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Page iii - ... regards materials and treatment. A dictionary which is good from a practical point of view — that is, which is finished within a reasonable time, and is kept within reasonable limits of space — must necessarily fall far short of ideal requirements. In short, we may almost venture on the paradox that a good dictionary is necessarily a bad one.
Page iii - We should always remember that we must not expect a lexicographer to perform miracles: his subject is too vast and too intricate. As Henry Sweet remarked, more than eighty years ago, "Every dictionary is necessarily a compromise. If done ideally well and on an adequate scale, it is never finished.
Page vii - Dictionary of Anglo-Saxon, the best method is to add part of the context in ( ) : thus I explain adragan by ' draw (sword),' seomian by 'hang heavy (of clouds),' where the italic </ stands for 'said of or 'applied to.
Page vii - Less mischievous, but equally silly, is the practice of translating an Old-English word by some obsolete or dialectal word, which is assumed — sometimes falsely — to be connected with the OldEnglish one. Thus when we have once translated beam by 'child,' there is no more reason for adding ' bairn ' than there is for adding 'kid
Page vi - Among the poetical texts the Psalms are especially remarkable for the number of unmeaning compounds they contain, evidently manufactured for the sake of the alliteration ; this text also contains many other unnatural words and word-meanings ; hence the frequent addition of Ps.
Page 214 - It is rigorously linear, so that it can be used for all the purposes of ordinary longhand.
Page vi - ... literature consists largely of translations, we may expect to find in it a certain number of words which are contrary to the genius of the language, some of them being positive monstrosities, the result of over-literal rendering of Latin words. I often warn the reader against them by adding (!). These unnatural words are not confined to interlinear translations. The translator of Bede's History is a great offender, and I have had constantly to add the warning Bd. Among...
Page ix - As the reader cannot possibly know beforehand whether the spelling he believes or knows to be the normal one actually occurs or not, it is surely better to put the word in the place where he expects to find it than to give way to a too great distrust of hypothetical forms.
Page ix - In conclusion, I venture to say that, whatever may be the faults and defects of this work. I believe it to be the most trustworthy Anglo-Saxon dictionary that has yet appeared.