A Concise Middle English Dictionary
Anthony Lawson Mayhew and Walter William Skeat
Revised by Michael Everson
Revised edition, 2009. Cathair na Mart: Evertype. ISBN 978-1-904808-23-7 (hardcover), price: €37.95, £27.95, $39.95. ISBN 978-1-904808-67-1 (paperback), price: €19.95, £15.95, $23.95.
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Preface to the 2009 edition
Volapük is a constructed language, devised in 1879 by Johann Martin Schleyer, a Roman Catholic priest who was inspired in a dream to create an international language. Schleyer adapted the vocabulary of Volapük mostly from English, supplemented by German, French. and Latin. The grammar of Volapük is regular and relatively simple—surprisingly easier, in fact, than it looks at first. Volapük was the first proposed International Auxiliary Language to enjoy widespread popularity: it is estimated that in 1889, there were some 283 clubs, 25 periodicals in or about Volapük, and 316 textbooks in 25 languages, and that somewhere between two hundred thousand and a million people had taken up study of the language. Esperanto, being similar to many European Romance languages, first appeared in 1887, and ultimately proved more popular. Today, the number of people studying Volapük is much lower than once it was, though Internet contacts have enabled Volapük enthusiasts to connect and communicate, and that new community has inspired the re-publication of this dictionary.
This German-Volapük Volapük-German dictionary is the most complete modern dictionary of Volapük currently available. It has been out of print for many years, and it is hoped that its re-publication will assist a new generation of Volapük learners in their enjoyment of this unique language.
I would like to thank Greg Lindahl, Anzia Kraus, and Louise Hope for the extensive and painstaking work which they and their Distributed Proofreaders team did to prepare what became the source files for this dictionary. Since I have extensively revised those sources, I alone bear the final responsibility for any errors that persist. I am confident nonetheless that this book prove a welcome and useful tool for students of Middle English.
- Headwords begin with lower-case letters, apart from a fairly small number of proper nouns (Fri-dæi, Þorr, etc.).
- Alphabetical order is a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t þ u v w x y ȝ z. The 1888 edition gave i [vowel] and i [consonant] instead of i and j, treated ð and þ as variants of th within the letter t, and gave u, v [vowel] and v, u [consonant] instead of u and v.
- Citation forms follow the manuscript spellings, as in the 1888 edition. In the guide-words at the top of each page, however, and in cross references, consonantal i [dʒ] is rewritten as j, consonantal u [v] is rewritten as v, vocalic v [u] is rewritten as u, and ð and th [θ]~[ð] are rewritten as þ.
- The letter æ is sorted as ae.
- Consonantal i and j [dʒ] are interfiled under j.
- The letters ð, th, and þ are all interfiled under þ. Where th represents [t], it is found between te and ti (as rethoryke, rhetoric).
- Vocalic u and v [u] are interfiled under u.
- Consonantal u and v [v] are interfiled under v.
- A section for words beginning in z- has been added.
- Superscript numbers are used to distinguish homonymous headwords (as meten¹, to dream; meten², to paint; meten³, to meet; meten⁴, to measure).
- Cross references point to the correct headword based on the superscript number.
- Danish etymologies use ø and å instead of ö and aa.
- Gothic etymologies use þ and ƕ instead of th and hw.
- Sanskrit etymologies conform to modern Brahmic transliteration.
- The mixed usage of cf. and cp. for ‘compare’ has been normalized to cf.
- Current Modern English spellings are used in definitions (such as show for shew, ache for ake).
- Errors in cross references have been corrected, so s.v. must, new wine, “cf. moiste” now reads “cf. moyste”.
- Other errors have been corrected where discovered (cf. “hong pt. s. hung” alongside “hongede pt. s. hung”; the latter has been corrected to “hongede pt. s. hanged”).
Westport, Co. Mayo
builder of astrolabes,
who encouraged a 16-year-old
to pursue a love of languages,
and whose expectations of excellence
remain an inspiration 30 years on.
Ich habbe boþe luue ⁊ þonc
Þat ich her com ⁊ hider swonk.