The first two fascicles of volume 2 of the Mittelhochdeutsche Wörterbuch (henceforth MWB) cover respectively the lemmas êvüegerin-gemeilic and gemeinde-geværlich in 660 columns across 330 pages, including four double-columned pages of additional sources and bibliographical entries. Prices in the bibliographical information given above reflect the one-time purchase and subscriber prices, the latter having been set to €69.90 after a previous rate of €56. This first section of vol. 2 is dedicated to Karl Stackmann, one of the project's head editors, who passed away shortly before it was printed in 2013. In addition to the main editorial team, the MWB team cooperates across divisions at the Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur Mainz (Universities of Trier and Mainz; Niels Bohnert, Birgit Herbers, Ralf Plate, and Jingning Tao; Lieferung 1 here); the Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen (Susanne Baumgarte, Luise Czajkowski, Gerhard Diehl, Stefan Graën, Anita Hellmich, Jonas Richter, and Holger Runow; Lieferung 2 here); and the EDV Arbeitsstelle in Trier (Ute Recker-Hamm), where the digital editing takes place. Packaged with each new Doppellieferung is a CD-ROM that allows one to search the text of the dictionary in its current state of completion.
Released since 2006 in fascicles, the finished work will appear in five volumes of about 1,000-1,200 pages in 2025; the complete first volume, a-êvrouwe (ca. 2200 columns), appeared in 2013 and collects the first four double fascicles of 2006-11. The lexical inventory of the MWB covers the period 1050-1350 and is derived from a wide variety of literary, religious, cartulary, legal, historical, and scientific texts. From the first two groups a particularly broad range of genres and text types have been selected, from prose to verse romance to the lyric and including the mystic writers, whose often unusual vocabularies add to the richness of usage data in the dictionary. As with the other eight sections in four double releases that comprise the first volume, the structure of this partial volume is a two-column layout (each column is 64 lines, numbered increments of five) with headwords in bold text, part-of-speech abbreviations and modern German definitions in italic text, examples in normal text, and source abbreviations in small capitals. When an entry requires multiple meanings and usage variants, these are listed numerically with sub-variants in decimal form. Orthographic variations direct the user toward the main entry with the → symbol. Full entries range from three lines to multiple pages, e.g., the extensive entry for gëben, which spans nearly twelve columns over seven pages for the verb form alone and ends at variant 18.4. Included with the text is a CD-ROM containing the contents of vol. 1 (2224 columns) and the first portion of vol. 2 (662 columns) in the form of a single PDF file. This offers several advantages: it is cross-platform compatible (the present reviewer opened it in a Linux distribution); one can perform full-text search within the file; and the full source list and abbreviation list are available, unlike in the printed fascicle, which only includes the addenda after vol. 1 was printed. The 20 MB PDF file consists of 1521 pages with a left navigation pane that bookmarks the letters A-E and G (as is standard practice in MHG dictionaries, F redirects the reader to V). For the dictionary subscriber these files offer convenience and early access to the fullest available state of the dictionary at each stage of production, but will be rendered obsolete the moment that the online version catches up to the full printed volumes. Since that is not scheduled until 2025, it remains a useful tool alongside the other electronic options. Whether the non-subscriber will find the price of the double fascicles worth paying at each new release remains to be seen, particularly since the online version is not hopelessly far behind the printed versions.
This project cannot be discussed without reference to its large internet presence, namely the parallel development of the MWB Online () and its inclusion in the Wörterbuchnetz project of the Kompetenzzentrum für elektronische Erschließungs- und Publikationsverfahren in den Geisteswissenschaften at the University of Trier (Trier Center for Digital Humanities). MWB Online publishes not only an electronic version of the dictionary but also a list of headwords, a database of usage passages, and the complete text database from which they are drawn. The current publication state of the online dictionary is vol. 1, fascicle 5/6 (stated last update: 20 August 2010). A networked selection of lexical resources for Middle High German within the Wörterbuchnetz () allows one to compare available entries from the MWB with the Mittelhochdeutsches Wörterbuch of Benecke/Müller/Zarncke (BMZ) and the Mittelhochdeutsches Handwörterbuch and Nachträge of Lexer (Lexer and NLexer), as well as the Findebuch zum Mittelhochdeutschen Wortschatz--in other words, the dictionaries the MWB seeks to replace and the current essential resources for any study of Middle High German lexis. One of the main advantages of the internet version over both the printed and PDF versions is that citations are linked to selections from the text passages in which they occur and highlight the word in context. This saves time and combines some of the utility of the Mittelhochdeutsche Begriffsdatenbank with the primary goals of the dictionary, e.g., full lines in context or rhyme pairs.
