CHWP B.11 Siemens, "Lexicographical Method in Cawdrey"

2. Cawdrey's Sources and their Incorporation

Jürgen Schäfer's computer-assisted study of Elizabethan lexicography worked towards revealing, among other things, that the early hard-word dictionary makers were "not fraudulent compilers but true pioneers in the field, worthy ancestors of Samuel Johnson and the OED editors" and that the roots of the Jacobean monolingual dictionary lay not solely in the Renaissance Latin-English dictionary, but in a process by which the "humble monolingual glossaries attached to many works of the 16th century [...] are finally emancipated into separate publications" (Schäfer 1980: 37). Cawdrey's work reflects the influence of both the Latin-English dictionaries and the monolingual glosses, and the sources for his 1604 edition alone were both many and diverse. For material he looked to several Latin-English dictionaries,[1] a number of didactic texts,[2] and numerous glosses.[3] As well, he employed Thomas Wilson's Arte of Rhetoricke (1533) to the extent that Cawdrey's introductory discussion of what constitutes "the plainest & best kinde of speech" (1604: A3v) is extracted almost directly from it.[4] Later editions of Cawdrey's Table, furthermore, looked to these works and beyond for additional material.

Not surprisingly, then, much of Cawdrey's material and many of his techniques are seen in his sources, as exemplification with familiar entries will make clear.[5] Cawdrey does rely heavily on the Latin-English dictionaries and Coote's English Schoole-Maister (1596) for his material -- Starnes and Noyes calculate that all but 17%-18% of all Cawdrey's hard words were taken from Coote or Thomas (18) -- and, to some degree, his method. From a brief look at the headword aggravate / aggravo in Thomas, Coote, and Cawdrey, as shown below, the similarities within each method of definition are evident.

    Thomas' Dictionarium
    Aggravo, [...] To make heavie: also to aggravate, to make more grievous; to loade or lade.

    Aggravate, to make more grievous and more heavie.

    Coote's English Schoole-Maister
    Aggravate make grievous.

Though Cawdrey's aggravate shows a heavier reliance on Thomas than Coote, for the definition captures descriptive elements from Thomas which are not in Coote, Cawdrey did borrow heavily from Coote, at times copying his entries verbatim, as in the word abecedarie, below, and at times adding to the definition of a word for clarification, as in the word abbut.

    Abbut, to lie vnto.
    Abecedarie, the order of the letters, or he that vseth them.

    Abbut, to lie vnto, or border vpon, as one lands end meets with another.
    Abecedarie, the order of the Letters, or hee that vseth them.

In addition to being a foundation for the discussion of Cawdrey's indebtedness, these entries also demonstrate two trends in Cawdrey's adoption of the material of other works: contraction and expansion. In borrowings from more descriptive works, such as those by Rastell, Fulke, and Golding, Cawdrey must focus the definition. As seen below, he condenses Rastell's acceptance and, in defining the word comet, he adopts Fulke's synonymic phrase only. From Golding, Cawdrey borrows wholly in the case of incest, possibly because of the nature of the word, but he condenses his definition for the word institute.

    Rastell's Exposition
    Acceptance, is taking in good part, and as it were an agreeing unto some act done before [...]
    acceptance, an agreeing to some former act done before.
    Fulke's Gallery
    Of Comets or blasing Starres
    A comete is an Exhalation, whote and drye, of great quantitie, fat and clammye [...]
    comet, A blasing starre
    Golding's Exposition
    Incest, unlawfull copulation of man and woman within the degrees of kindred or alyance forbidden by Gods law, whither it bee in mariage, or otherwyse.
    Institute, too beegin, too go in hande with a thing, too ordeyn, too purpose, too appoynt, too make, too founde, too stablish, too decree, to set up a new, too bryng in a new.
    incest, unlawfull copulation of man and woman within the degrees of kindred, or alliance, forbidden by gods law, whether it be in marriage or otherwise.
    institute, appoint, ordaine, begin or go in hand with.

In many cases, as well, Cawdrey added to the material of the definition. From A. M.'s medical gloss, Cawdrey preserved the more specialized meanings of the words, but expanded their definition by adding to them a more general paraphrase.

    A.M.'s Gloss
    combine, reade heale
    distended, read out of ioynte
    inoculated, read vnholed
    combine, heale, or couple together.
    distended, stretched out, or out of ioynt.
    inoculated, grafted, or vnholed.

