An Icelandic-English Dictionary

Richard Cleasby and Gudbrand Vigfusson, Oxford, 1874.

Semantic Tags

Sean Crist's original plan was far more ambitious than simply creating a corrected online version of several dictionaries – rather, he wanted to create a sophisticated etymology database using the information in all of these dictionaries. As the first step towards this goal, he needed to create fully tagged XML versions of each dictionary in order to parse the information into a database for further analysis.

My goal is much simpler: I just want an online-dictionary that's easy to use and allows for searching the different types of information in the dictionary in a targetted manner (e.g., headwords vs. quotes; definitions vs. translations of quotes; etc.) I initially converted this project to HTML5 to ensure proper support of Unicode and embedded fonts; but, I soon learned that HTML5 emphasizes the use of semantic tags, moving any desired formatting to CSS stylesheets. My purpose in adopting these semantic tags was to provide a way to implement targetted searching. However, this also presents an opportunity to realize a modified version of Sean's first goal, albeit using semantic tags in HTML5 rather than pure XML. Please, feel free to use the tagged versions of these pages for other purposes/analyses.

I use the following tags to denote specific elements of the dictionary entries. I've attempted to give them contrasting colors here to aid in spotting errors; it looks awful, but should help in catching problems.

Example entry:

haft and hapt, n. [hafa], properly a handcuff; sprettr mér af fótum fjöturr, en af höndum haft, Hm. 150, 149: then generally a bond, chain, harðgör höft ór þörmum, Vsp. (Hb.); sitja í höftum, to be in fetters as a prisoner, Mar. 11; fætr hans váru í höptum, Mork. 205; leysa e-n ór höftum, Ls. 37; halda e-n í höftum, to keep one in bonds, Fb. i. 378; at hann er óðr ok hann má koma höftum á hann ef hann vill, Gþl. 149: the hobbles or tether fastened to a horse’s leg, taka af, leggja á haft; ef haft er áfast hrossi, Grág. i. 436, freq. in mod. usage, cp. hefta: so in the phrase, verða e-m at hafti, to be a hindrance or stumbling-block to one, Nj. (in a verse). haft-bönd, n. pl. fetter-bonds, Fas. iii. 17.

II. metaph., pl. gods (as band II. 3), Edda 96.

compds: hafta-guð, n. the god of gods, the supreme god, of Odin, Edda 14. hafta-snytrir, m. the friend of the gods, Haustl. haft-sœni, n. the atonement (Germ. sühne) of the gods, i.e. poetry, Korm.; cp. the tale in Edda 47.

<p><dfn id="haft">haft</dfn> and <dfn>hapt,</dfn> <mark class="info">n. </mark><mark class="etym">[hafa]</mark>, <mark class="def">properly <em>a handcuff;</em></mark> <q>sprettr mér af fótum fjöturr, en af höndum haft,</q> <cite>Hm. 150, 149: </cite><mark class="def">then generally <em>a bond, chain,</em></mark> <q>harðgör höft ór þörmum,</q> <cite>Vsp. (Hb.); </cite><q>sitja í höftum,</q> <mark class="trans"><em>to be in fetters</em> as a prisoner,</mark> <cite>Mar. 11; </cite><q>fætr hans váru í höptum,</q> <cite>Mork. 205; </cite><q>leysa e-n ór höftum,</q> <cite>Ls. 37; </cite><q>halda e-n í höftum,</q> <mark class="trans"><em>to keep one in bonds,</em></mark> <cite>Fb. i. 378; </cite><q>at hann er óðr ok hann má koma höftum á hann ef hann vill,</q> <cite>Gþl. 149: </cite><mark class="def"><em>the hobbles</em> or <em>tether</em> fastened to a horse’s leg,</mark> <q>taka af, leggja á haft; ef haft er áfast hrossi,</q> <cite>Grág. i. 436, </cite><mark class="info">freq. in mod. usage,</mark> <mark class="disc">cp. <a href="#hefta">hefta</a>: so in the phrase, <q>verða e-m at hafti,</q> <mark class="trans"><em>to be a hindrance</em> or <em>stumbling-block to one,</em></mark> <cite>Nj. (in a verse). </cite></mark><dfn>haft-bönd,</dfn> <mark class="def"><mark class="info">n. pl. </mark><em>fetter-bonds,</em></mark> <cite>Fas. iii. 17. </cite></p>

<p class="hangingindent2"><b class="head">II.</b> <mark class="def"><mark class="info">metaph., pl.</mark> <em>gods</em></mark> (<mark class="disc">as <a href="b.php">band II. 3</a></mark>), <cite>Edda 96. </cite></p>

<p class="hangingindent2"><strong class="head">compds:</strong> <dfn>hafta-guð,</dfn> <mark class="info">n. </mark><mark class="def"><em>the god of gods, the supreme god,</em> of Odin,</mark> <cite>Edda 14. </cite><dfn>hafta-snytrir,</dfn> <mark class="info">m. </mark><mark class="def"><em>the friend of the gods,</em></mark> <cite>Haustl. </cite><dfn>haft-sœni,</dfn> <mark class="info">n. </mark><mark class="def"><em>the atonement</em> <mark class="etym">(Germ. <em>sühne</em>)</mark> <em>of the gods,</em> i.e. poetry,</mark> <cite>Korm.;</cite> <mark class="disc">cp. the tale in <cite>Edda 47.</cite></mark></p>

Tagging Errors

The dictionary entries were formatted consistently enough that I used regular expressions to apply most of these tags. However, there are places that confused the regular expressions for one reason or another and need to be fixed by hand. I'm in the process of fixing these, along with the numerous OCR errors that remain in the text.

If you find errors with the semantic tags, formatting errors, OCR errors, and/or internal references that need a link, please let me know.

—Scott Burt, 2019