5.0. Vocabularius familiaris et compendiosus

The Vocabularius familiaris et compendiosus is a pre-Renaissance Latin-French dictionary, printed in Rouen by an atelier which first belonged to Guillaume Le Talleur and later to Martin Morin (see 4.2.11.). All known copies of the first edition lack a title page. The incipit reads: The colophon does not mention the printer's name or location, nor does it bear a date: The first edition is assumed to be the work of Le Talleur, and to be dated c.1490.

The VFC is a large dictionary. The first edition comprises 672 pages, two columns per page, fifty lines per column, and contains 439,000 words. It was typeset in two stages (probably by two different workers): letters 'A' to 'H', and letters 'I' to 'Z'. There are 1-3/4 blank columns between the two parts of the text. Verdier (1916: 120f.) praises the handsome font, the correctness of the typography, and even the superior quality of the paper in the VFC, calling it "Le Talleur's most remarkable work".

The second edition of the VFC bears the title:

followed by Morin's plaque, and below that the name and location of the bookseller: The incipit is the same as that in the first edition, as is the colophon apart from the addition of a date: The way in which the date is printed has given rise to much speculation about the year of printing: is it 1500? or is it 1518? We incline to the earlier date (despite the error concerning the calends of August) for two reasons: 1) the variation in the type between century and year - we believe the typesetter would probably not have switched from upper to lower case in the middle of the date; and 2) the length of time between editions - we feel it is unlikely that Morin would have printed a second edition of the VFC after a lapse of more than a quarter of a century.

The second edition contains 316 pages, two columns per page and fifty-two lines per column. The font is different from that in the first edition, and the hand-lettered initials have been replaced by large woodcut initials. The division into two parts is not repeated. The second edition is a careful copy of the first, and there are few changes of substance.

Morin often completes paradigms of inflections by adding endings such as .onis, .tis, .a, .um, etc. He occasionally adds material in Latin or French to existing articles:

or inserts a new article: Morin omits a large number of connectors, such as .i., et, vel, dicitur, inde, and so on. Most, although not all, of the omissions relating to definitions are items which also occur elsewhere in the text. Some examples are:

5.1. Sources of the Vocabularius familiaris et compendiosus

In the incipit and the colophon, Le Talleur cites his sources in a conventional fashion reminiscent of that of Le Ver (see note 47): Balbi, Papias, Hugutio and other authorities. Just as with the DLV, there is no doubt that these works (in particular, the Catholicon) are the origin of a large portion of the VFC. However, we do not believe that Le Talleur drew his material directly from them.

It is possible that he copied much of it from the DLV. (We have discussed the relationship among the GGL, DLV and VFC in 2.5.5.). Research in progress  [81] may determine the precise filiation. We do not attempt to propose a solution here. Rather, we present some of the similarities and some of the differences between the DLV and the VFC.

5.1.1. Dictionarius of Firmin Le Ver and Vocabularius familiaris et compendiosus

The primary distinction between the VFC and the DLV lies in the organization of the macrostructure. As we have seen in 2.5.6., Le Ver had a three-step plan which he followed almost without exception:
  1. lemmata are organized alphabetically
  2. sub-lemmata are arranged hierarchically following their lemmata
  3. the two levels are distinguished visually:
    1. from the rest of the text - both lemmata and sub-lemmata are set flush against the left margin, and
    2. from each other - lemmata begin with a large coloured initial, usually alternating red and blue, sometimes just red, and sub-lemmata begin with a regular initial in the same brown ink as the rest of the text.
In the VFC the visual distinction between lemmata and sub-lemmata is lost in the printing. Le Talleur did not have at his disposal the technical means to recreate this effect. Another feature of the DLV which Le Talleur abandoned is the system of grammatical indicators set against the right-hand column margin.

More importantly, the derivational relationship between lemma and sub-lemmata and the hierarchical relationship among the derivatives breaks down. At times the lemma is moved in order to take up an alphabetical position. (In principle, the VFC is ordered alphabetically, although this system is not always followed.) Very often a long article in DLV is divided into shorter ones, and the derivational sequence is interrupted. We see both of these choices in the following example.

