CHWP B.7 Kibbee, "16th-Century Bilingual Dictionaries (French-English)"

1.4. The use of print technology

As the century wore on, as print technology developed and as print standards emerged, the lexicographers took more advantage of the options available to them.[5] From the simple alternation of size or boldface, they progress to more complicated combinations of these, plus the addition of Italic fonts. At the same time, the use of abbreviations in normal use declined (tilde over vowel to represent the combination of vowel + nasal consonant; y to represent the or that (Palsgrave, Du Wes)). Abbreviations to mark grammatical categories such as gender and conjugation remained. In the second half of the century Baret and Huloet-Higgins used special symbols, such as the asterisk, the paragraph bar, a pointing finger, and a barred C. Baret used the paragraph marker to denote the prime entry within a single word family, and the asterisk to mark secondary meanings or uses. He then used the pointing finger to highlight proverbial examples. Huloet-Higgins used the asterisk to mark obsolete words, and the barred C to indicate examples. As discussed earlier relating to other features, we need to tag those instances in which these symbols might have been used, but were not.

Another convention that simplified access was the addition of alphabet markers at the head of each column -- B ante A, B ante E, etc. Finally, some hidden ways in which print technology influenced lexicography were the ease with which one could steal the word-list (and thus expand upon it), and the expansion of the reading public, which gave the dictionary far more power as an instrument of authority and regularisation.

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[5] Rouse & Rouse (1982b) describe the importance of page lay-out in the elaboration of medieval commentaries, and serves as a good introduction to the understanding of what changes print technology brought to that aspect of Renaissance dictionaries.