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

1.5.7. Encyclopedic Information

The final element I shall discuss is the nature of the encyclopedic information included in these dictionaries. Encyclopedic information can be proper names or references to specific events, or it can be explanations of the use of the object denoted by a word.

This use of proper names can be culled largely from the index of words. More problematic is the thematic linking of entries. I provide here a small sample of the words that might be linked by common reference to the law:

The range of topics here is limitless, but just as an example, such webs of linked words, on topics such as religion (we see the Protestant attitude towards the Catholic Church in Hollyband's explication of the pun in Rabelais), sexuality, etc. are sure to add to our understanding both of the intentions of our lexicographers, and of the major themes of 16th-century intellectual life. As a starting point for the semantic classification of the vocabulary included we might use something like Matoré (1988) as well as the list of subject areas covered that the lexicographers themselves have provided either on the title page or in the preface. The ability to analyze these dictionaries as full texts provides a test for Matoré's approach and conclusions.

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