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John of Garland's Dictionarius: Learning Latin in the Middle Ages - IAS Invited Lecture

The third lecture of the IAS Invited Lecture Series in Multilingual History of English, organised by the Faculty of English and convened by professors Matylda Włodarczyk and Marcin Krygier, will take place on May 13, 2022 at 3.00 p.m. CEST.

Dr Annina Seiler (University of Zurich)
“John of Garland's Dictionarius: Learning Latin in the Middle Ages”


John of Garland’s Dictionarius is a thirteenth-century Latin lexicographic work, which was originally conceived as a tool for teaching Latin through the medium of French. It survives in at least twenty-six manuscript copies disseminated across England and the Continent. The text immediately attracted glosses in other vernacular languages, as is attested in many of the surviving copies.

The Dictionarius is by no means a dictionary in the regular sense of the word; rather, it presents vocabulary in context. To engage his pupils’ interests, John takes them on a virtual walk through Paris and names the different objects one encounters there. Later copyists of the text not only added glosses in different vernacular languages, most notably Middle English, but also adjusted the layout to their different needs. The lecture introduces this engaging text and explores its complex multilingual makeup. It focuses particularly on the different layers of glosses, their functions and their relation to the base text. The text provides insights into medieval language learning and teaching and sheds light on the multilingual textual communities in England and on the Continent.

The lecture will be held on Zoom. Please register at

https://forms.office.com/r/93QMgMzaDF to receive the link to the online meeting.