April 23, 2014

Some Things Take Time: After 100 Years Final Part of Latin Dictionary is Finished

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From the British Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences:

On 11 December 2013 the British Academy publishes the final part of its monumental Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources. The Dictionary, with more than 58,000 entries in nearly 4000 pages, is the most comprehensive study ever produced of the vocabulary of Latin in the medieval period in Britain.

Begun in 1913, the finished dictionary is the culmination of a century-long enterprise which has had over 200 researchers working on it over the decades.

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Originally based in the Public Record Office in its days in Chancery Lane, the project is now managed within the Classics Faculty of the University of Oxford and consists of the Editor together with five assistant editors, two consultant editors and a database developer.

Professor Tobias Reinhardt, Corpus Christi Professor of Latin in the University of Oxford and chairman of the British Academy’s Medieval Latin Dictionary Committee, said: “The completion of theDictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources is a symbol of the resilience of the Humanities in Britain. The importance and usefulness of dictionaries are often forgotten by the public, in the same way as people forget the word-processing software they use day-to-day. Dictionaries enable us to track and understand the development of language and are useful not just today, but for future generations as well.”

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Key statistics about the Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources include:

  • 58,000 word entries containing over 90,000 senses and just over 436,000 quotations
  • Quotations are drawn from more than 1,400 works by over 500 authors whose names are known, together with thousands of documents written by authors whose names are not recorded
  • more than 30,000 cross-references
  • 3830 pages across 17 parts
  • 3 Editors have led the project over 46 years of drafting (1967–2013)

Read the Complete Announcement, Learn More About the History of the Project

See Also: “Preparing the Dictionary”

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Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.