To illustrate the editorial principles and decisions of the MWB I will compare several entries from the double fascicle under discussion to the entries in the standard dictionaries: a shorter example (gëlfrôt) unique to the MWB, a longer example (gëben), a word (geloubelîn) used pejoratively, and a word (geschræje) that is textkritisch problematisch. Gëlfrôt, Adj. Adv., "glänzend rot, purpurrot," is built from the fem. root gëlfe, gëlpfe, "Glanz" (the masc. gëlf, gëlpf, "Brüllen, Bellen," also appears as a verb but is otherwise not the source of the root in the derived compounds and other forms of gëlfe, gëlpfe). In one of the MWB passages this color term translates Lat. coccin(e)um, "scarlet." Neither BMZ nor Lexer offer gëlfrôt, while MWB lists three examples, all from Die Prophetenübersetzung des Claus Cranc. Clearly the wider scope of source materials is responsible for the additional headword, and the thoroughness of the MWB is in this respect a boon to the researcher of word formation, derivation, etc. For example, BMZ also lacks gëlfwort, stN, "'lebhafte' oder 'vermessene' Worte, Rede."
Gëben is a massive entry at 783 lines. It begins with a note on the contracted forms gist, gît, gên etc., the sometimes lack of the participial prefix ge-, and a reference to the Mittelhochdeutsche Grammatik. The number and shades of meanings and usage are too numerous to list individually, but it is worth noting the addition of phrases such as those in 9.2 under 9 (jmdn./sich einer Sache preisgeben, aussetzen, ausliefern), e.g., sich an daz kriuze, ze marter, an den tôt [geben]. Such phrases cannot be found in Lexer, but do appear in section 9 (mit Präp.) in BMZ. While the latter offers many more examples, most of them give variants on object types and prepositions rather than set phrases. Of the ten sections for the entry in BMZ all are accounted for in the MWB, while some of the additions in the latter include mostly transparent idiomatic forms such as 11, zum Mann, zur Frau geben, verheiraten. The greatest difference, however, is one of organization with regard to prefixed forms: Lexer lists all of the prefixed variants at the end of the entry, BMZ provides übergeben and aufgeben in the entry and leaves the rest unmentioned, and MWB provides hin- and hergeben as the final section with no reference to other prefixed forms in the main entry.
Geloubelîn, stN., "kleiner Glaube," is found in Heinrich von Kröllwitz's ûz Missen Vater Unser and is present in Lexer, BMZ, and MWB with one addition in the new dictionary--pejorativ. At present this type of information must be sought out by hand, but the MWB Online interface will support not only lemma searches but also search within the text of lexicographical commentary, making these notes about usage an advantageous feature. Consequently, one could also search for various other data, such as nouns that can be fem. and masc. or every entry marked with (?).The feature is already built into the web search interface but is not currently selectable; if one has access to the PDF version on the CD-ROM, the entire text is available for search.
Geschræje, stF., "Unwetter," appears in Diu Crône as geschrey. BMZ gives the same reading as MWB, geschre(y/i) → geschræ(je), and the gloss Regen, Unwetter, but concludes that the substantive is stN., while Lexer provides only stF., geschrâ from the same passage. The difference is small, but here the MWB provides the fullest report on the hapax, also noting zu schræjen oder geschrâ anzusetzten. The headword geschrâ redirects to geschræje. As a final note on individual entries, genôzunge gives no German gloss before the text sample, but glosses the MHG word in the passage with Lat. societas. I have not found other examples of this oversight.
Reviewing a fascicle must necessarily take into account the overall purpose, direction, and state of the whole work of which it is part. At this still-early stage in the production of such a massive work, the high standards of the editorial teams and the accessibility of what has been completed to this point stand out. The MWB will undoubtedly become the standard lexicographical reference work for MHG for generations, and, as mentioned previously, its scope and thoroughness combine the best features of the dictionaries it will replace with the many benefits of electronic resources. The metaphor of the dwarf standing on the shoulders of a giant springs to mind--in this case, one giant is atop another, allowing us to see twice as far. There are lexicographical projects born digital and those born in print, but the MWB offers the best of both worlds from its conception. Given the necessary lengthy gestation of such a project, this was a wise decision.