BC -- Philology

Metzler-Lexikon Sprache [Metzler Encyclopedia of Language]. Ed. Helmut Glück. 2d rev. and enl. ed. Stuttgart; Weimar: Metzler, 2000. xxviii, 817 p. 24 cm. ISBN 3-476-01519-X: DM 59.80 [00-1/4-148]

Metzler-Lexikon Sprache [Metzler Encyclopedia of Language]. Ed. Helmut Glück. Berlin: Directmedia, 2000. 1 CD-ROM. ISBN 3-932544-47-1: DM 49.90 [00-1/4-149]

Sachwörterbuch zur Sprachwissenschaft [Dictionary of Linguistics]. Dietrich Homberger. Stuttgart: Reclam, 2000. 666 p. ill. 16 cm. ISBN 3-15-010471-8: DM 36.80 [00-1/4-150]

These reference works on linguistics differ in appearance and depth of coverage: The Metzler encyclopedia is larger in format, uses smaller type, and contains 6,000 entries and 4,000 cross-references. The CD-ROM version of the encyclopedia is identical to the print version. The Reclam dictionary, on the other hand, is smaller, uses larger type, and provides fewer than 2,000 entries. The dictionary is Reclam's version of a work formerly published by Diesterweg.

The number of authors--more than 80--in the Metzler encyclopedia leads to variations not only in the quality of the articles, but in terminology, the determination of word roots, and the method of cross-referencing. Articles are retained without change from the first edition, including some with factual errors; the number of entries has increased, but not their quality. The criteria for the selection of entries, and even their language, are inconsistent. For breadth of coverage this is undoubtedly a great work, and a valuable alternative to the somewhat similar Lexikon der Sprachwissenschaft by Hadumod Bußmann (1990). For readers of German it is a fundamental reference work. But if you have the first edition, then purchasing the new edition may be inadvisable in view of the minimal updating and improvements.

The CD-ROM version of the Metzler encyclopedia is identical in content to the print edition and DM 9.90 cheaper. The problems with cross-referencing are even more noticeable here. This CD-ROM appears as part of the series Digitale Bibliothek, which consists primarily of literary works. The use of the identical search software for a reference work as is used in the rest of the series is debatable, although the "professional search" option (with wild cards and Boolean operators) proves effective. Illustrative material appears in a window without legend or copyright information, which both reduces its usefulness and likely disturbs the copyright holders as well. The CD-ROM is preferable to the print version, especially for scholarly users. Please note that the CD-ROM does not function with Windows 2000, although this is not mentioned in the packaging.

The Reclam dictionary with its single author avoids the inconsistency of approach and cross-referencing of the encyclopedia, but also lacks its breadth. The somewhat old-fashioned adherence to valence grammar reduces the work's usefulness for students. The criteria for selection are satisfactory, and the entries provide good examples. The scholarly bibliographical references are very limited. It is a good dictionary for lower level students, but less useful for specialists. [suh/jpn]

A Bibliography of the English Language from the Invention of Printing to the Year 1800: A Systematic Record of Writings on English, and on Other Languages in English, Based on the Collections of the Principal Libraries of the World. Comp. R. C. Alston. Otley: Smith. 28 cm. (R. C. Alston, Dove Cottage, Brockford, Suffolk IP14 5PE, fax [44 1449] 765 913) [00-1/4-151]

Vol. 13. The Germanic Languages. 1999. xx, 208 p. ill. £75.00

This large-scale bibliography on early imprints on the English language--and other languages--has been in the works since 1966, but "resting" since volume 12 came out in 1987. R. C. Alston, who was instrumental in establishing the English Short-Title Catalogue (ESTC) project, has now retired, and progress is being made once again, resulting in the publication of volume 13 in 1999.

The Germanic Languages volume lists 121 imprints in the following sections: (1) Grammars of German and miscellaneous; (2) Dutch; (3) Danish; and (4) Swedish. Sections 1 and 2 are further subdivided in two categories. Entries are short-title but do list the exact collation; some are annotated to describe contents. Holding library symbols are attached to all entries. Over half the volume is taken up with 125 reproductions of title pages and sample pages. Indexes include authors and other persons, and titles of anonymous works. Alston hopes (and we join him) to finish the project by his 70th birthday in 2003. [sh/hh]

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