20th-century Soviet-Russian dictionary front matter

focus on the linguistic norm


  • Donna M. T. Cr. Farina New Jersey City University




Dictionary front matter, Russian dictionaries, Linguistic norm, Standard language, Prescriptivism, Descriptivism


Two iconic twentieth-century print dictionaries provide a sampling of dictionary front matter in the Soviet–Russian lexicographic tradition; they demonstrate how front matter was used for overt and covert messaging about the linguistic norm. First is the one-volume bilingual English–Russian dictionary of Vladimir Karlovich Müller, and second is the one-volume monolingual Russian dictionary of Sergei Ivanovich Ozhegov; later it was published with Ozhegov and Nataliia Iul’evna Shvedova listed as co-authors. Both dictionaries were revised and reprinted over many decades. Only two editions of each dictionary are in focus, although there were more than sixty editions of Müller, 23 of Ozhegov, and several of Ozhegov and Shvedova.



Fowler, H.W., F.G. Fowler, and E. McIntosh. 1956. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English, 4th ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Gal’perin, I. R. 1972. Bol’shoi Anglo-russkii slovar’ (Large English–Russian Dictionary) 2 vols. Moscow: “Sovetskaia èntsiklopediia”.

Merriam–Webster Learner’s Dictionary. https://learnersdictionary.com/. Accessed 15 Oct 2019.

Merriam–Webster’s Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary. 2008. Ed. S. J. Perrault. Springfeld, Massachusetts: Merriam–Webster, Incorporated.

Miuller, V. K. 1943. Anglo-russkii slovar’ (Müller, V. K. English–Russian Dictionary). [2nd ed. 1946; 7th ed., frst pub. 1960.] Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo inostrannykh i natsional’nykh slovarei.

Miuller, V. K. and S. K. Boianus. 1928. Anglo-russkii slovar (English–Russian Dictionary). Moscow: Aktsionernoe obshchestvo “Sovetskaia èntsiklopedia.” [3rd ed. 1937, corrected and revised, Moscow: Gosudarstvennyi in-t “Sovetskaia èntsiklopediia”.]

Ozhegov, S. I. 1960. Slovar’ russkogo iazyka (Dictionary of Russian) 4th ed. Moskva: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo inostrannykh i natsional’nykh slovarei.

Ozhegov, S. I. 1989. Slovar’ russkogo iazyka (Dictionary of Russian) 21st ed. Moskva: "Russkii iazyk”.

Ozhegov, S. I. and N. Iu. Shvedova. 1993. Tolkovyi slovar’ russkogo iazyka (Explanatory Dictionary of the Russian Language). Moskva: “AZ”.

Ushakov, D. N. 1935–1940. Tolkovyi slovar’ russkogo iazyka (Explanatory Dictionary of the Russian Language). Moscow: Gosudarstvennyi institut “Sovetskaia èntsiklopediia.”

Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary. 1953. [6th ed., frst pub. 1949.] Springfeld, Mass., U.S.A: G. & C. Merriam Co.

Webster’s New International Dictionary of the English Language, 2nd ed. unabridged. 1934. Springfeld, Mass., U.S.A: G. & C. Merriam Company.

Other literature

Ermolovich, D. I. 2011. Otkryvaia Miullera: ocherk / Miuller, V. K. Osnovnye printsipy i metody sostavleniia anglo-russkogo slovaria: stat’ia [prepared for press and edited by D. I. Ermolovich]. Moscow: R. Valent.

Farina, Donna M. T. Cr. 1994. Marrism and Soviet lexicography. In Cultures, ideologies and the dictionary, eds. Braj B. Kachru and Henry Kahane. (Lexicographica, Series Maior, 64.) Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 153–170.

Filin, F. P., ed. 1979. Russkii iazyk: Èntsiklopediia [s.v. Ozhegov.] Moscow: Izdatel’stvo “Sovetskaia èntsiklopediia”.

Mazière, Francine. 1985. Le dictionnaire déshabillé par se préfaces. In Lexique et institutions (Lexique 3), eds. Pierre Corbin, Anne-Marie Berthonneau, and Danielle Corbin, 33–45. Lille: Presses Universitaires de Lille.

Skvortsov, L. I. 2003. Sergei Ivanovich Ozhegov. In Otechestvennye lingvisty XX c., Pt. 2, ed. F. M. Berezin. Moscow: INION RAN, 32–55. https://web.archive.org/web/20160714093741/https://inion.ru/fles/File/2003_otech_lingvist_2.pdf. Accessed 15 Oct 2019.



How to Cite

Farina, D. (2020). 20th-century Soviet-Russian dictionary front matter: focus on the linguistic norm. Lexicography, 7(1-2), 115–122. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40607-020-00064-z