REVIEW: A History of Roget’s Thesaurus: Origins, Development, and Design. By Werner Hüllen.
"Werner Hüllen makes a thoughtful, well-documented, and wide-ranging case for placing Peter Mark Roget’s (1779–1869) popular, and by now iconic, Thesaurus (1852) at what he claims is an important nexus in the history of linguistics, particularly in the sub-discipline of semantics. He argues that the Thesaurus is a “pivotal point” between the pre-theoretical thinking and “practical” work on deﬁnition and meaning “during the preceding centuries of European cultural history” (p. 324) and the history of semantics post–1852. In order to connect his work on Roget to the discourse of linguistics and the history of linguistics, Hüllen begins with a plain spoken assertion: “Roget’s Thesaurus is an outstanding work of English lexicography”; he follows quickly by calling the work “a real achievement in linguistics-based lexicography”, “a dictionary of synonyms”, “a topical dictionary” and “a topical dictionary of synonyms” (1ﬀ.). In order to support his claims, Hüllen sets himself three tasks: (1) “synonymy must be outlined as an experience of everyday linguistic behavior and in its more recent scientiﬁc conceptualizations”; (2) “the historical path of English dictionaries of synonyms must be charted” as well as (3) “the topical tradition of English lexicography” (5ﬀ.).