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Networks and Knowledge in Roget's Thesaurus$
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Werner Hüllen

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199553235

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199553235.001.0001

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Roget's Thesaurus, Deconstructed

Roget's Thesaurus, Deconstructed

(p.8) 2 Roget's Thesaurus, Deconstructed
Networks and Knowledge in Roget's Thesaurus

Werner Hüllen

Oxford University Press

Discussing synonyms started with Prodikos of Keos (c.470 bc), but modern research can be traced back to Abbé Gabriel Girard (1718). In the 18th century, there was a Europe-wide interest in the subject, leading in England to a number of word collections (Trusler, Piozzi) and dictionaries (Crabb, Perry). It amalgamated with the use of synonyms in explaining dictionaries (hard-word dictionaries, Dr Johnson). Topical glossaries and dictionaries had earlier become popular, above all for language teaching (dialogue books, Withals, Comenius). P. M. Roget fused the two, using contemporary conspectuses of human knowledge as given in the Encyclopaedia Britannica and in scientific publications. In fact, he made new use of two old lexicographical designs. The development of synonymy prepared the way for scholarly semantics with the emergence of a new text genre, the comparative definition of word meanings.

Keywords:   Roget, Thesaurus, cumulative synonymy, Johnson, semantic analysis, lexeme, onomasiological, Girard

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