chapter  4
18 Pages

Historical and critical perspectives

In considering the various ways in which lexicography and history complement each other, at least two points need to be made. The first is that both terms are inherently ambiguous. I have already acknowledged two distinct senses of lexicography, as 'dictionary making' and 'dictionary research', and Zgusta (e.g. in the thematic issue No. 711991 of Lexicographica International Annual, published 1992) has drawn attention to the fact that history can mean either a 'chain of events' or a 'narrative account' of a chain of events. So we need to be prepared for a complex grid of relationships rather than a single correlation. The second point, which follows from the first, is that we can distinguish several different aspects of dictionary history. The diversities indicated in Principle 4.1 ensure that this kind of research can be both interesting and challenging.