Archæology

The assorted finds of Artefact Publishing

More dictionaries

I have mentioned Monier-Williams’s Sanskrit-English dictionary. There is another, far more ambitious, project to create an authoritative Sanskrit dictionary. After fifty-five years, they have almost completed the first letter. Actually, I’m not quite sure whether they have almost completed अ (short a) or both that and आ (long a) — the article mentions the 44-letter language, which is incorrect. There are 46 base glyphs in the script as used by Sanskrit, one for each phonetic element in the language (though ऌ, vocalic l, is rare).

I have also mentioned dictionary markup and associated processing. The Deccan College Post-Graduate Research Institute dictionary project does not have, and is not likely to have in the near future, a single computer. Gail Armstrong suggests starting a fund to buy them one. Perhaps there is no need, for there is some different information at a description of Deccan College:

The Sanskrit Dictionary Project is the most ambitious project undertaken by the Institute. From 1948 to 1975 a data bank of nearly nine million words extracted from some 1500 texts from Vedic period to 18th century was prepared. From 1976 editing and printing of the Dictionary began and to date some 2500 out of the proposed 20,000 pages have been printed. Efforts are under way to computerize the working of the project so as to expedite its completion. Many prominent Sanskrit scholars (Prof. Basham, for example) have remarked that the “Dictionary when completed, will be the greatest work of Sanskrit Lexicography the world has ever seen”.

The Dictionary of Old English Project has a lot of catching down to do, if it is to compete with the Sanskrit dictionary: it has only been going since 1980 or so, and they have already covered six letters. At that rate, they will be finished before the people at Pune get to काश् (kāś: it’s a poor pun, don’t worry about it).

Posted by jamie on August 21, 2003 17:26+12:00

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