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Latin in Medieval Britain$
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Richard Ashdowne and Carolinne White

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266083

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266083.001.0001

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The DMLBS and the OED: Medieval Latin and the Lexicography of English

The DMLBS and the OED: Medieval Latin and the Lexicography of English

(p.320) 14 The DMLBS and the OED: Medieval Latin and the Lexicography of English
Latin in Medieval Britain

Philip Durkin

Samantha Schad

British Academy

This chapter explores how the DMLBS enriches English lexicography, concentrating on the use of data from the DMLBS in the third edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. Data from the DMLBS has often provided a Latin etymon where the OED previously gave a starred form or derived a word directly from its constituent Latin or English elements. It also often provides evidence for Latin words which probably acted as intermediaries in borrowings ultimately from Greek or Arabic. Evidence from the DMLBS has enriched huge numbers of OED etymologies, allowing them to cite Latin forms supported by glosses and dates of first attestation in British sources. In many cases, it is uncertain whether the immediate donor or source was Latin or French; the circumstances of trilingual late medieval English society must be taken into account in assessing the data. It is often unclear whether vernacular words embedded in Latin documents show French or English words, and the printed editions of many of the everyday records in which such evidence occurs often leave uncertainty as to whether a Latin or an embedded vernacular item occurs in a particular location. Dictionary editors need to tread warily in using and interpreting such evidence.

Keywords:   borrowing, English, etymology, lexicography, vernacular

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