Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2005.08.45

Libronix Digital Library System, H.G. Liddell and R. Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon (rev. H.S. Jones and R. McKenzie, rev. supp. by P.G.W. Glare) Oxford 1996.   Bellingham:  Logos Bible Software, 2003.  $145.00.  

Wilhelm Pape, Electronic Edition of Griechisch-Deutsch: Handwörterbuch der griechischen Sprache, 3te Auflage (1914).   Berlin:  Digitale Bibliothek, 2005.  ISBN 3-89853-517-7.  €45.00.  



Reviewed by Gerald Verbrugghe, Rutgers University, Camden (verbrugg@camden.rutgers.edu)
Word count: 3008 words

Everything that Professor Slenders (BMCR 2005.04.63) says in his review of the digitalized Liddell and Scott (A Greek-English Dictionary, H.G. Liddell and R. Scott, 1st edition 1845, brought up to date by H.S. Jones and R. McKenzie, 9th edition 1940, and supplemented by P.G.W. Glare, 1996) is accurate and enlightening. His recommendation, "a must for classicists," is to be followed, and the electronic edition meets what Professor Colvin hoped for in his review (BMCR 97.9.8) of the 1996 print edition: a CD-Rom with all changes in the dictionary "incorporated into the main text." I wish here to make available more information about this electronic edition and call attention to another electronic resource well worth having available.

Once the program, Libronix Digital Library, which comes on the CD-Rom with the Liddell and Scott dictionary, has been installed, the data (the actual dictionary) has been copied to the hard disk, and all preferences have been made so that the program opens with the dictionary ready to be used, the user sees a vertically split screen. On the left is the list of the individual lemmata; on the right the actual dictionary entries. By clicking on a lemma on the left, the definition of that lemma appears at the top of the screen on the right, highlighted for a few moments by the appearance of an orange star-like burst to call it to the attention of the user. If the lemma is new or its definition has been revised in the Revised Supplement, a white star surrounded by green, as a superscript before the entry, alerts the user. The actual changes made to the 1940 (date of the 9th edition) entries due to the Revised Supplement are not distinguished in any way in the electronic edition. Because the revisions have been incorporated into their individual lemmata in this electronic edition, the corresponding page references in the upper left corner of the screen, above the list of lemmata, to the printed version of the dictionary refer to the pagination (2,042 pages) of the ninth edition (1940) independent of the revisions, which formed a separate section of the ninth edition (320 pages) as the Revised Supplement (1996). If the definition of a lemma contains as its definition or as part of its definition a reference to another lemma in the dictionary, that other lemma is highlighted in red. By holding the cursor over the highlighted red lemma, the user can make its definition appear outlined in a box, or by clicking on the highlighted red lemma, the user is taken directly to that lemma's definition in its proper alphabetical position in the dictionary. Abbreviations abound in the print Liddell and Scott; in the electronic version they appear highlighted in green, and when the user holds the cursor over one of them, its full form (names of authors, but not their individual works; periodicals; and general abbreviations) appears. In the print edition, a user would have to turn to the "Aids to the Reader" (pages xv-xlv) and search for the desired abbreviation while maintaining the page of the lemma.

As Professor Slenders notes, it is also possible to search the entire dictionary for any string of characters, whether in the Latin or Greek alphabet. As part of the installation process of the Libronix Digital Library, the ability to choose a Latin (default), Greek, or Hebrew keyboard is available at the bottom of the user's desktop, a white alpha against a green backdrop. The Greek and Hebrew keyboards work only for the Libronix Digital Library program. They will not function in or for other programs. By clicking on the search function, labeled "Search" with a logogram of a magnifying glass in front of it at the top of the screen, the user can then type in the search box the desired string of characters. The program then returns a list of "hits" and by clicking on each of them the user can then go to the dictionary entries where the sought string was found. It will be highlighted in blue and will appear at the top of the screen. Thus, if the user has selected the Latin alphabet, the electronic Liddell and Scott can become an English-Greek dictionary, a source for exempla from a specific author, or any number of things a user can imagine. If the user has selected the Greek alphabet, the electronic Liddell and Scott can find all occurrences of a specific Greek string in the dictionary, not just the definition of a lemma. The Greek keyboard is the Greek Polytonic System, which has its own specific keyboard layout and the ability to render all the classical Greek diacritical marks (accents, breathing marks, iota subscripts, and diereses). The Logos website presents in one page the keyboard layout of the Greek Polytonic System. For a more advanced presentation, see the Microsoft website. While the user can type in diacritical marks in the hope of limiting the search to a specific form of a word, the search function does not take diacritical marks into account. Thus, a search for η, ή, ὴ, ἠ, or (or for that matter any combination of diacritcal marks possible with η) always returns the same number of hits, 36,437.

Now for the major drawback of this electronic edition. As Professor Slenders mentions, there are incorrect reproductions of the Greek lemmata. Some are simply not done correctly. For example, τιφώδης has been reproduced in the electronic dictionary as τιώδης. The φ has simply disappeared. Professor Slenders gives the example of the lemma μόρσιμος, which should appear between μόρρια and μορτή. Instead the lemma given is μόραιμος. Here the ς has morphed into an α.

