Ecce magnum opus
December 2, 2019 11:45 AM   Subscribe

Researchers in Germany have been working on the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae since the 1890s. They hope to finish in 2050, but that might be optimistic. [SLNYT]
posted by Chrysostom (16 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is amazing. I thought looking at the PDFs would make it less so, but the sheer density of information just adds to the effect. I love dictionaries, even those I can't use well (I'm looking at you, 康熙字典 Kangxi Dictionary), but this is something else entirely. The glossary in the back of Wheelock's Latin, which I'm studying with a friend, looks a lot less daunting all of a sudden.

I assume they cut off the sample period at 600 A.D. to make it more manageable—a notion the contributors must've realized was gloriously absurd after the first couple decades' work.
posted by heteronym at 12:56 PM on December 2 [1 favorite]


That's nothing. The Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke was founded in Berlin in 1904 to produce a comprehensive alphabetical catalogue of all fifteenth-century printed books, and has now, after 115 years, got as far as the letter H.
posted by verstegan at 1:53 PM on December 2 [7 favorites]


Hercle! Preme litteram F ut lamentationes proferre ad homines a quibus vocabulas 'cum' et 'ut' translata hoc in lexico sunt.
posted by Sterros at 2:00 PM on December 2


I assume they cut off the sample period at 600 A.D. to make it more manageable

Classics bias! Should expand it to have a cutoff around 1800, the latin of the middle ages, Rennaissance and Early modern period is great stuff, no matter what they tell you.
posted by dis_integration at 2:57 PM on December 2 [3 favorites]


Classics bias! Should expand it to have a cutoff around 1800, the latin of the middle ages, Rennaissance and Early modern period is great stuff, no matter what they tell you.

That's good to hear! You don't hear much about later-period Latin, but I'm more interested in that than most of the classical stuff. Hell, I just received a volume of Renaissance Latin poetry in the mail. I'm nowhere near being able to read it, but one day I hope to be.
posted by heteronym at 3:11 PM on December 2 [1 favorite]


The Encyclopedic Dictionary of Sanskrit on Historical Principles was begun in 1948, and five thousand-odd pages later is still on the letter A.
posted by hoist with his own pet aardvark at 3:45 PM on December 2 [7 favorites]


I give you The Bollandists' Acta Sanctorum. First volumes published in 1643, work finished in 1940.
posted by zamboni at 4:18 PM on December 2 [2 favorites]


Previously on Mefi, the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, 90 years, 21 volumes. Also mentions the Chicago Hittite (est. completion 2045), and the Pennsylvanian Sumerian (no ETA).
posted by zamboni at 4:30 PM on December 2 [1 favorite]


There clearly needs to a library dedicated to multi-volume, centuries-spanning dictionaries of all kinds. I'm unqualified to do anything there other than sweep and dust, but that'd be fine by me.
posted by heteronym at 4:42 PM on December 2 [1 favorite]


Sounds like a Borges story.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:22 PM on December 2 [4 favorites]


Magnificent - like building a lexicographical cathedral (or pyramid, depending on the quantity of interns expended).
posted by inire at 3:36 AM on December 3 [2 favorites]


The dictionary of the Swedish Academy was started in 1787, put online in 1997, and they’re nearing the end of the letter V, any year now.
posted by meijusa at 5:13 AM on December 3 [2 favorites]


Det är viktigt!
posted by Chrysostom at 12:14 PM on December 3


It's interesting that they use slips of paper and a mechanical filing system. I'm wondering if the process could be streamlined with the right sort of computerised information system (perhaps even something like MediaWiki).
posted by acb at 5:38 AM on December 4



That's good to hear! You don't hear much about later-period Latin, but I'm more interested in that than most of the classical stuff.


I can only speak to palindromes, but Latin only has four before 600 CE, out of 49 I’ve found through 1600, when it got out of hand. But prove me wtong if you can! The 9th and 13th centuries dominate.
posted by msalt at 6:47 PM on December 4


hoist with his own pet aardvark: "The Encyclopedic Dictionary of Sanskrit on Historical Principles was begun in 1948, and five thousand-odd pages later is still on the letter A."

All pages on this domain give me a «This Account has been suspended» notice. The most recent Internet Archive snapshot is right here.
posted by andycyca at 8:50 AM on December 5


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