First published in Web Journal of Modern Language Linguistics. © 2000 Jonathan West.
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Professor Jones stresses the provisional character of his work - "a bibliographer can hope, at best, to create an instrument that assists more often than it misleads" (p. ix). He has certainly achieved this aim, and amply demonstrates the extent and quality of German lexicography during the seventeenth century, and its influence outside Germany, especially in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. More than that, this bibliography represents a major step forward in our knowledge, when we consider that previous bibliographies have only listed a fraction of the dictionaries and word lists described here: for example, Zaunmüller (1958) lists some 50 items from 1600-1700, and Kühn (1978) only about 30, even though it must be admitted that their focus is slightly different.
Readers are certain to be surprised by the wealth of new information in these pages, and - once they have digested it - they are sure to gain significant new insights into the period and its lexicographical production. Professor Jones himself was struck by several points (p. xiv). The first is the large number of unfamiliar lexicographers. I must confess to being unacquanted with a great many, including Sethus Calvisius (Kallwitz) (1556-1615), responsible for numbers 271 to 287, and clearly a lexicographer of some note. The early editions of Weismann (nos. 1107-1110) were also a revelation. I could go on, but quaerendo invenietis! The second is the prolific output of Nathaniel Duez (1609?-1670?) - numbers 523 to 574 - whose influence on the development of German therefore deserves investigation, especially as many people will have learned French using his reference works. He also notes some neglected works by Matthias Kramer and Kaspar Stieler, as well as some little-known High German and Low German editions of Nathan Chytraeus. The variety of specialist German word lists is surely suggestive of a language in an intensive planning phase, and has striking similarities with the Welsh situation (see West 1984). The near omnipresence of Latin is less of a surprise, as it is still very much in evidence in the middle of the eighteenth century (von Polenz 1994:50ff.), although this is not meant to belittle the contribution which Professor Jones' data provides. The early inception of strong eighteenth-century traditions and the role of Jesuit lexicographers are also topics which would be well worth pursuing. The last point reminds me of an anecdote which will give potential readers some idea of the thorough research which has gone into this book. Last summer, I visited the library of the Jesuit school in Bad Münstereifel, which has a small but interesting library containing some dictionaries. Not imagining that he would have bothered with such a marginal library, I wrote to Professor Jones, only to discover that he had been there before me. The notes are also a treasure trove. For example, we are told that on the title page of the Berlin copy of Dasypodius (no. 463), "individual letters have been crossed through by hand with double oblique strokes to spell the name IACOB Grimm". The volume does indeed come from the Grimms' library.
The list of libraries Professor Jones has either visited or consulted is impressive indeed (xxiii - xxxviii), as is the number of printed sources he has consulted (xxxix - lx). The bibliography itself (pp. 1-720) is supplemented by and index of languages (special varieties of German and other languages) (pp. 721-725), an index of classified dictionaries (pp. 726-728), an index of publishers and printers (pp. 729-739), and an index of titles (pp. 740-754). His aim was to either to see at least one original or partial photograpic copy of each edition, and each of these categories are marked with a star or a bullet respectively. It has also become apparent how rare 17th-century books can be when compared to their 16th-century antecedents. This is the case with Dasypodius, for example, for whom one simply needs to compare Claes's 16th-century entries with Jones' 17th-century ones to verify the point. Maybe the reason is that 17th-century books were not felt to be worth collecting, or that more remain in private hands. So I end this review with an appeal: if you have a 17th-century dictionary containing German in your library, especially if it does not feature in this excellent bibliography, please let us know!
Kühn, Peter, 1978. Deutsche Wörterbücher. Eine systematische Bibliographie. Tübingen: Niemeyer. (Reihe Germanistische Linguistik, 15)
von Polenz, Peter, 1994. Deutsche Sprachgeschichte von Spätmittelalter bis zur Gegenwart. Band II. 17. und 18. Jahrhundert. Berlin, New York: de Gruyter.
West, Jonathan, 1984. An Historical Survey of the Language Planning Movement in Wales. In: Language Reform: History and Future, edited by István Fodor and Claude Hagège, Vol. 3. Hamburg: Buske. 383-398.
Zaunmüller, Wolfram, 1958. Bibliographisches Handbuch der Sprachwörterbücher. Ein internationales Verzeichnis von 5600 Wörterbüchern der Jahre 1460-1958 für mehr als 500 Sprachen und Dialekte. Stuttgart: Hiersemann.