2005 | 40 | 339-353
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The Warsaw Dictionary (Slownik warszawski): The Concept - Implementation - Perception

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The afrticle focuses on the concept, implementation and perception of the 'Slownik jezyka polskiego' (The Polish Dictionary) edited by J. Karlowicz, A. A. Krynski, W. Niedzwiedzki (Warszawa 1900-1927) .The 'Concept' of the Dictionary which was worked out by Jan Karlowicz has not been basically amended. From its the very outset is was prepared as a handy, concise dictionary which is being improved by a number of comments made by its editors and reviewers. Therefore 'Przyczynki do projektu wielkiego slownika polskiego' (Contributions to the concept of the Great Dictionary of the Polish Language) by J. Karlowicz are neither the introduction nor the preparatory input to the 'Slownik warszawski' (Warsaw Dictionary), but a proposal of a separate work and another publication. 'Implementation' of the plans has been conditioned by changes in the composition of the Editors' Group. In particular, the role that W. Niedzwiedzki played in the group escapes unequivocal evaluation. Comments made by that Editor suggests that he planned to enlarge the contents of this Dictionary and intended to implement at least some of the proposals included in the reviews.The final form of the Dictionary places it between the great academic dictionary and the dictionary devised for practical use .'Perception' of the Dictionary comprises enthusiastic expectation preceding its publication, discussions over its faults and its merits and, finally, just a few evaluations of the complete work.The Warsaw Dictionary was expected to be a work that would save richness of the Polish language that was in such jeopardy during the period of the occupation of the country by the three alien superpowers of the time, and when the Polish peoples' national identity was under pressure and endangered. Our present perception of the Dictionary is biased by negative opinions voiced by the lexicographers of the second half of 20th century, that was formulated in the context of the 'Slownik jezyka polskiego' (The Polish Language Dictionary) edited by W. Doroszewski. It was possible to challenge elements of that interpretation only when the fragment of the hardly available (or lost) dictionary instruction 'Wskazówki dla wspólpracowników' (Instructions to Co-workers) was found and quoted. Its part was recorded and thus saved from extinction in W. Niedzwiedzki's letter to the editors of the 'Kurier Warszawski' newspaper dated 26 November 1903. Still, there are many issues associated with the history of the greatest Polish Language Dictionary. The key issues mentioned in the forehead of this article require further research and verification which must be based upon the lexicon material contained in the Dictionary.
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  • M. Majdak, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Instytut Jezyka Polskiego, ul. Krakowskie Przedmiescie 26/28, 00-927 Warszawa, Poland
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