The Centre of Advanced Study in Linguistics, University of Poona, held a seminar on the nature and scope of a historical dictionary with particular reference to
Sanskrit from 20.12.1972 to 23.12.1972. Fifteen scholars from Poona and five from outside took part in it and a large number of Sanskrit scholars attended it.
The choice of the subject was partly dictated by the paucity of material on the theoretical aspects of such a research tool and partly by the availability of sufficient
raw material in the scriptorium of the Sanskrit dictionary at the Deccan College. Historical lexicography is a subject little known outside the circles which are
actually engaged in a work of this nature and its proper execution requires a close cooperation between the Sanskritists and the linguists. Scholars of both these
disciplines sat together and carried on an intimate dialogue on this occasion so as to produce a detailed plan, a kind of blue-print, for a historical dictionary of
Sanskrit and laid down the basic guidelines for such an undertaking by preparing a few sample articles and examining them in great detail. Moreover the
deliberations of the Seminar clarified the theory of historical dictionaries and helped build a sound foundation for a practical work of this type.
The work of the Seminar fell into two distinct phases. The first four sessions were devoted to the first phase, which discussed the general outline of a historical
dictionary of Sanskrit and the various problems involved in it. In the very first session was presented a comprehensive scheme of such a dictionary specially
prepared for it and discussed in detail. This was followed by a number of research papers treating the different aspects of the scheme by both linguists and
Sanskritists. The major aspects of such a dictionary like its aims and scope, the extent of literature to be utilised, the principles of semantic analysis, the
chronology of the works to be used, the treatment of general and technical vocabulary, the scope of the etymologies to be attempted, the record of attested forms,
the setting up of the lemmata, the parts of speech to be indicated, the selection of the citations, statistical information to be included, the use of traditional
lexicons, and many others were discussed on the basis of papers submitted for this purpose. These papers are now published in the form of a book after being
duly revised by the authors, and it is hoped that they will be of use to a wider circle of readers, both Sanskritists and linguists.
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