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A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary (MART: The Medieval Academy Reprints for Teaching) Paperback – April 1, 1984

ISBN-13: 978-0802065483 ISBN-10: 0802065481 Edition: 4th

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Product Details

  • Series: MART: The Medieval Academy Reprints for Teaching (Book 14)
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division; 4th edition (April 1, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802065481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802065483
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,102,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English

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Customer Reviews

A wonderful source for Anglo-Saxon words and their meanings, which is very reasonably priced.
Deborah MacGillivray
I wish I had not wasted my money on this because I will now have to spend more to send it back and find a usable version.
Perpetual Lit Student
This book is invaluable for anyone who wants to read Old English text such as Beowulf, Old English Gospels, and the like.
Peter McGowan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 70 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
Students, usually a penurious lot, are in a pickle when it comes to dictionaries of ancient languages: a good one is essential, but often expensive. This paperback reprint offers a happy solution, a reasonably-priced dictionary of first resort. This is where to go when all you need is the meaning of a word. Words, their definitions, a few notes--it's really just a glorified glossary. Normalized spellings are used, but variants are included and cross-referenced. The notes consist mainly of abbreviated references to original texts and more advanced works, including the OED (or the NED as it was called when this dictionary first saw print). Latin borrowings are marked, but cognates in other Germanic languages are not supplied--save a few exceptions that occur maybe once every seven pages for no reason I can discern.
A sample entry might give you a better sense of how this dictionary is organized.
bearm I. (a) m. lap, bosom, breast, Lk : middle, inside: (+)possession. II. emotion, excitement? PPs 118. III.=beorma
[Lk = Gospel of Luke; (+) = poetical; PPs = Paris Psalter.]
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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Laukr on February 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
I haven't anything to add to these reviews, except to offer some clarification on this dictionary's exclusive use of "eth" (ð) and never "thorn" (þ). Several reviewers have complained about this as a defect in the dictionary, so it is worth pointing out that in Old English the eth and thorn characters are used interchangeably. The phonetic quality of each is determined not by the character used, but by its placement in the word. For instance, at the beginning or end of a word, it is voiceless, but it is voiced when falling between other voiced sounds. (Here the other reviewers were, perhaps, confusing things with Old Norse, in which eth does always = voiced "th," and thorn = its voiceless counterpart.)

Now, one may say that the dictionary editors might have been more charitable by standardizing the eth and thorn characters, one each for voiced and voiceless "th" (as some editors do) to aid in pronunciation, and that would be a fair statement; on the other hand, it would be equally fair to assert that students of (or even dabblers in) Old English are expected to be able to tell the difference without the editors' help. In any case, it is highly erroneous to say (as one reviewer did) that this dictionary "screws up" the usage of thorn and eth.
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By C. Imbert on August 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
... this is more a lexicon than a dictionary. But it is the only affordable and valuable one on the market, behind the great (but very expensive) Bosworth and Toller's Anglo-Saxon Dict. Thus, sometimes you might not find the word you're looking for. So be smarter than the lexicon: search another word derived from the same root, suppress the prefixes, change the cases, think of the infinitive of the verbs, and you may finally obtain your translation of the word.
But let us be honest: this book is great, and affordable for most of us.
A classic ?
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Perpetual Lit Student on November 7, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am doing my graduate thesis on Anglo-Saxon literature and have been using borrowed copies of this dictionary for months, to supplement my readings of Anglo-Saxon texts. The dictionary itself is wonderful so I decided to buy a copy. This version, however, is practically a scam. My book arrived today and was an utter disappointment. The original J.R. Clark Hall dictionary was published in the 1890s and there have been 3 subsequent editions (1916, 1930ish, and most recently, around 1964). This book appears to be a scanned version of the 1890s edition, meaning that it is not only lacking the updates of more recent editions, it is also barely legible, because the original font has been condensed and darkened to the extent that it's almost impossible to discern the difference between some Anglo-Saxon characters and Modern English characters. Since this is a dictionary, the importance of being able to tell how something is spelled is quite obvious. Further, the definitions themselves are not much easier to read - the text itself is less thick but it's often broken off mid-letter. I am quite frustrated to find that I cannot order a new copy of a reliable classic without it being so cheaply made. I am going to try to find a used copy of the 1964 edition, since it appears that this is the only version that Amazon sells new. I wish I had not wasted my money on this because I will now have to spend more to send it back and find a usable version.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By hughroth@compuserve.com on September 15, 1998
Format: Paperback
Easy to read, but codes must be looked up constantly in the front of the book. The ubiquitous ge- is dropped, so only the root is given, indented slightly. Well-constructed paperback.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Manfred Ostrowski on January 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
Originally published in 1894, revised in 1916, and enlarged in 1931,

this dictionary saw its fourth edition in 1960, which is reprinted here.

This reprint will surely be of great value for in-depth studies

of Anglo-Saxon by readers who have already got some introduction

to the language. It contains a wealth of lexical materials, part of

which is not so easily accessible from other sources. I have given it

only four stars because it lacks some important essentials of a

high standard dictionary: Compound and derived words are hardly

analyzed, grammatical information is minimal, there is no hint to

pronunciation, and there is no English - Anglo-Saxon index. Although

as a rule there is a clear rendering into Modern English, one will

also note that some words are only translated into Latin. So I see

the dictionary as a very valuable source of knowledge about Anglo-Saxon,

but difficult to use without prior introduction into basic facts of the

language.
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