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date: 18 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

To the user, typically a reader, of a ‘dead’ language, a dictionary is arguably indispensable for enabling understanding of a language for which live interactive discourse with native speakers is impossible. This is also inextricably allied to issues in its compilation, arising from the absence of possible interaction with native speakers. Thus such dictionaries exhibit significant differences from dictionaries of living languages. Differences in the range of items included (‘extent’) and the types of information provided about them (‘content’) are key results of the linguistic discontinuity. They reflect adaptation of the processes of preparing the dictionary—both research and presentation—to address the challenges of the limited surviving evidence and the needs of users. This chapter examines of some of the major dictionaries of Latin and ancient Greek, and how they negotiate the surviving linguistic evidence to meet the needs and expectations of readers.

Keywords: historical dictionaries, historical lexicography, dictionaries of dead languages, quotation evidence, lexical evidence, Latin, ancient Greek

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