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A history of Roget's thesaurus : origins, development, and design
Hüllen, Werner.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Oxford [England] ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2004.
Physical Description:
ix, 410 pages ; 24 cm
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PE1617.R64 H85 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In 1852 Peter Mark Roget eclipsed a rich tradition of topically based dictionaries with the publication of his Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases, Classified and Arranged so as to Facilitate the Expression of Ideas. Based on intuition as much as on specific linguistic principles, Roget'sbook has been a bestseller ever since and is one of the most widely-used reference works ever published. In this book Werner Hullen gives the first history of its genesis and publication, and investigates the principles of its structural design. The author opens with an account of Roget's life and his background in natural science. He then charts the parallel histories of dictionaries of synonyms and concepts within the general context of lexicography. Synonymy, he argues, is a necessary feature of languages without which communicationwould be impossible. He traces its theory and practice from Plato to the emergence of French and English synonym dictionaries in the seventeenth century. Roget's was the first such book to be arranged by topic and the first to encompass the semantic network of the entire language. The authorexamines the manner and method of its compilation, the practical outcomes of the traditions on which it was based, and the ways in which the Thesaurus reflects and reveals Roget's beliefs and background. A History of Roget's Thesaurus will interest students and scholars of linguistics, semantics, and lexicography, as well as anyone wishing to know more about a great literary achievement and an astonishing publishing phenomenon.

Author Notes

Werner Hullen is Professor Emeritus of English Linguistics at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. He has published widely on the teaching and learning of English as a foreign language. His most recent interest is the history of linguistics, particularly lexicography. On the occasion ofhis sixtieth birthday, Professor Hullen was awarded a two-volume Festschrift, Perspectives on Language in Performance, edited by Wolfgang Lorscher and Rainer Schulze, (Tubingen 1987). On the occasion of his seventy-fifth birthday, the members of the Oxford based Henry Sweet Society for the Historyof Linguistic Ideas, whose president he was between 1992 and 2002, honoured him with a reprint of Collected Papers on the History of Linguistic Ideas, edited by Michael M. Isermann (Munster 2002).

Table of Contents

1 Introduction
2 Peter Mark Roget and his ideas
3 Words, words, words
4 Synonymy: examples of early statements and practices
5 The beginnings of practical synonymy
6 The emergence of the English synonym dictionary
7 The topical tradition on English lexicography
8 Roget's Thesaurus: a topical dictionary of synonyms