Schmeller, Johann Andreas: Bayerisches Wörterbuch (Bavarian Dictionary)

The linguist and librarian Johann Andreas Schmeller (1785-1852) was one of the most important dialect researchers of the 19th century. Schmeller started working on his "Bayerisches Wörterbuch" ("Bavarian dictionary") in 1816. The first two parts of it were published in 1827 (vol.1, vol. 2), the third and fourth only in 1837 (vol. 3, vol. 4), after Schmeller had become curator ("Custos") at the Munich court library, today's Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, in 1829. The second edition of the dictionary, published in 1872 and 1877 by Georg Karl Frommann (1814-1887) has remained a standard work until today. With the "Bayerisches Wörterbuch" the new type of the historical dialect dictionary for a major geographic region was created, with many further dictionaries of the type to follow.

The concept of Schmeller's work was to compile a dialect dictionary of the complete kingdom of Bavaria of the time. The "Bayerisches Wörterbuch" contains only few Franconian entries and almost no Swabian entries, however, so that the Bavarian dialect is predominant. The dictionary documents not only the dialect spoken at the time of Schmeller. Rather, Schmeller also took account of the written tradition, primarily the manuscripts of the court library. The annotations to the individual entries furthermore contain ample cultural-historically and ethnologically relevant information.

The unusual subdivision of Schmeller's dictionary, which is not oriented on the usual alphabetic order, is confusing at the start. It is therefore recommended to consult the introduction "Nothwendige Vorbemerkungen" first. Using the dictionary is facilitated by the alphabetic comprehensive register in volume II compiled by Georg Karl Fromman.

>> This collection is part of the holdings of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Bavarian State Library).