Cawdrey's adherence to a technique which sees his borrowings from diverse sources somewhat regularized in the Table is also of importance, in addition to the source alteration in which this pattern of expansion and contraction is largely seen. Most borrowings are placed by Cawdrey within standard definitive structures which vary according to the type of word being defined. From Golding's definition of institute, above, Cawdrey gathers the synonymic infinitive verbs which Golding uses, but dispenses with their marker, the word too. As well, in Cawdrey's adoption of A. M.'s words, he removes part of A. M.'s lexical metalanguage, the imperative read. At times, but not wherever it might be considered necessary, he reduces headwords from his English sources to their lemma form; such is the case in his adoption of Martin's headword adulterating, an adjective or present participle of a lexical verb, which Cawdrey represents in its verbal infinitive form as well as the two synonyms which comprise its definition.

    Martin's Explication
    Adulterating, corrupting.
    adulterate, to counterfeit, or corrupt.

In borrowing from Bright, as below, Cawdrey does not reduce the headword to its lemma form, which would be the nominative singular, but instead normalizes gestes by its definition; Bright's definition, Doe, suggests that it could be a verb, but Cawdrey's normalization and elaboration make it clear that gests is a noun.

    Bright's Characterie
    Gestes, Doe
    gests, things done, or noble acts of princes.

Cawdrey's technique, thus, was one of compilation involving expansion and contraction in definitions, regularization (to some degree) of headwords and words in the definitions, and standardization of definition form. His sources are clearly reflected in his work but, for the most part, Cawdrey has put his imprint upon them,[6] and the fact that one can see Cawdrey working towards set structures suggests that, concurrent with the necessity of expanding and contracting borrowed words, he was concerned with some degree of standardization in his entries.

Though "Cawdrey's concept of a dictionary differs from that of his immediate successors" (Noyes 1943: 600-1), his use of external material shows that his work falls in line from his sources and exemplifies Schäfer's comment on the development of the monolingual dictionary in English, that its origin "is best understood as a gradual process and not as a sudden inspiration of Cawdrey's in 1604 resulting in the Table Alphabeticall"; however, we must concede that the concept of Cawdrey's work "differs fundamentally both from the spelling list and the bilingual dictionary" (Schäfer 1989: 8-9). There is a significant element of originality in Cawdrey's work as well in both content and method[7] and, because of this, the Table represents more than the sum of its parts; but what is at the core of that representation? If there is an element which makes the Table strictly Cawdrey's own, aside from the entries he originated, it is found in the structures into which he shaped his source materials as well as his own additions. A stylistic analysis, then, is the starting-point for such an investigation.

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[1] These include Thomas Cooper's Thesaurus Linguae Romanae et Britannicae (first edition, 1565) and Thomas Thomas's Dictionarium Linguae Latinae et Anglicanae (first edition, 1587). See Starnes (1937: 22-3); Schäfer acknowledges the influence of these sources but refutes previously held assumptions about their importance (1989: 2).

[2] These include Richard Mulcaster's Elementarie (1582), Edmund Coote's English Schoole-Maister (1596), Peter Bale's The Writing Schoolmaster (1590), Timothy Bright's Characterie (1588), and William Fulke's Goodly Gallery ... of Meteors (1571).

[3] These include Arthur Golding's An exposition of certein woords, which was attached to Neil Hemmingsen's A Postill, or Exposition of the Gospels (1569), John Rastell's legal work, An Exposition of Certaine Difficult and Obscure Wordes ... of the Lawes of this Realme (1598), A. M.'s glossary to his translation of Gaebelkhover's Artzneybuch (1599), Gregory Martin's Explication of Certaine Wordes in William Fulke's reprinting of the Rheims' New Testament (1600), and Thomas Speght's glossary, entitled The old and obscure words of Chaucer, explaned, to his edition of The Works of ... Geffrey Chaucer (1600). For a listing of all his sources, refer to Schäfer (1970, 1980, 1982, 1989), Riddell (1974, 1983), Starnes, and Starnes and Noyes.

[4] Cawdrey retains this passage in his Introduction for all four editions; see Noyes (600).

[5] Examples used here for illustration have been previously cited by Starnes (22), Noyes (603), Starnes and Noyes (17), Riddell (1974: 119-22, 1983: 224), and Schäfer (1970: 34), among others, to show Cawdrey's indebtedness to previously existing works. It is not my purpose here to prove these links but rather to show a technique which governs Cawdrey's adoption of materials.

[6] Referring to Cawdrey's use of Speght's glossary in particular -- thoughts which are equally applicable to much of Cawdrey's use of other sources -- Schäfer has commented that "Cawdrey's practice was by no means mechanical" (1982: 189).

[7] Schäfer notes that "A careful examination of the early hard word dictionaries reveals, furthermore, that they contain many entries which could never have been gleaned from any spelling list or Latin-English dictionary of the sixteenth century" (1989: 3-4).