BC -- Philology; Languages and Linguistics

Wieser-Enzyklopädie des europäischen Ostens [Wieser Encyclopedia of the European East]. Klagenfurt [et al.]: Wieser. 25 cm. EUR 1,700 (prepayment price, 20-vol. set), EUR 175 (vol. price), EUR 145 (vol. price, 10-vol. Lexicon Section), EUR 99 (vol. price, 20-vol. set) [03-1-109]

Lexikon-Abteilung [Lexicon Section] (vols. 1–10):
Vol. 10. Lexikon der Sprachen des europäischen Ostens [Lexicon of the Languages of the European East]. Ed. Miloš Okuka and Gerald Krenn. 2002. 1,031 p.ISBN 3-85129-510-2

Due to recent political developments on the European continent—the fall of Communism and the opening up of the socialist states to the West, as well as the expansion of NATO and the European Union—the area of eastern and southeastern Europe has begun to figure more prominently in the public consciousness of western Europeans. Thus, it is particularly painful that there is a lack of thorough and reliable information sources about this part of Europe. In order to help alleviate the problem, the Wieser publishing company of Austria plans to bring out a 20-volume encyclopedia covering the eastern part of Europe. The first volume published in the 10-volume initial section of the encyclopedia, dealing with the languages of the entire area, presents a comprehensive survey of the confusing multiplicity of languages that characterizes this part of Europe and makes access to relevant information difficult (see RREA 9:200 for additional information).

A total of 59 specialized linguists have contributed articles about 120 living and extinct languages. Not only are standard written languages covered, but also regional and minority languages, as well as many important dialects, arranged according to language families or branches. The main emphasis is on the Slavic languages, which represent the most speakers as well as the most idioms. An appendix contains explanations of abbreviations, bio-bibliographic notes on the contributors, six colorcoded language maps, and indexes for people, places, and languages.

In an attempt to achieve consistency among the articles, most include the following sections: (1) language and speakers; (2) a description of the state of the language; (3) grammatical structure and vocabulary; (4) writing and orthography; (5) a brief history of the language; and (6) current sociolinguistic issues. As is to be expected with such a large number of contributors, the quality of the articles varies to some extent, and consistency is not always achieved. A reservation must also be noted concerning the inclusion of German in the encyclopedia, as it is not immediately obvious why this might be appropriate. One would have expected more information on the numerous German “language islands” in eastern and southeastern Europe, instead of information about German in Switzerland and even in Namibia and Pennsylvania, locations that have nothing to do with the stated coverage of the work. Nonetheless, this encyclopedia has great merit. It represents an important contribution to the current body of reliable and competent information about the great variety of languages in the eastern part of Europe. [sh/nb]

Deutsche Sprachbücher in Böhmen und Mähren vom 15. Jahrhundert bis 1918: eine teilkommentierte Bibliographie [German Language Books in Bohemia and Moravia from the 15th Century to 1918: A Partially Annotated Bibliography]. Helmut Glück, Holger Klatte, Vladimír Spáčil, and Libuše Spáčilová. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2002. xxxii, 290 p. 24 cm. (Die Geschichte des Deutschen als Fremdsprache, 2). ISBN 3-11-017504-5: EUR 88 [03-1-110]

The authors define “language books” as “textbooks, guides to spoken German, glossaries, dictionaries, phrase-books, and lesson materials,” published or unpublished. Compiled by members of the Arbeitsstelle für die Geschichte des Deutschen als Fremdsprache [Institute for the History of German as a Foreign Language], which was established in 2000 at the University of Bamberg, this bibliography lists 499 consecutively numbered titles (132 dictionaries and 367 other works) in chronological sections: five manuscripts for the 14th and 15th centuries, 44 imprints up to 1620, 49 up to 1800, 234 for the 19th century, and 167 for 1900–1918. There are detailed citations for each first edition, with subsequent editions underneath, and changed titles have their own entries. Holding libraries, mostly in the Czech lands, are noted, as are the call numbers they were assigned. Annotations include dedications, target audience, contents, and bibliographic references in works such as the following: Biographisches und bibliographisches Lexikon der Fremdsprachenlehrer des deutschsprachigen Raumes, Spätmittelalter bis 1800 [Bio-bibliographical Dictionary of Foreign Language Teachers of the German-Speaking Regions, from the Late Middle Ages to 1800] (see RREA 7:77). [sh/jpn]

Bibliographie zur Mundartforschung in Baden-Württemberg, Voralberg und Liechtenstein: von den Anfängen bis zum Jahr 2000 [Bibliography on the Dialectology of Baden-Württemberg, Voralberg, and Liechtenstein: From the Beginnings to 2000]. Gerhard W. Baur, with Rudolf Post and Friedel Scheer-Nahor. 2d rev. and expanded ed. Tübingen: Niemeyer, 2002. 319 p. maps, 24 cm. (Idiomatica, 7). ISBN 3-484-24007-5: EUR 76 [03-1-111]

The first edition of this standard bibliography on scholarship pertaining to the Alemannic dialects of southwest Germany, western Austria, and Liechtenstein was published in 1978. (Switzerland is covered by Stefan Sonderegger’s Schweizerdeutsche Mundartforschung 1800–1959.) It includes 3,600 titles (compared to 2,384 in the earlier edition) divided into nine thematic groups, and its coverage extends beyond published works to typescripts and holograph manuscripts. There is an abundance of cross-references (1,742 in all); indeed in some sections there are more references than entries. Not every title in the bibliography was examined first-hand, which would be less of a problem had the editors indicated which entries those were. There are a number of indexes that are also very usefully keyed to accompanying maps. This work’s sole serious deficiency is the absence of annotations, so that users have to infer the subject and scope of a given entry from its title. [wh/sl]

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Last update: March 6, 2006 [BG]
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