paris, who following World War I began his ambitious Recueil général des lexiquesfrançais du moyen âge (XII'-XVe siècle), of which he published two volumes entitled Lexiques alphabétiques in 1936 and 1938;11 regrettably, this project was aborted by World War II. Before we discuss this publication, it must be stressed that the lexicographical sources of the Middle Ages fall roughly into four categories: 1)French glosses inserted in the text or added in marginal notes, intended, e.g., for the teaching of Latin. Such is the case with the treatises Ars dissertandi (1 132) by Adam of the Little Bridge and Dictionarius by John of Garland (ca. 1220), as well as with dictionaries such as William Brito's Summa de interpretationibus vocabulorum (ca. 1260) and certain copies of Evrard of Béthune's Graecismus and Alexander of Villa Dei's Doctrinale puerorum (both from the end of the twelfth century). 2)Next, there are glossaries that, primarily bilingual, sometimes assemble the glosses in alphabetical lists that are independent of the work in question. The Glosses ofReichenau 112 Neglected Old French Lexicographical Resources (from the end of the eighth century), intended for the explication of biblical passages, are a famous example of this type, although from a much earlier period;12 many more worthy of study exist up to the thirteenth century,13 also in connection with glossed texts. To date practically no work has been done in this...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 110-123
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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