Most incorrect reproductions, however, usually occur due to the demands the printed version of the dictionary had to make to conserve space. That is, lemmata derived from other lemmata or lemmata sharing a common beginning, in order to conserve space, were not printed in full, but the common element in various lemmata was given only once for the lead lemma and then a dash was substituted for that common element as the rest of the lemmata were given. Something went wrong in the digitalizing of the dictionary, and the result is at times an incorrect listing of words with no way possible to find what the user is searching for. Professor Slenders, in his example of the incorrect scanning of μόρσιμος, puts the mind of the user of the elctronic version of the dictionary at rest by pointing out that μόρσιμος was still able to be found and therefore its correct form confirmed, because, by using the "Search" function with the Greek Polytonic System, the user would go directly to the electronic dictionary's entry under μόραιμος. The reason why the user in this case can find the proper definition in the electronic edition under the erroneous lemma μόραιμος is that μόρσιμος appears not once but twice in the actual definition and so the "Search" function "lucked out." Indeed, μόρσιμος appears again in the definitions of two other lemmata in the dictionary, which are both duly found by the "Search" function. More often than not, however, when there is an incorrect reproduction of a lemma in the electronic edition, the user will not be able to find the correct definition, or if by process of elimination the user finds the correct definition, it is impossible to figure out the correct form the lemma should have. For example, θρυαλλίς: in its place in the electronic edition appears θριπόίς, between θρυαλλίδιον and θρύαλλον, with the correct definition of θρυαλλίς. Unfortunately, if the user does a search for θρυαλλίς, the search will return three hits, but not one of them leads to θριπόίς, because in the definition of θρυαλλίς the form θρυαλλίς itself does not appear. Indeed, in the print Lidell and Scott, θρυαλλίς does not appear as a lemma. In the printed dictionary only -ις appears, as it is, so to speak, a part of the definition of the lemma θρυαλλίδιον. This problem of mis-scanned lemmata from the print edition's use of lemma stems represented by a dash causes a great number of words to be "mis-spelled" and not "findable."

Flawlessly reproduced in electronic format is the great Greek-German dictionary of the nineteenth century, Wilhelm Pape's Griechisch-Deutsch: Handwörterbuch der griechischen Sprache, originally published in 1848, revised in a second edition in 1880 and a third edition in 1914 by Max Sengebusch, 2 volumes (1,548 and 1,424 pages). Digitale Bibliothek is the program the user loads to use the dictionary. As with the electronic Liddell and Scott, the user, once everything is loaded and the data copied to the hard disk, sees a vertically divided screen, with the dictionary's lemmata on the left and the actual entries of the dictionary on the right. By clicking on the individual lemmata, the user sees the definition, but in this electronic edition only individual entries appear, whereas in the Liddell and Scott as many definitions as can appear on the entire length of the screen appear. The pagination of the print edition, volume number and pages, appears at the extreme right of the defined lemma at the top of the screen. The user can search the entire dictionary by clicking on the ideogram of a magnifying glass over a page with "Suche" ("Search") in the vertical bar along the left side of the screen. The left side of the screen now contains the search screen. Switching between a Greek keyboard and a Latin keyboard is done by clicking on the small box with a capital sigma to the right of the "Search" box, where the search string is to be entered. The layout of the Greek keyboard is given in the introduction to the electronic edition, as is the explanation of selecting a Unicode font to be used with the program. Unfortunately, such essential information does not appear on the plastic box holding the CD-Rom or on any description of the dictionary or the Digitale Bibliothek program. The Greek keyboard does not allow the use of diacritical marks.

What advantages does a 1914 Greek-German dictionary offer? Obviously the electronic Pape is more useful if the user knows German, as is the electronic Liddell and Scott, if the user knows English. To be sure, there has been a tremendous amount of lexicographical progress since 1914. Nevertheless, the Pape is still, if outdated, a very good dictionary and provides certain advantages. Because the print Pape did not use abbreviations of Greek words in its definitions, entries in the electronic Pape contain the full form of the lemma in the examples from authors. The electronic Liddell and Scott, following the print Liddell and Scott, abbreviates the lemma's form in its appearances as example in its definition. For example, I count 24 instances where the electronic Liddell and Scott uses an abbreviation of π. for the declined form of πλήρης, whereas all the examples the electronic Pape gives show the fully inflected form. I must point out, however, that the Pape offers fewer examples of the use of πλήρης than does the Liddell and Scott. They are not, however, all the same as in the Liddel and Scott. When another lemma is given as part of a defintion in the electronic Pape, it is not possible, as it is in the electronic Liddell and Scott, for the user simply to click on it and move effortlessly to its place in the dictionary. The user must look it up by finding it listed in the lemmata or by doing a search for it. Abbreviations abound, but the user must go "manually" to the "List of Abbreviations" ("Verzeichnis der Abkürzungen") or to a German dictionary for commonly accepted abbreviations. As a side note, I would like to mention that in the Digitale Bibliothek series the great Latin-German dictionary, Grosses Georges, is also available.

