Old English etymologies in Christfrid Ganander’s <i>Nytt Finskt Lexicon</i> (1787)

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Christfrid Ganander&#8217;s (1741&#8211;1790) Nytt Finskt Lexicon is the first etymological Finnish dictionary. Due to unfavourable circumstances, it was not published in the author&#8217;s lifetime but it did survive in manuscript form. The dictionary, which has more than 30,000 headwords, contains close on 50 Old English lexemes given as etymological counterparts of Finnish words in 45 entries. The present article has two main aims: first, to show in the light of our present knowledge to what extent the Old English etymologies are valid or erroneous, and secondly, to try to trace the sources Ganander utilized for his etymological discussions. It turns out that almost one half of Ganander&#8217;s Old English etymologies are mistaken. It would be wrong, however, to pass a severe judgment on Ganander as a lexicographer. Seen against the background of similar efforts in his own time, Ganander&#8217;s lexicographical achievement is valuable even in the area of etymology.


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