BC Philology; Languages and Linguistics

Bibliographie thématique et chronologique de métalexicographie 1950-2006 [Thematic and Chronological Bibliography of Metalexicography, 1950-2006]. Ed. Celeste Boccuzzi. Fasano: Schena, 2007. 410 p. 21 cm. (Biblioteca della ricerca,14; Bibliographica,10). ISBN 978-88-8229-680-3: EUR 36 [08-1/2-128]

This French bibliography of works about dictionaries offers a valuable contribution to the field of metalexicography, but it cannot compete with Herbert Ernst Wiegand’s encyclopedic four-volume work in German, Internationale Bibliographie zur germanistischen Lexikographie und Wörterbuchforschung: mit Berücksichtigung anglistischer, nordistischer, romanistischer, slavistischer und weiterer metalexikographischer Forschungen (see RREA 13:86). Although the preface of this work refers to the German yearbook Lexicographica and includes references to German metalexicographical research, including the contributions of Wiegand, the four editors of the bibliography were apparently not familiar with his bibliography, presumably because its first volume came out only in 2006. The French Bibliographie indexes 4,500 monographs and essays from the years 1950 to 2006, but listings for 2006 are sparse. The six chapters are loosely arranged by topic, with 35 bibliographies about metalexicography listed in the final chapter. Wiegand’s work on this topic is far more comprehensive, but the Bibliographie de métalexicographie supplements it with its emphasis on French lexicography. [sh/akb]

Le dictionnaire du français oublié: les mots, expressions et proverbes d’autrefois [Dictionary of Forgotten French: Words, Expressions, and Proverbs from the Past]. Ed. Claude Blum. Paris: Garnier, 2008. 380 p. 27 cm. (Les thématiques Littré). ISBN 9782351840139: EUR 25

An RREA Original Review by Sarah G. Wenzel (University of Chicago)

The editors base this work on 25 dictionaries, together covering the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The dictionaries from which the terms were chosen include both descriptive dictionaries and others that also tried to revive “forgotten” terms. There is no indication of the rationale for choosing the sources.

The book is divided into three parts, plus a bibliography (although without a table of contents, one discovers this arrangement by chance): “Les mots oubliés” [Forgotten Words], “Les expressions oubliées” [Forgotten Expressions], and “Les proverbes oubliés” [Forgotten Proverbs]. Each headword is followed by the grammatical function of the word; all entries demonstrate changes in meaning over time and contain editorial commentary when appropriate. While the changes over time are listed in chronological order, the date is not given. Unless one is familiar enough with the corpus of dictionaries consulted to recognize them by author and be cognizant of their dates, one must repeatedly turn to the bibliography at the rear of the volume.

This book could be useful for libraries that do not hold the classic volumes from which the words or phrases were drawn, although if a vocabulary question arises, presumably it is not difficult to identify the date at which the source was written and consult the appropriate dictionary—many of which are now freely available online through Gallica (http://gallica.bnf.fr/), the ATILF (http://atilf.atilf.fr/), or the ARTFL project (http://artfl-project.uchicago.edu/). There are more comprehensive etymological sources, as well.

From these sources, the Dictionnaire du français oublié concentrates in one location an extensive collection of proverbs, sourced when possible, more than the Locutions et proverbes d’autrefois [Locutions and Proverbs from the Past] of René Lagane (Paris, 1983). If a library holds even more comprehensive sources, such as Proverbes et expressions proverbiales dans la littérature narrative du Moyen Age français [Proverbs and Proverbial Expressions in the Narrative Literature of the French Middle Ages] by Elisabeth Schulze-Busacker (Paris, 1985), the Dictionnaire du français oublié provides little added value in terms of quantity. However, in the latter work, the explanatory remarks of the editors and the ability to trace proverb use over time are helpful.

Diccionario fraseológico del Siglo de Oro: fraseología o estilística castellana [Phraseological Dictionary of the Golden Age: Spanish Phraseology and Stylistics]. Julio Cejador y Frauca. Ed. Abraham Madroñal and Delfín Carbonell. Barcelona: Ediciones del Serbal, 2008. lx, 715 p. 25 cm. ISBN 978-84-7628-520-6: EUR 85

An RREA Original Review by David D. Oberhelman (Oklahoma State University)

Although held by only 50-odd libraries worldwide, Julio Cejador y Frauca’s four-volume Fraseología o estilística castellana (Madrid, 1921-1925) has long been the standard phraseological dictionary of the literature of the Golden Age, the period of great literary and artistic production in Spain dating from the reconquest of the Iberian peninsula in 1492 through the death of dramatist Pedro Calderón de la Barca in 1681. An expert in medieval and early modern linguistics, Cejador compiled a vast lexicon of phrases, idioms, and locutions appearing in the literature of the era, alphabetically arranged by lemmas, or headwords, and illustrated by quotations from over 1,500 works. Abraham Madroñal and Delfín Carbonell have reissued the dictionary in a one-volume edition published by Serbal that will make it more available to Golden Age scholars. They note that they have deviated little from Cejador’s original text, and they have included the 30-page bibliography of literary sources from the first edition. This new edition also includes an introductory overview of the life and scholarship of Cejador combined with a biography of works by and about him to establish his place in Spanish historical linguistics and the study of stylistics.

Each entry is arranged by a headword followed by phrases and explanations of their historical usage. Literary quotations from noted works such as Lazarillo de Tormes, El Quijote, Golden Age comedias, verse by poets such as Santa Teresa, and lesser-known examples provide vivid illustrations of how the expressions were used in the speech and writing of the 16th and 17th centuries. The editors employ brackets and arrows as crossreferences to direct readers from antiquated forms of words to more modern or familiar spellings (e.g., atillo [bundle] contains a cross-reference to the more contemporary hatillo). Cross-references also direct researchers to related phrases entered under different headwords (e.g., the entry for filo [file] contains the phrase dar un filo a la lengua [to file the tongue or, figuratively, to speak ill of someone] and points the reader to a related entry under the headword lengua). They have also corrected errors and standardized the alphabetization according to the rules of the Real Academia Española [Royal Spanish Academy], making the book easier for modern readers to consult.

By making Cejador’s monumental compendium available in a single, reasonably priced edition, Madroñal and Carbonell have greatly aided researchers and students of the Siglo de Oro. This new edition of the phraseological dictionary will be an invaluable addition to the reference shelves of libraries with large Spanish peninsular literary collections.

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Last update: April 2011 [LC]
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