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Dictionary Abridgment in the 17th and 18th Centuries: the Case of French-English / English-French Dictionaries

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According to the bibliographical records compiled by R. C. Alston (1985), three abridged French-English / English-French dictionaries were published in the 17th and 18th centuries, all in London. The first in the series, also the first of its kind, was compiled by Guy Miège and printed in 1684. Entitled A Short Dictionary English and French, with another French and English, it is an abridged version of Miège's first lexicographical work, A New Dictionary French and English, with another English and French, published in 1677. The second is Abel Boyer's Royal Dictionary Abridged of 1700, a shortened version of his famous Royal Dictionary In Two Parts, the first edition of which was published in 1699. The third and last work of the series is Chambaud's Dictionary, French and English, prepared by John Perrin and published in 1787, an abridged version of the Nouveau Dictionnaire François-Anglois et Anglois-François by Louis Chambaud, the last edition of which appeared in 1778.

Despite their popularity and the fact that, as the very first abridged dictionaries in the French-English / English-French tradition, they were lexicographical innovations, these dictionaries have never been systematically studied. Hence we know little about their content and structure, and a number of questions remain unanswered about the method used by their compilers. What were the abridgement processes applied? Were both the word list and the microstructure affected by these processes? Are there any visible trends in dictionary abridgment that can be traced by studying these works by Miège, Boyer and Perrin? These are the main questions that will be touched upon in this paper.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-06-01

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