Barn News

Old Time Ways, Old Time Words

micheles dictionary collection 2As we approach the long-awaited debut of To Make As Perfectly As Possible: Roubo on Marquetry, (my first documents for this project are over six years old!) it is worth reflecting for a minute on the unsung heroes for our completion, the tools that were integral to the whole project.  Those tools were Michele Pagan’s lovingly assembled collection of French dictionaries going back more that 200 years.  Notwithstanding the fact that French was one of the first Western languages to be standardized, the usage of words and expressions has changed over the decades and centuries.  One phenomenon that Michele noticed was the change in dictionaries over time.  In some early editions, the definition of a word would rank the likely usages in a particular order, but in the ensuing editions over 250 years, new usage emphases emerged while others receded and some disappeared altogether.


Once our remaining Roubo projects are finished in four or five years, it is unlikely that these precious word repositories will be retired.  Michele now has a taste for the hunt for words, and she will keep on translating old time words on behalf of collaborators passionate about old time ways.