The Warsaw Dictionary: The Concept – Implementation – Perception  Cover Image

Słownik warszawski: koncepcja – realizacja – recepcja
The Warsaw Dictionary: The Concept – Implementation – Perception

Author(s): Magdalena Majdak
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: Instytut Slawistyki Polskiej Akademii Nauk

Summary/Abstract: The text focuses on three issues referring to the Słownik języka polskiego – The Polish Dictionary edited by J. Karłowicz, A. A. Krynski, W. Niedźwiedzki (Warszawa 1900-1927) – and its concept, implementation and perception. The purpose of the article, apart from presenting new facts and findings, to revisit some past and present valuations and opinions on the Dictionary. The Concept of the Dictionary which was worked out by Jan Karłowicz has not been basically amended. From the very outset, the Dictionary was being prepared a handy, concise dictionary which is being proved by a number of comments made by its editors and reviewers. Therefore Przyczynki do projektu wielkiego słownika polskiego (Contributions to the concept of the Great Dictionary of the Polish Language) by J. Karłowicz are therefore not the introduction or the preparation to the Warsaw Dictionary (Słownik warszawski), but are a proposal of a separate work and another publication. Implementation of the plans has been conditioned by changes to the personnel in the Editors’ Group In particular, the role that W. Niedźwiedzki played in the group escapes unequivocal evaluation. Comments made by that Editor suggest that he planned to enlarge the contents of this Dictionary and intended to implement at least some of the proposals included in the reviews (for instance to provide information on the source of a quote cited in the Dictionary). The final form of the Dictionary places it between the great academic dictionary and the dictionary devised for practical use. Perception of the Dictionary went through changes – from enthusiastic expectation preceding its publication, through discussions over its faults and its merits of its prospects and initial volumes, to, finally, just a few evaluations of the total, complete work. One should remember that the Warsaw Dictionary was being produced amidst great expectations. It was expected to be a work that would save richness of the Polish language that was in such jeopardy during the period of the occupation of the country by the three alien superpowers of the time, and when the Polish peoples’ national identity was under pressure and endangered. Our present perception of the Dictionary is biased by negative opinions voiced by the lexicographers of the second half of 20th century, that was formulated in the context of the Słownik języka polskiego (The Polish Language Dictionary) edited by W. Doroszewski. It was possible to challenge elements of that interpre- tation only when the fragment of the hardly available (or lost) dictionary instruction was found and quoted (Wskazówki dla współpracowników; Instructions to Co-workers). Its part has been recorded and thus saved from extinction in W. Niedźwiedzki’s letter to the editors of the „Kurier Warszawski” newspaper dated 26 November 1903.

  • Issue Year: 2005
  • Issue No: 40
  • Page Range: 339-353
  • Page Count: 15
  • Language: Polish