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THE SOURCES AND METHODS OF JOHN MINSHEU'S A DICTIONARY OF SPANISH AND ENGLISH (1599) DANIEL W. NOLAND John Minsheu's 1599 A Dictionary of Spanish and English , a revised and augmented second edition of Richard Percivall's 1591 Biblioteca Hispánica, contains the first solely English/Spanish wordlist. An investigation of this work not only reveals some overlooked sources and techniques of compilation but also offers insights into the lexicographical methods used in the much larger and more important Ductor in Linguas that Minsheu published in 1617. Minsheu's technique in the Spanish/English section of his 1599 dictionary has been investigated several times to good effect (Steiner 39fF., Starnes 1010-15, Wiener 6-8). The general conclusion is that he copied Percivall's dictionary almost entirely, augmenting the Spanish list from Nebrissensis's 1506 Vocabularius, Cristobal de Las Casas's 1572 Vocabulario, and Florio's cognates in his 1598 Worlde of Wordes, and greatly expanding the English definitions and equivalents in this section from Florio, Rider, and Thomas. Indeed, this is essentially how Minsheu developed his Spanish list. Many Spanish entries are words lifted directly out of Florio into the Spanish fist (Steiner 39-40, Starnes 1012-14), sometimes without regard to whether there is a corresponding English entry in the English/Spanish half (e.g., baaras, inimicitia). At other times, Minsheu adds stars, his symbol for additions to Percivall 's edition, to words that are spelling variants of words already in Percivall (baca, babear, ripa), a practice that he was to continue on a larger scale in the Ductor. As both 41 42Daniel W. Noland Steiner and Starnes point out, Minsheu also added words from Thomas to the Spanish list when the Latin entry of Thomas was close to the Spanish or appealed to him for some other reason. There are examples, however, that do not fit any of the above patterns and help shed fight on the English/Spanish section, the germ out of which the Ductor was to grow. The starred word ensamblar 'to join' is to be found in Las Casas, with the Italian equivalent intavolare. In Florio's dictionary , intavolare yields the definition "to table, to board, to wainscot, to pale about with boards." Minsheu defines ensamblar as "to joine, as joiners use in their trades." This definition does not follow Florio as closely as Minsheu usually does, but it probably accounts for the Spanish entry and its definition and is similar to many other entries taken from Florio . Directly above this word is the derived entry ensamblador 'a joiner', which is in none ofthe source books, including Florio . In the English section, this Spanish word is one of the two equivalents given for joiner. The other, caxero, appears in Percivall's 1591 dictionary, copied dutifully by Minsheu, though Percivall has the definition "a pedlar." Here we have an instance of Minsheu adding a Spanish entry to Percivall's fist by taking a synonym for an English entry in the second section and carrying it back into the Spanish/English fist. It is possible that this is only an example of creating a new entry by adding a derivative, as Steiner shows Minsheu frequently does (42). Minsheu's A Dictionary of Spanish and English43 A perusal of the Spanish synonyms in the English section of Minsheu's book, however, reveals that there are numerous Spanish definitions for English words that are not to be found in Percivall at all, though they show up in Minsheu's Spanish word list (carlancas, cerviguillo, dormitar, narración, Maca de rueda, mordiscar). These examples all cropped up in an examination of only two dozen entries of the 1599 English list under N. If extrapolating from these examples does not lead too far astray, it is safe to say that one way in which Minsheu has significantly augmented the Spanish word list is by drawing on the Spanish he provided in his own English/Spanish section. In fact, Steiner mentions just this possibility in passing (49). In this small sampling from N there are also some English words that Minsheu could not have gotten from Percivall (narration, nave, nibble, nep). This last word is interesting in that the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 41-52
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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