It's here! The A Student's Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese dictionary is finally out!
Language Log says:
A Student's Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese
All of the people associated with this dictionary are excellent scholars, so I'm sure that it will be reliable and of the highest quality. Naturally, I am pleased that it is arranged alphabetically by Pinyin and has a radical plus stroke order index.
This is like a dream come true for me, since I myself — starting over a quarter of a century ago — tried to organize the compilation of such a dictionary, and even arranged for the late Gilbert L. Mattos to prepare several hundred entries, and I also enlisted the help of Paul Kroll. I am so happy that Professor Kroll has gone forward with this project and created this wonderful tool. Certainly every student and scholar with a serious interest in premodern China will want to own a copy for him/herself.
This is a major event in the history of Western Sinology. I have not yet seen the dictionary with my own eyes, but from the description on the Brill website and from my familiarity with the work of the contributors over the past fifty years, I am sure that this dictionary will immediately become an essential tool for all Sinologists.
[Hat tip Petya Andreeva]
Where leoboiko in the comments says:
Also, the transcription is… well… the MC for 寵 chŏng is given as trhjowngX. Is it one of those transcriptions where Roman letters are used as digraphs for various sounds, or merely abstract symbols for the various known relationships? While I sympathize with the linguistically sound reasons to do that, I can't help but fear that it will confuse nonlinguists (like the Baxter/Sagart reconstruction, available online, which a lot of random people on the net seem to have mistaken as literally phonetic – and I can't blame them, honestly). Of course, we should be technical and precise and conservative in proposing hypothetical reconstructions; but hey, we live in a typographically rich era; do we really need to represent tones and such as Roman capitals? (Compare Kroll's MC for zhuǎn, trjwenX, with Schuessler's, tjwänᴮ.)
But if I re-read the previous paragraph, I feel like the dictionary I'm looking for is just Schuessler. Since we already have Schuessler (albeit for a limited lexicon), Kroll et al's should work great as a complement. We're focusing on what's missing, but if we look instead to what's present, the sample entries are rich and bountiful in semantics, interpretations, nuances, and specialized meanings (medical, biological, Buddhist etc.). Dated locus classicus and other philological data will be missed, but I know I've wanted something just like Kroll's since forever – especially as a Japanese scholar with no knowledge of modern Chinese languages.
- How does the medieval transcriptions of Chinese work?
- How would one go about pronouncing something like trhjowngX?
- How do, aforementioned, Kroll and Schuessler differ?