- Oct 2023
Murray edited the OED from his grandly named ‘Scriptorium’, which was in fact a large corrugated iron shed, built first in the grounds of Mill Hill School, where he taught, and then in his garden at 78 Banbury Road.
Hay, Daisy. Review of Rare, Obsolete, New, Peculiar, by Sarah Ogilvie. London Review of Books, October 19, 2023. https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v45/n20/daisy-hay/rare-obsolete-new-peculiar.
The numbers are giddying – millions of slips in the Scriptorium, thousands of contributors,
are there specific numbers?
Dixon’s standards were variable: he was happy for Murray to include ‘cunt’ but drew the line at ‘cundum ... a contrivance used by fornicators, to save themselves from a well-deserved clap; also by others who wish to enjoy copulation without the possibility of impregnation’.
To the outside world Mary Pringle was the model of a Victorian wife and mother, but every morning, after she had waved her husband off to work at the War Office, she went into her garden to measure the night’s rainfall via an eclectic range of homemade gauges. She then returned indoors to collect quotations for the dictionary from 17th-century biblical commentaries. (She appears in a chapter called ‘R for Rain Collectors’.) Her enthusiasms, recorded in Murray’s address book, provide a glimpse of the way clever Victorian women, barred from the worlds of education and work, sought alternative expressions of endeavour and community in work for the OED. Pringle’s story also reveals, in the sudden silence of its ending, other forms of female experience. In 1884 her son died, and overnight she stopped collecting both rain and words, fading back into history.
loss of the quotidien as the result of grief
The famous OED slips – 4 x 6 inch pieces of paper, some pre-filled with title and publication details – were to be completed by readers, whose task was to write down instances and examples of words in need of definition.
Gilliver suggests that the dictionary with the strongest claim to have influenced the OED is not Johnson’s but the fourth edition of Franz Passow’s Handwörterbuch der griechischen Sprache, published in 1831.
Presumably compiled by zettelkasten as well?
- open questions
- Mary Pringle
- Oxford English Dictionary
- Oxford English Dictionary zettelkasten
- James Dixon
- Handwörterbuch der griechischen Sprache
- want to visit
- culture wars
- 4 x 6" index cards
- zettelkasten for lexicography
- James Murray
- Franz Passow
- United Kingdom
- Oxford UK
- Sarah Ogilvie
- Mar 2023
Auch das grammatische Verhalten eines Wortes nach Flexion und Rektion ist der Sammlung vollständig zu entnehmen. Und schließlich und vor allen Dingen lag hier der Schlüssel zur Bestimmung der Wortbedeutungen. Statt jeweils ad hoc durch Konjekturen einzelne Textstellen spekulativ zu deuten (das Raten, von dem Erman endlich wegkommen wollte), erlaubte es der Vergleich der verschiedenen Zusammenhänge, in denen ein Wort vorkam, seine Bedeutung durch systematische Eingrenzug zu fixieren oder doch wenigstens anzunähern. Auch in dieser Hinsicht hat sich das Zettelarchiv im Sinne seines Erstellungszwecks hervorragend bewährt.
The benefit of creating such a massive key word in context index for the Wörterbuch der ägyptischen Sprache meant that instead of using an ad hoc translation method (guessing based on limited non-cultural context) for a language, which was passingly familiar, but not their mother tongue, Adolph Erman and others could consult a multitude of contexts for individual words and their various forms to provide more global context for better translations.
Other dictionaries like the Oxford English Dictionary attempt to help do this as well as provide the semantic shift of words over time because the examples used in creating the dictionary include historical examples from various contexts.
- key word in context
- lost in translation
- Oxford English Dictionary
- Adolph Erman
- Wörterbuch der ägyptischen Sprache
- semantic shift
- semantic delimitation
- contextual translation
- contextual extrapolation
Blair, Ann M. “The Rise of Note-Taking in Early Modern Europe.” Intellectual History Review 20, no. 3 (August 4, 2010): 303–16. https://doi.org/10.1080/17496977.2010.492611.
Annotation target: urn:x-pdf:202007e9836543a7b69e7045c81f5965
I recall that the Oxford English Dictionary was also compiled using a slip box method of sorts, and more interestingly it was a group effort.
Similarly Wordnik is using Hypothes.is to recreate these sorts of patterns for collecting words in context on digital cards.
Many encyclopedias followed this pattern as did Adler's Syntopicon.
When I looked it up in the OED (the Oxford English Dictionary), I discovered to my surprise that it wasn't even in the main volumes but had been added in the Supplement, because the first known written reference in English ("non-fictional wares") occurred in a library journal in 1903. That is to say, "nonfiction" was evidently a term coined by a librarian trying to decide how to label all the works of narrative prose in her collection that weren't fiction, and rather than call them, say, "fact," had thoughtlessly exiled them into the Slough of Non.
According to the Oxford English dictionary, 'non-fiction' was coined in 1903 in a library journal by a librarian attempting to define the opposite of fiction.
- Nov 2022