Early Chinese Thesauruses 釋名 Shiming and 爾雅 Erya: A Comparison

Natalya Guryan

Vostok/Oriens '2015, №2

The article focuses on a comparative study of the two ancient Chinese dictionaries – thesauruses Erya (the third century BCE) and Shiming (the third century CE). The paper focuses on the macrostructure of the Shiming (semantically divided chapters, word list). The main goal of the study is to describe the Shiming in comparison with the first Chinese dictionary Erya. This article examines Shiming’s seven semantically-arranged chapters defining concrete words that concern human activities: “Explaining drink and food” (No. 13), “Explaining colors and fabrics” (No. 14), “Explaining clothing” (No. 7), “Explaining beds and curtains” (No. 14), “Explaining clothing” (No. 16), “Explaining Utensils and Implements” (No. 21), “Explaining weapons” (No. 23) and “Explaining vehicles” (No. 24). A comparison of the word lists shows that the category in the Erya called “Explaining Utensils” was expanded in the Shiming to the seven above-mentioned categories.

Keywords: History of Chinese lexicography, ancient Chinese thesaurus, Shiming, Liu Xi, Erya, chapter organizations, glosses, nouns indicating things, ideographic groups

Pages: С. 54–69

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