John Richardson (orientalist)

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John Richardson (1740/41–1795), FAS of Wadham College, Oxford, was the editor of the first Persian-Arabic-English dictionary in 1778–1780.[1] His seminal work on Persian grammar, written in collaboration with Sir William Jones, was noteworthy amongst the early works on this subject; and it remains significant in the context of that philological foundation from which all subsequent grammatical studies were to evolve.[2]

Richardson's scholarly compilation was organized in a format similar to Mesgnien-Meninski's Thesaurus Linguarum Orientalis, Turcicæ, Arabicæ, Persicæ (1680).[1]

Each book in the two-volume set was sold separately; many more of the first part (the Persian-Arabic-English volume) were sold than the second part (the English-Persian-Arabic volume). When booksellers found themselves with an overstock of first edition broken sets, a greater number of copies of the second edition's first book were printed.[1]

Richardson's ground-breaking scholarship was more broadly disseminated in Charles Wilkins' several revised versions of the dictionary.[3] Subsequent work by the 19th century philologists Francis Johnson, Francis Joseph Steingass and others ensured that Richardson's name continued to be well known as an orientalist and as a scholar.

Selected works[edit]

Richardson's reputation has been burnished by the work of subsequent lexicographers who have revised and extended his work.

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