Tracing References: Re-dating and Interpreting Abel-Rémusat’s Chinese-French Dictionary Manuscript Dictionnaire chinois

Rui Li*, Annette Skovsted Hansen

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


This study presents answers to the question of how one dictionary can help us understand the implications for lexicography of limited access to other dictionaries. We carefully analyzed the microstructure and macrostructure of Abel-Rémusat’s Chinese-French dictionary manuscript Dictionnaire chinois dated 1808 by systematically tracing the references noted at each entry in the dictionary. Based on his meticulous references to a large variety of Chinese language sources, this article confirms that Abel-Rémusat finished his first draft in 1808. However, tracing the references to a wide variety of sources including many references to Dictionnaire chinois, français et latin [Chinese, French, and Latin Dictionary, 1813], published in 1813 by Chrétien-Louis-Joseph de Guignes (1759–1845), we re-date the manuscript. This discovery allowed us to understand how Abel-Rémusat 1) used different types of resources when dictionaries of Chinese and various European languages were unavailable and 2) compensated initially by inventing his own macrostructure, microstructure and systems for retrieving Chinese characters until he could consult other dictionaries that offered him guidance and inspired him to make corrections in his manuscript. Our findings show how the resources available determined his approach to lexicography and lead us to conclude that he gradually developed his approach based on a combination of inspiration from and confusion caused by the limited, but very diverse resources, he located and referenced.
TidsskriftInternational Journal of Lexicography
Sider (fra-til)342-363
Antal sider24
StatusUdgivet - sep. 2022


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