Greg Lindahl’s home page links (under “Publishing”) to a series of Renaissance books he’s hosting, including a couple of dictionaries, Cotgrave’s A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues (and its associated proverbs) and Florio’s Italian/English Dictionary, both from 1611; there are also books on fencing, dancing, music, and needlework, among others. In case you were wondering, Lindahl’s motivation has to do with the Society for Creative Anachronism, whose adherents go to a great deal of trouble to achieve authenticity. (Via misteraitch‘s MetaFilter post.)


  1. Florio’s Dictionary gives an interesting description of how English was spoken in 1611. He states that:
    The ‘e’ in the Italian ‘vedere’ [e] must be pronounced “as the English E or Ea as in Bell, Den, Deane, Fell, Flea, Meade, Quell, Sell, Tell”.
    The ‘e’ in the Italian ‘bello’ [ɛ] “as the Ai in English, as in these words Baile, Baine, Daine, Faile, Flaile, Maide, Quaile, Saile, Taile”
    The ‘o’ in the verbal form ‘rosa’ [o] “as the English single U in these wordes, Bun, Dug, Flud, Gud, Rud, Stun, Tun”.
    The ‘o’ in the noun ‘rosa’ [ɔ] “as our O in these wordes, Bone, Dog, Flow, God, Rod, Stone, Tone”.

  2. Gallica, a digital project of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, also has many interesting centuries-old dictionaries online.

  3. Sorry, the URL disappeared at preview: Gallica.

  4. I see that one of the works was taken directly from BNF. What are the legalities of that?

  5. This unrelated, but perhaps of interest, if you haven’t heard already.

  6. ..concerning the new language invented by Nicaraguan children)

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