Defining the New Normal:
Transformations of Lexicon and Grammar in Two Manju Dictionaries
(65th Meeting Astana, 2023)
The first Manju Dictionary, Han-i araha Manju gisun-i buleku bithe, printed in 1708, is the canonical origin of a series of Manju dictionaries which later in the Qing Dynasty were to evolve into a series of multi-lingual dictionaries based on the same canonical template. The bulk of conceptual changes executed by the imperial editors manifests itself in the Enlarged and Revised Dictionary, Han-i araha Manju gisun-i nonggime toktobuha buleku bithe, printed in 1772.
At the level of the individual lemma, six fundamental types of intervention by the imperial editors can be defined which describe the basic operations necessary to arrive at the Enlarged and Revised Dictionary of 1772: 1) Insertion of a new lemma, 2) deletion of an old lemma, 3) renaming of lemma while keeping its definition, 4) redefinition of a lemma while preserving the keyword in its original form, 5) transposing of a whole lemma while preserving both keyword and definition, and finally 6) deconvolution, which means complex definitions being broken into basic definitions and the results transposed to other loci within the dictionary. Four of these interventions—namely insertion, deletion, renaming and redefinition—preserve the structure of the original dictionary, while two of these interventions modify the structure of the dictionary, namely transposition and deconvolution.
Examples for all six types of intervention are presented in this paper, together with discussions in how far they reflect the idea of Manju language reforms and in how far they reflect a unified and normative approach to editing dictionaries.