This comprehensive account of the history of Chinese lexicography is the first book on the subject to be published in English. It traces the development of Chinese lexicography over three millennia, from the Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC-256 BC) to the Qing Dynasty (1616-1911). Revealing how the emergence of lexicographical culture in ancient China was linked to the teaching of ancient characters, it describes the subsequent development of primers, thesauruses, and dictionaries of all major types, including those of dialects and technical terms. These works originated and appeared in ancient China, predating their western counterparts by hundreds of years: and in one form or another most of them remain in use today.
Throughout their account the authors show how changes in the organization, content, use and researches of Chinese lexicographical works reflected broader social and political developments. This book not only makes an important and original contribution to the history of Chinese lexicography and the social and cultural history of China but also provides illuminating insights into world lexicography and new forms of comparative researches in lexicography in the global context.
Discipline of Linguistics