Lexical Studies of
Medieval Galician-Portuguese Texts

Michael J. Ferreira
Francisco Gago-Jover &
Ernesto González-Seoane

The Lexical Studies of Medieval Galician-Portuguese Texts is an online bibliography listing concordances, glossaries, vocabularies and selected word studies for Galician-Portuguese texts written from the 13th until the 16th century. General works and Cancioneiro texts are granted their own category for browsing. Users may conduct searches for materials by keyword, or they may browse within particular texts or particular centuries. Within each section the order is alphabetical by editor or compiler; each entry is accompanied by a brief summary of the resource's contents and focus.

This online version of the Lexical Studies of Medieval Galician-Portuguese Texts is published under the auspices of the Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies and La corónica: A Journal of Medieval Hispanic Languages, Literatures & Cultures.


There is currently no dictionary of the medieval Galician-Portuguese language, and this despite a long history of attempts to prepare works with just such a title whose fundamental objective is the compilation and lexicographical study of the historical, and in particular, medieval, lexicon. Undoubtedly one of the pioneering works of this sort was Fr. Joaquim de Santa Rosa de Viterbo’s Elucidário das palavras, termos e frases que en Portugal antigamente se usaram e que hoje regularmente se ignoram (1798), which carries the significant subtitle “Obra indispensável para entender sem erro os documentos mais raros e preciosos que entre nós se conservam.” More recent works include H. Brunswick’s Diccionario da antiga linguágem portugueza, intercalado com grande número de vocábulos hodiernos de obscura significação (Lisbon, 1910), which was supposed to remedy the “contraridade que em qualquer consulente deve causar a grande deficiencia de vocábulos obsoletos que se nota em todos os diccionarios da lingua portugueza”, and Augusto Magne’s Dicionário da língua portuguesa, especialmente dos períodos medieval e clássico (Rio de Janeiro, 1950-1952), published in two volumes comprising entries from a to alicantrice. There are also more recent works, such as Joaquim Carvalho da Silva’s Dicionário da língua portuguesa medieval, now in its second edition (Londrina, 2009).

Despite what some of the titles seem to suggest, however, none of these works meets the modern-day expectations of a dictionary of the medieval language. This is due in large part to their outdated design and methodology, which might be described as an antiquarian perspective characterized by the selection, often arbitrary and always asystematic, of a lexical corpus of archaisms or archaic forms accompanied by little more than their modern language equivalent or a brief definition. It is true that among the above-mentioned works, Magne follows quite a different model—that of a general dictionary, enriched with historical-etymological information and illustrated with numerous textual fragments taken from medieval and classical texts—and yet even so, it cannot properly be considered a dictionary of medieval Galician-Portuguese.

Although dictionaries, strictly defined, may be lacking, we have other tools that can at least partially make up for their shortcomings. Thus, for example, António Geraldo da Cunha’s Vocabulário do português medieval (Rio de Janeiro, 2002), a CD-ROM that offers hyperlinked cross-references between medieval and modern Portuguese vocabulary, as well as examples of usage recorded from an extensive number of texts from the thirteenth to the fifteenth centuries. Despite some flaws, as indicated by Gago-Jover (Revista de lexicografía 10 (2003-04), pp. 191-201), it is an invaluable work for the study of the medieval lexicon. Another important work is Ernesto Gonzalez Seoane’s Dicionario de dicionarios do galego medieval, initially published on CD-ROM (Santiago de Compostela, 2006), but now also available on the web (http://sli.uvigo.es/DDGM). This electronic multidictionary brings together eleven glossaries and vocabularies drawn from individual and collected texts in medieval Galician (or Galician-Portuguese). The ability to consult full collections of texts and to perform a wide variety of searches are its main advantages. Its limitations stem from the heterogeneity of the collected works, many of which were prepared with different lexicographical criteria. Many of the texts that were used as primary sources were also published with varying criteria.

Even with such tools of a more general nature, it is still necessary to consult the concordances, indexes, lexicons, glossaries and partial vocabularies that often accompany critical editions of texts, whether in the form of appendices or as independent works, as they are sometimes conceived. The reliability and value of the information that they contain does vary tremendously, but they remain extraordinarily useful tools for lexicographers, etymologists and scholars of the medieval Galician-Portuguese lexicon. We hope that this bibliographical database can serve as a guide to navigate that often impenetrable jungle.

The editorial decision to publish the Lexical Studies of Medieval Galician-Portuguese Texts bibliography on an on-line platform was reached after careful consideration of the enormous difficulties associated with the regular updating of a printed bibliography. In a printed platform, updates can be made only when there is a sufficiently large number of new entries that can justify either a new edition in book form or a supplement printed in a journal. Cross-referencing and indexing a new supplement with previous editions becomes an almost impossible task, and the regular publication of supplements makes the search for information a more complicated process, as the scholar needs to have access to all previously published material. An on-line platform, on the other hand, provides the solution to most of these problems as it allows the editors to regularly update the contents, even if there is only one new entry, and to cross-reference different entries and reorganize the structure of the database in a short time. The linguist, editor or literary critic also benefits from the on-line format, as he or she only needs to consult one source of information, with the added possibility of having a search engine to look up the data.


The majority of the compilations included in this on-line bibliography are alphabetically-arranged glossaries restricted to words no longer used or which display a meaning or special use unknown in the modern language. Most such glossaries are designed solely as a tool to facilitate the reading and basic comprehension of the text and only partially aid scholars who wish to view the total lexicon of a given work or who desire to trace the history of a word through the medieval period. For the most part, they provide a translation equivalent in the target language which often fails to capture the precise meaning of the Old Galician-Portuguese term in the relevant context. Less frequent are vocabularies which record all words (though not necessarily every occurrence) found in a specific text or in the writings of a single author. Such vocabularies often have originated as doctoral dissertations and are based on a previously published edition of the work(s) at issue. Also included within the scope of the on-line bibliography are concordances (although they usually do not provide definitions or discussion), word-indices to lexical commentaries scattered throughout the footnotes of a scholarly edition, as well as individual word studies designed to explain the meaning(s) of a given word in a specific text or author or in the medieval language as a whole. We have excluded here etymological studies, work in textual and literary criticism, and studies of lexical fields with reference to a given author and/or text. Unless indicated by this symbol , all items recorded here have been examined by at least one of the editors. On-line glossaries, vocabularies, and lexical studies are preceded by the symbol .

The material is presented in chronological order by centuries. In certain doubtful or controversial cases we have been forced to make arbitrary decisions regarding the placement of a text. We have gathered together in one separate section relevant editions of cancioneiro poetry.

A close examination of the Table of Contents will provide the reader with a simple overview of this organization; the two possible search modes–by century and by keyword–should allow location of any work included in the Bibliography.