William Somner’s Dictionarium Saxonico-Latino-Anglicum: method, function and legacy

Fletcher, Rachel Ann (2017) William Somner’s Dictionarium Saxonico-Latino-Anglicum: method, function and legacy. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b3315935


William Somner’s Dictionarium Saxonico-Latino-Anglicum was the first published dictionary of Old English, appearing in 1659. This thesis investigates the Dictionarium both as a work in itself and as an important representative of early Old English scholarship. Particular attention is paid to how the content and design of the Dictionarium provide information about the methods used in its compilation, and to how these methods reflect the interests and priorities of Somner and his contemporaries in the study of Old English. However, the Dictionarium was not alone in being shaped by such interests and priorities; in its role as a work of reference, it was also in a position to transmit them to its users through the picture of Old English it presented to them. Accordingly, the thesis considers throughout what impression of Old English the content and design of the Dictionarium might have created for its audience, and how its content and function were influenced by Somner’s understanding and intentions regarding who would use his dictionary and for what purpose. All these factors are considered primarily through their influence on the published Dictionarium, but the thesis also deals briefly with the influence of the Dictionarium after its publication.
The methodologies selected to address these questions are varied, aiming to cover as many aspects of the Dictionarium as possible in order to better understand it as a whole. For instance, the use in Chapter 1 of a large sample of entries allows the identification of broad themes in Somner’s lexicography, but subsequent chapters use smaller, more targeted samples and individual entries to highlight features of particular interest and reconstruct the unique process of research that went into Somner’s writing of each definition. Findings from these studies are contextualised by chapters dealing with the Dictionarium’s relationship to other studies of Old English and with the significance of the non-lexical material included in its front and back matter. Thus, this thesis combines various strands of investigation in order to build a picture of how the Dictionarium was shaped by, and was in turn able to shape, the development of Old English scholarship, in which it is a significant milestone.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Old English, dictionaries, lexicography, William Somner, history of scholarship.
Subjects: A General Works > AZ History of Scholarship The Humanities
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PE English
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Supervisor's Name: Lowe, Dr. Kathryn and Smith, Professor Jeremy
Date of Award: 2017
Depositing User: Ms Rachel Fletcher
Unique ID: glathesis:2017-30606
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2018 13:01
Last Modified: 14 May 2019 13:13
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/30606

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