Published online by Cambridge University Press: 18 September 2020
In early modern Europe, international communication in Latin was increasingly counterbalanced by the growth of language contact and exchange among Europeans who favoured the vernacular languages over the classical ones. Not surprisingly, this resulted in the production of dictionaries, initially bilingual and polyglot, and later monolingual, of a large number of languages. Given this context, this chapter studies how the English language and English lexicography were slowly involved in the development of the European tradition of dictionary-making. A number of polyglot, bilingual, and trilingual dictionaries are surveyed in order to show their reciprocal influences and the Continental impact on English dictionaries: in fact, polyglot dictionaries grew out of bilingual ones, bilingual dictionaries were made into trilingual ones, the wordlists of monolingual dictionaries were sometimes taken from bilingual ones, etc. It will also be shown how a few monolingual English dictionaries were related, directly or otherwise, to Continental sources. The chapter will finally focus on Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary in order to highlight how it was influenced by Continental models and how, in turn, it exerted its influence on European lexicography.
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