Should one buy the electronic Liddell and Scott, even with its flaws? As I quoted Professor Slenders at the beginning, it is "a must for classicists". Its price is about the same as the print edition of the 9th edition with the Revised Supplement ($150. from Amazon.com), which usually needs to be consulted, so to speak, twice, once in the ninth edition itself and then again in the Revised Supplement. In the electronic Liddell and Scott, the Revised Supplement is seamlessly woven into the dictionary's lemmata and is available nowhere else electronically. The presentation of the dictionary's entries in the electronic Liddell and Scott is much easier to read, with generous white space separating subsections that in the print Liddell and Scott cause blurred vision even in the youngest. In addition, while not correcting all of the erroneously or confusedly labeled sections and subsections of a lemma's definition (often there is an A section without corresponding B, C, etc. sections; or there are subsections labeled 2, 3, 4, etc., without a beginning section specifically labeled 1), the electronic edition's layout makes it easy to see an ordered and logical presentation of the definition.

The electonic Liddell and Scott's competition, so to speak, is not, however, limited to the 1996 print edition. The 1940 Liddell and Scott is available online from Perseus and free. In addition, its presentation in Perseus gives distinct advantages to its user that the electronic Liddell and Scott cannot match. Once the user has set up a screen presentation tailored to his or her likes and system (choice of font, degree of linkage, etc., all made easy by the "Configure Display" tab near the top left of the screen), the user finds it possible not only to have the definitions of individual lemmata presented in an easily readable and well organized form, but to be able to go to the specific passages cited as examples. If the author's work is in the Perseus corpus of digitalized texts (a very great percentage of cited passages are), a user can see the fully inflected form in its complete context with all the other help Perseus has to offer on that passage (morphological analysis, definition of the other words used with the originally sought lemma, etc.). In addition to the definitions of the dictionary's lemmata and, in most cases, a link to the full text of those definitions' examples, the Perseus system gives other information: frequency charts of the lemma's appearances in Greek poetry and prose; five Greek words and five Latin words with similar meaning; and a list of words that regularly appear with the lemma.

Although there are these distinct added advantages to the Perseus presentation of the 1940 Liddell and Scott, it is not entirely user-friendly. There is no browsing, no direct searching for conjugated or declined forms of words that appear in the definitions of lemmata, and searching for English words that appear in the 1940 Liddell and Scott must be done with a separate "tool" provided by Perseus. On the left side of the screen, if one scrolls down, individual letters of the Greek alphabet appear, which gives the impression that individual lemmata will appear, if one clicks on a particular letter. Upon clicking on a letter, however, a user merely goes to the first entry in the dictionary under that letter and the simple list of Greek letters remains on the left side of the screen. To find individual lemmata, one must use the search function. It is not possible yet for a user of Perseus to send Greek Unicode directly to the search engine. Therefore, if a user wants to send a fully inflected Greek form with diacritical marks, Beta Code must be used. Help is provided to write the Beta Code using Greek letters and accents (See under "Help" "Lookup Tool Help"), but searching goes so much more quickly if one can transliterate to Beta Code directly. If one mistypes the sought form or, in most cases, misguesses the form of the lemma, because the user had an oblique case or a non-present finite verb form, the search engine returns a zero finding. Granted, one can then use the morphological tool to get the right form of the lemma, but only if the conjugated or declined form appears in the corpus of Greek texts in Perseus. The search function for the 1940 Liddell and Scott searches only the lemmata, not the entire body of the dictionary. The ablility to browse the lemmata of the 1940 edition of Liddell and Scott would be a great boon for users as would be the ability to search the whole dictionary for any appearance of a Greek form. To search for an English word in the body of the dictionary, one must use the "English to Greek Word Search" tool.

The value of Perseus' presentation of the 1940 Liddell and Scott is great, but the value of the electronic edition of the 1940 Liddell and Scott with the Revised Supplement makes it the first place and the easiest place to look for a Greek lemma, a Greek form that might appear in the body of the dictionary, or an English word in the dictionary's definitions. The electronic edition is, so to speak, a stand alone application, not troubled by difficulties in getting an internet connection or in there being a great deal of traffic on the internet, which causes delays. Most important, Logos Research Systems is working on fixing the problems of the electronic Liddell and Scott, and once the problems have been fixed an updated version will be "released at no cost to customers who have purchased" it, as Ben Swier, of Tech Support at Logos Research systems communicated to me in late June. I hope that the search function, not a part of the electronic edition, but part of the Libronix Digital Library, will be improved so that diacritical marks can be taken into account. I would also like to mention that Logos Research is in the preliminary stages of preparing an electronic edition of The Oxford Latin Dictionary.

[[For a response to this review by Daniel Foster, please see BMCR 2005.09.07.]]

Read Latest
Index for 2005
Change Greek Display
Archives
Books Available for Review
BMCR Home

HTML generated at 13:30:22, Friday, 03 April 2009