|WFT: The comprehensive Frisian Dictionary (Wurdboek fan de Fryske taal / Woordenboek der Friese taal)
|The Wurdboek fan de Fryske Taal (WFT) is a dictionary of a regional minority language. Yet it may be compared to the big scholarly dictionaries of national languages like Dutch, German and English, not because of its size but with respect to its principles. The WFT is, as a description of a minority language, in this sense unique. Its more modest size is partly due to the dictionary’s design, but a more important reason is that the lexicographical description of Frisian is hampered by the absence of a large variety of written sources, because Frisian, characteristically as a minority language, especially functions as a spoken language.
In my paper I clarify how the position of a minority language - and in addition the scholarly infrastructure - are decisive for the lexicography of Frisian and the compilation and contents of the WFT in particular.
Before discussing some aspects of the WFT itself I will deal with three items. 1. The unfinished dictionary Lexicon Frisicum (A-Feer) (1872) by J. H. Halbertsma (1789-1869), the founding father of the lexicography of modern Frisian; 2. The continuation of Halbertsma’s lexicographical work, resulting in the Friesch Woordenboek (1900-1911). 3. The preamble to the WFT.
I discuss the following aspects:
- the choice of the non-Frisian metalanguage in the dictionaries above
- the choice of only post-1800 Frisian in the WFT.
- the choice of regional variants in Friesch Woordenboek and WFT
- the choice of including the first attestation of each entry into the WFT
- the microstructure of the WFT
- etymology in the WFT
I finally mention the future of the WFT: with the completion of the the paper dictionary, the WFT is now ready to enter the exiting world of online electronic dictionaries.
|Lexicography of Lesser Used or Non-State Languages