A Chapter from the History of Latin Lexicography in Slovenia (On the Publication of Wiesthaler’s Latin-Slovene Dictionary)
Keywords:lexicography, Latin language, Slovene language, vocabularies, historical presentation
Despite the evidently thriving lexicographical activity in Slovene medieval monasteries, the first attempts at Latin-Slovene dictionaries are not found earlier than in the works by Slovene Protestants. In the history of Slovene lexicography, a place of honour is held by the German humanist Hieronimus Megiser, the first to collect systematically a large portion of Slovene vocabulary and use it in his lexicographical work. However, three Slovene attempts to supply a Latin-Slovene dictionary (by Matija Kastelec, Gregor Vorenc, and the Rev Hipolit) failed. The first serious attempt to finally provide the Slovenes with a dictionary was made in the 1870’s, under the editorial guidance of Janko Pajk, but the work was never published and the lexicographical materials are lost as well. The first Latin-Slovene dictionary actually published was Latinsko-slovenski slovnik za tretji in četrti gimnasijski razred [The Latin-Slovene Dictionary for the Third and Fourth Gymnasium Forms ] (1882), the team project of dedicated teachers. Lexicography was long hindered by financial difficulties, by the lack of properly qualified workers willing to engage in such projects, by Austrian pressure, by the unfavourable social status of teachers, as well as by other factors. The situation, however, changed in the year 1894, which witnessed the beginnings of the most comprehensive Latin dictionary – and one of the largest lexicographical projects in Slovenia ever – under the supervision of Fran Wiesthaler. The first part of the project was finished immediately before World War I, which prevented its publication. The first volume (the entries from A to facilis) was published in 1927, after which time the work remained at a standstill for over 60 years. Despite the editor’s lifelong work on the project, he did not live to see its complete publication.
Work on the dictionary was revived by the publishing house Kres in 1990. In 2007, after 17 years of work and 4,087 pages in six volumes, the project has reached completion after 113 years.
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