Things have been quiet around here on the blog as we’ve spent much of June gearing up for the next edition, which we hope to have out any day now. Frustratingly, something that used to work — Punic and Phoenician fonts — now no longer seems to work across all browsers and platforms, so our technical guru has been working on trouble shooting this, and we will delay the next edition until we have things sorted out.
Recently we did a bit of number crunching looking at the distribution of citations across centuries, to see where our sources skew towards. Not surprisingly, the bulk of our citations come from the 16th century, and for the most part, the earlier you go, the fewer citations we have. One curious exception is the 15th century: For reasons we don’t entirely understand yet, we have fewer 15th C citations than from each of the three preceding centuries. Here you can take a look at the numbers:
The blocks in blue indicate the number of citations from that century which will be included in the next edition; the pink blocks indicate the number of citations that still need to be reviewed for inclusion (most of them are currently omitted due to the entries that they would be included in needing to be written). Our database currently has over 55,000 entries, and it’s pleasing to see that the vast majority of them we have successfully identified. The remainder, though, are often hapax legomena, and some of them may prove to be intractable. The etymological origins of ordinary hapax legomena can often be at least partially determined with the help of context; the special semantic status of proper names means that that technique is not available. We will try to be as optimistic about these names as we can, but at some point we are going to have to start putting entries into the dictionary whose etymology is “uncertain” or in worse cases “unknown”. Luckily, with publishing online, we are always able to revise in the future when new information comes to light!