Lexicographica: Series Maior

Supplementbände zum Internationalen Jahrbuch für Lexikographie

Band 4:
Dolezal, Fredric: Forgotten But Important Lexicographers: John Wilkins and William Lloyd. A Modern Approach to Lexicography before Johnson. VIII/123 S. - Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1985.
ISBN: 3-484-30904-0

Dieser Band ist im IDS verfügbar:

[Buch] IDS-Bibliothek: Sig. QB 952
Alternatives Medium:
E-Book (PDF). Berlin / New York: de Gruyter. ISBN: 978-3-11-134063-0

There is perhaps no major work in the history of linguistics and lexicography which has been at once so highly and so widely ignored or forgotten as John Wilkins' ›Essay towards a real character and a philosophical language‹ (1668). The lexicographical component of the Essay, the Alphabetical Dictionary (with William Lloyd as co-author), has received only passing mention.

In my research I have discovered that Wilkins and Lloyd are responsible for three innovations in the development of English lexicography:

  1. they introduced the broad range of the English vocabulary into the lexicon of the English monolingual dictionary;
  2. they were the first lexicographers to use a highly systematic and methodological construction of entries;
  3. their Alphabetical Dictionary was the first to have a self-defining lexicon (that is, words used for definitional purposes were also defined).

The present work hops to document and explain the principles which underlie the construction of lexicographic definitions; I will claim that they were guided by the same linguistic theories, albeit unstated, that inform our theories. I will also show where Wilkins stands in relation to his immediate successors and predecessors. I have included some comparisons with Johnson's dictionary. Even if wie ignore the question of influence, the comparisons should conceive the reader that in some significant aspects Wilkins' work is more compatible with modern lexicography then Johnson's contribution.


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Introduction S. 1
1.   An Overview and Select Analyses of the Essay S. 4
2.   Lexicographical Genealogy S. 22
3.   The Construction of Entries S. 58
4.   A Systematic Method of Definition: Comparisons with Johnson's Dictionary S. 94
Appendix I S. 112
Literature S. 121


  • Stanforth, Anthony W. (1989): Rezension von: Fredric Dolezal: Forgotten But Important Lexicographers: John Wilkins and William Lloyd. A Modern Approach to Lexicography before Johnson (Lexicographica. Series Maior. Bd. 4). In: Zeitschrift für Dialektologie und Linguistik 56.1. Stuttgart: Steiner. S. 122-123.