The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Who made the dictionary and all the words in it?  (Read 15007 times)

Offline Simulated

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 7188
  • Thanked: 1 times
  • Simulated..What more do you needa know :P
    • View Profile
    • Facebook
Who made the dictionary and all the words in it?
« on: 20/01/2008 01:06:27 »
Thought this would be intersting!


 

another_someone

  • Guest
Who made the dictionary and all the words in it?
« Reply #1 on: 20/01/2008 20:29:45 »
What do you mean by the question?

Are you asking who made the first dictionary?  I believe word lists have been around since the start of writing, where they would have been used either to teach children to read, or to help in translations.  They would not have been exhaustive, as writing material would have been expensive, so they would only be a sample collection of regularly used words.  In fact, before the advent of the printing press there was no standardisation in spelling.

Until the advent of the printing press, I would doubt anyone could have produced a mass produced and comprehensive dictionary until the advent of the printing press (which in Europe was in the 15th century).

Ofcourse, the interesting issue is that China already had printing presses for some centuries earlier, but they have a very different system of writing that does not have words in the sense we understand them in Europe, because they have an ideographic writing system rather than an alphabetic writing system.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dictionary#History
Quote
The first dictionary of the Chinese language, the Shuowen Jiezi, was written around 100 CE. According to the The Chronicles of Japan, Japanese dictionaries originated in 682 CE, although the first dictionary dealt with the deciphering of Chinese characters. The first dictionary ever written was done by the Babylonians in 6th Century B.C.[citation needed]

The earliest dictionaries were bilingual dictionaries. These were glossaries of French, Italian or Latin words, along with definitions of the foreign words in English. An early nonalphabetical list of 8000 English words was the Elementarie created by Richard Mulcaster in 1582.[2][3]

The first purely English alphabetical dictionary was A Table Alphabeticall, written by English schoolteacher Robert Cawdrey in 1604.

However, alphabetical ordering continued to be rare until the 18th century. Before alphabetical listings, dictionaries were organized by topic, i.e. a list of animals all together in one topic.

In literary and fanciful usage, multiple dictionaries are referred to as a 'flock of dictionaries'.

As to who makes the words that go in the dictionary, there is a significant difference between the way some languages do this and others.

In the English speaking world, we have a fairly democratic attitude to language, and generally the role of dictionaries is to document what people are actually using - so they have people who look through all the available media, and if they find a new word that many people are using, they will include it in their dictionary.

The French are generally more prescriptive in their language, and there is an organisation called L'Académie française that actually decides whether a word is a true French word, and should be included in the French dictionary, or not.  If they cannot find a French word for something, and people may be using a foreign imported word (e.g. an English word), then they may try and invent a French word to replace the English word.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acad%C3%A9mie_fran%C3%A7aise#Functions
Quote
As French culture has come under increasing pressure with the widespread availability of English media, the Académie has tried to prevent the anglicisation of the French language. For example, the Académie has recommended, with mixed success, that some loanwords from English (such as walkman and software) be avoided, in favour of words derived from French (baladeur and logiciel, respectively). Moreover, the Académie has worked to modernise French orthography. The body, however, has sometimes been criticised for behaving in an excessively conservative fashion. A recent controversy involved the officialisation of feminine equivalents for the names of several professions. For instance, in 1997, Lionel Jospin's government began using the feminine noun "la ministre" to refer to a female minister, following the official practice of Canada, Belgium and Switzerland and a common, though until then unofficial, practice in France. The Académie, however, insisted on the traditional use of the masculine noun, "le ministre," for a minister of either gender. Use of either form remains controversial.
 

Offline Simulated

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 7188
  • Thanked: 1 times
  • Simulated..What more do you needa know :P
    • View Profile
    • Facebook
Who made the dictionary and all the words in it?
« Reply #2 on: 20/01/2008 21:46:19 »
Thanks. I need to be more specific.

I meant the first time people came together to write a language down in a book, then the first time it was mass-produced so the common people could have it. Looks like you answered them all. THanks!
 

Offline Bored chemist

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8669
  • Thanked: 42 times
    • View Profile
Who made the dictionary and all the words in it?
« Reply #3 on: 21/01/2008 20:20:38 »
Probably as good an answer as any  (for the English langage) is this bloke.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Johnson
But I daresay there were others before it in Greek or Latin.
 

Offline Simulated

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 7188
  • Thanked: 1 times
  • Simulated..What more do you needa know :P
    • View Profile
    • Facebook
Who made the dictionary and all the words in it?
« Reply #4 on: 21/01/2008 23:08:47 »
Thank you
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Who made the dictionary and all the words in it?
« Reply #4 on: 21/01/2008 23:08:47 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums