The Mongolian Explanatory Dictionary in 36 Volumes (Summery)
Tomes I-V, 453 pp., 2005, ISBN 99929-61-13-9
Tome VI, 514 pp., 2003, ISBN 99929-5-823-5
Tome VII, 480 pp., 2005, ISBN 99929-61-01-5
Tome VIII, 399 pp., 2006, ISBN 99929-61-18-X
There is a very significant monument in Mongolia related to Mongolian linguistics. It is called „The Mongolian explanatory Dictionary in 36 volumes“. It is virtually unknown by mongolist´s and has not been generally available recently. Two handwritten versions of this work are kept in the State Central Library in Ulaanbaatar.
A person. Purev produced a version during the dual theocratic monarchy and presented it to the Bogda Jibzundamba hagan. Therefore he was bestowed the honour of „Gung of writin“ and named Purbu gung. It appears to be written in the years 1913-1914 though this is unconfirmed. However there is no doubt that the dictionary was produced during the dual theocratic monarchy between the years 1911-1921. This dictionary was brought into the State Central Library in 1924 with the books of Bogda hagan who was the king of Autonomous Mongolia.
The complete set is comprised of 44 volumes, 8 of which are the indexes and others are (36) dictionaries. There ist a block printed book named „Xan-i araxa monggi me toγtobuxa manju gisun-ibuleku bidke“ („ The dictionary in manchu words edited by king“). Mongolian words in version of Purbu gung were handwritten with red ink brush beside manchu words on the block printed book. Purbu gung’s dictionary has no preface.
Batu-Ochir and Mishig who were active members oft he Mongolian Institute of Scieces (previous name ist the Literary committee) produced the other version of the dictionary. Starting it in 1921 and completing it in 1927. They named it „The explanatory dictionary in mongolian words“. There are 37 volumes in the set, 1 of which is table of contents. Its length is 27 cm and the width is 26,5 cm. Volumes I, II, III have green cotton covers while the rest have red cotton covers. It was written with a black chinese ink brush on coarse chinese writting paper. It has no preface, colophon or indexes.
All the components in the two versions match exactly. But the style is a little different. Batu-Ochir and Mishig’s dictionary has more words than Purbu gung’s dictionary because they put synonyms beside the head words. Batu-Ochir and Mishig copied the head words from a work called „A dictionary in four languages“. The older work had been produced around 1779. „The explanatory dictionary in 36 volumes“ is an explantation of the mongolian words in the „A dictionary in five languages“ that was printed in China last year (2004). Therefore the mongolian words in „A dictionary in four languages“ and „A dictionary in five languages“ are the same. So these dictionaries are connected with and make up each other and together make a complete work.
“The exaplanatory dictionary in 36 volumes” is a normative dictionary of the mongolian language.
“The exaplanatory dictionary in 36 volumes” is based on “The exaplanatory dictionary in 21 volumes”. The preface of “The exaplanatory dictionary in 21 volumes” contains rules that carefully control and guide through the mongolian language so that errors and interruotion will not enter in for many years to come.
It is possible to learn from “The exaplanatory dictionary in 36 volumes” how the mongolian lexis was generally understood between 1718 and 1779. It has examples of mongolian grammar structure and some interesting points on how the ancient scholars understood and explained various lexical occurrences.
The foundation of “The exaplanatory dictionary in 21 volumes” was started in 1710 and completed in 1717. This dictionary was produced by printing block.