Studying language change through indexed and interlinked dictionaries
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Original versionin: Gavriilidou, Z, Mitsiaki, M, Fliatouras, A., 2020, Proceedings of XIX EURALEX Congress: Lexicography for Inclusion, Vol. I.
In this paper we present our study how to use the Meta Dictionary of the Norwegian Language Collections to measure lexical stability in standard dictionaries across a timespan. The Meta Dictionary uses the lexical item as its core unit, expressing each lexical unit in a separate Meta Dictionary entry. The success of this model rests on having access to electronic versions of major and generally accepted dictionaries from the different stages of the orthography of a language. With this documentation it is possible to see, for instance, how much and which parts of the 1873 lexicon (Norwegian vernacular) is present in modern Nynorsk and Bokmål respectively, and whether this lexicon is present in its original orthography or not. This method for studies of the lexical development is comparable to remote sensing in archaeology and distant reading in literary studies. As an extended example of the application of the method we study a few issues related to the position of the pioneering lexicographers Ivar Aasen (1813-1896) and Hans Ross (1831-1912) in the description of Nynorsk, as shown in more recent lexicographical works, and in particular in two school dictionaries from 1954 and 1970 which border on being spellers.