Exhibit 32: Article Cibus in the Dictionarius of Firmin Le Ver
and the Vocabularius familiaris et compendiosus
CIBUS, cibi - viande victus, epulum, esca et dicitur a capio, capis quia capitur ore m
Cibosus .sa .sum - cibo plenus et comparatur .i. plains et abundans en viandes o
Cibositas .tatis - abundance de viande f
Ciborium .rii - quoddam vas ad cibos deferndos vaissiel a mettre viandes, gard de mendier
Ciborina .rine - cuisine .i. coquina, fulina, popina, culina, quilina f
Cibutum .ti - archa cibaria .i. arche, huche a mettre viandes n
Cibo .bas .batum - .i. cibum dare .i. paistre, donner mengier, repaistre, unde verbalia act
Cibatus .ta .tum - repeus de viande o
Cibatus .tus .tui - .i. comestio mengerie comestio, esus, edulium m
Cibarium .rii - .i. cibus viande alimonia, annona, victus, alimentum n
Cibarius .a .um - de viande .i. quod pertinent ad cibum et dicitur a cibus o
Cibe, cibarum - pluraliter - .i. tessere quadrate, scilicet taxilii dés a jouer aux dés - a cibo .bas dicitur f
Cibo .bas componitur Concibo .bas simul cibare -
Decibo .bas cibum auferre - Excibo .bas idem vel perfecte cibare - Percibo .cibas perfecte cibare - Recibo .bas iterum cibare - Succibo .bas latenter vel parum cibare
Cibo .bas et omnia eius composita sunt activa et corripitur 'ci'
Cibarium .rii - .i. cibus viande .i. alimonia, frumentum, annona victus et dicitur a cibo .as et Cibarius .a .um de viande quod pertinet ad cibum
Cibo .bas - paistre, donner a mengier .i. cibos dare - unde verbalia et componitur Concibo .bas .batum simul cibare - Decibo .bas cibum auferre - Excibo .bas - Percibo .bas idem .i. perfecte cibare - Recibo .bas .i. iterum cibare - Succibo .bas latenter cibare - inde Cibatus .tus .tui mengerie, commestion et dicitur a cibo .bas et adiective declinatur: Cibatus .ta .tum peu de viandes ou peu mengié - Cibo .as et omnia eius composita sunt activa et corripitur 'ci'
Cibeles .lis et Cibele .lis - feminini generis - mater deorum - dicitur a cibo .bas - .i. terra que cibaria confert vel a cubon, quod interpretatur solidum vel firmum, vel a Cibelo monte in quo colitur - inde Cibelus .la .lum, possessivum, et Cibeleus .a .um idem
Ciborina .ne - cuisine .i. coquina, fulina, culina, popina
Ciborium .rii - vessel a mettre viandes .i. vas ad deferendum cibos
Cibosus .sa .sum - plain de viandes cibo plenus - comparatur et dicitur a cibus - inde Cibositas .tis abundance, planté de viandes plenitudo ciborum
Cibus .bi - viande victus, epulum, esca et dicitur a capio .pis quia capitur ore
Cibutum - huche a mettre viande arca cibaria

The fourteen items from DLV are divided into eight in VFC. The lemma, Cibus, is moved to its appropriate alphabetical location (although alphabetical order is not strictly observed), and the derivational sequence is entirely lost, particularly since the derivatives (most of which are now lemmata) are interrupted by two other lemmata not belonging to the word family.

The key point to be kept in mind, however, is that despite their dispersion in VFC, the basic articles (lemmata + treatment in Latin and/or in French) are often very similar in both dictionaries. There are a large number in which both the Latin and French content are virtually identical:

or are very close: The VFC is also distinct from the DLV by reason of its smaller size. It is roughly four-fifths the size of the DLV. Moreover, a substantial quantity of its lemmata do not occur in DLV (20 percent. of the lemmata in the letter 'A'). They must have been added by Le Talleur. Finally, the amount of French in VFC is less (12.3 percent. of the total text against 15.6 percent. in DLV).

5.1.2. Vocabularius breviloquus

The total number of lemmata in the letter 'A' in VFC is 2,890, in contrast with 3,629 in DLV. 261 (or eleven percent) of VFC's lemmata in the letter 'A' do not occur in DLV, and approximately 325 of those in DLV are not found in VFC.

A major portion of the 261 lemmata not found in DLV were probably drawn from a large Latin dictionary, the Vocabularius breviloquus (VB). The German humanist and reformer Johannes Reuchlin compiled the VB during a stay in Switzerland, at the request of the Amerbach brothers, printers of Basle. It was first printed in 1475 and was reprinted many times, by them and by French and German printers. The principal source of VB is the fourteenth-century manuscript Latin-German Vocabularius brevilogus, which is itself based on the Catholicon, althouth Reuchlin also drew on other authorities, including Papias's Elementarium.

Research presently in progress  [82] shows that many of the lemmata added to VFC over those in DLV occur in the Catholicon, Elementarium and VB:

Twenty percent of the additions (53 lemmata) are not found in DLV, VB, Catholicon or Papias. For example: Many of these 53 lemmata belong to an etymological family already present in the dictionary. We take these instances as evidence of Le Talleur's lexicographical spirit.

5.2. Conclusion

The Vocabularius familiaris et compendiosus is a comprehensive, well-organized and handsomely printed dictionary but it is, to all intents and purposes, a medieval dictionary. It had outlived its era at the time of its second printing, on the threshold of the sixteenth century.

The VFC was destined to be replaced within a very short time by Latin and bilingual dictionaries such as those of Calepino and Estienne.

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