24 March 2016

An Arabic English Lexicon by Edward William Lane aka Lane's Lexicon

Commonly known as Lane’s Lexicon, this is the most meticulous and thorough Arabic-English dictionary ever produced. The lexicon is based on many classical Arabic dictionaries, chiefly the Taaj ul-’Uroos. In total, about 112 sources are cited in the work. Lane also read widely in order to provide examples for the entries. Italic format is also used to write some of the important text in the entries. Lane spent decades collating, translating and summarizing material from classical Arabic dictionaries. He added notations, references and comments which gives modern students unparalleled access, in a single dictionary, to the work of almost all the major classical lexicographers. But, Lane’s dictionary is incomplete. He died before he could finish it, and so beyond the letter ق there are incomplete notes only, which are nonetheless still of some value. As well as this, some of the more obscure Arabic words (even before the letter ق) are not covered at all.

On Archive in multiple formats including PDF, DJVU, Online reading and more

Lane’s Lexicon in Arabic Almanac with 30 other books

Lane’s Lexicon in Arabic Almanac Beta with 40 other books 

Zipped PDF Download (right click, save link/linked content/target as) :
Volume 1 (372.3MB) , Volume 2 (441.3MB) , Volume 3 (413.4MB) , Volume 4 (461.3MB) , Volume 5 (467.8MB) , Volume 6 (244.6MB) , Volume 7 (236.2MB) , Volume 8 (246.7MB).

Online browsing of scanned pages

Lane’s Lexicon with English search
Lane’s Lexicon with English search has some typing errors in Arabic but still can be used “To copy paste the text from the lexicon (after which you will have to verify the Arabic words using any other free scanned Lane’s Lexicon relevant material)” and “To search English words”. To start navigating it, click the blue arrow on the left of Edward William Lane.

Lane’s Lexicon as single zipped .txt file .

Lane’s Lexicon in DJVU format
Can be viewed after downloading a DJVU viewer or online DJVU viewer.

Search Lane's lexicon after pasting roots without spaces

Lane's Lexicon online in typed and copyable text format .

Incompletion notes extracted in my own words using Volume 5 editor’s preface initial pages: Lane’s Lexicon complete as per plan upto Volume 6, page 2386, root ف ر ق with proofs corrected by Lane himself. The remaining pages of volume 6, roots starting with ف and some part of volume 7 roots starting with ق, the proofs were corrected by Stanley Lane Pool (pages 2387 (Volume 6) to page 2489 (Volume 7), 103 pages), i.e. also almost complete upto page 2489 (قد). At the time of death, Lane was engaged on قد (Volume 6, page 2489). Upto this point every article was ready for the printers. Of the rest the majority were written, but some needed collation. Remaining entries i.e. from page 2489 onwards were completed using notes left by Lane. Stanley Lane Pool, indicated that he found Lane’s articles in 3 different stages, (1) some consisting only of Lane’s own notes, without any references to the original authorities, (2) others written, but needing to be collated with one or two manuscripts acquired later, and (3) some completely written and ready for the press.

User Guide:
From roots starting with ق and onwards, you must use other vocabulary books in addition to Lane. It is also better to use other vocabulary resources with other roots also but necessary to use other vocabulary books specially for roots starting with qaaf and onwards.

Lane’s Indication of Authorities 1 page PDF

Further work:
Muslim scholars or organizations should complete Lane’s Lexicon by working on roots starting with ق ك ل م ن ه و ي , using all the original Arabic sources used by Lane, as a 1st priority complete only the roots actually used in the Qur’an. Many options are there like funding using donations and hiring full time dedicated translators, from classical Arabic to English. About 495 roots used in the Qur’an have to be translated.

Project Organizer : Has to launch the project via a website dedictated for this task, and should have a popular website already from which he will have to link to this new site. This new site will give introduction to project, its benefits, its requirement. The site also has to have multiple donation options, and requirement for translators 2 types, paid and volunteer and should 1st evaluate the translators before hiring them.

Classical Arabic to English Muslim Translators : These are to be invited via above site and can have 2 options, paid translator or volunteer translator, of course paid translator can spend much more time.

Donations for project : For paying the paid translators, proofreaders, revieweres, web hosting etc.
Prioritization: As a 1st priority only used actually used in the Qur’an have to be translated (about 495 roots) 1st and then in 2nd step remaining roots can be touched.
Planning and complete support : For planning, launch, implementation and all level ideas and mechanism in detail, contact asimiqbal2nd @ live.com or islamicstriver @ gmail.com

Following Hiqh Quality plan was suggested by Naveed ul Islam of lanelexicon.com . Few modifications have been done by me in blue text.

(1)    There must be a complete list of references from which the lexicon will be translated. See 1 page PDF linked above
(2)    All the resources should be available in text file at a single resource
(3)    Since multiple translators are involved therefore a comprehensive list of all Arabic terminology should first be developed so that all translators use the same terms
(4)    A standard format or template for translating each root must also be developed as a guide based on the existing structure of Lane’s Lexicon which has to be followed by all translators

Qualification of Translators
(1)    All translators should read the book, “Edward William Lane, The Life of a Pioneering Egyptologist and Orientalist” by Thompson in addition to reading and understanding the Preface in Lane Lexicon and also understand that Lane compiled the work with passion and dedication and they should also try to do the same as much as possible.
(2)    The translator must have a  comprehensive knowledge of Arabic Grammar, Composition and Classical Arabic Literature
(3)    The translator must also possess a full command on the English language as well
In a nutshell a specialist linguistic expert and not just any translator with a passion and dedication is required which requires years of specialized education and training. The stringent requirements may be eased to some extent by creating a comprehensive Quality Assurance Program as highlighted next.

Monitoring and Quality Assurance
(1)    A comprehensive Standard Operation Procedure should be laid out before the work even starts. This should include project charter, resources needed, and timeline.
(2)    One or more persons should be allocated from among the project team as Leaders for assuring the quality of the work

Use of Technology
The copy of Taj Al-Arus which Lane used as a base for translation was created in thirteen (13) years. In addition to that he spent years with 2 dedicated professors of Arabic for learning Arabic.

My comments again. Main things are :
1. A popular website.
2. Expert paid Classical Arabic to English translators.
3. Donations.
e.g. suppose we have 8 expert translators, each can be given 60 to 70 roots and that’s it. Even if each takes 150 days, the translation of high priority roots can be completed in 5 months. If they take more time, even days per root, it can still be completed in 1 year.
Following can start contacting me: popular websites, expert Classical Arabic to English translators and potential donors. If any kind of progress is made, I will insha’ALLAH comment here.

A biography of Lane : Life of Edward William Lane by Stanley Lane Pool PDF

Selections from Edward William Lane 1801-1876 The Life of a Pioneering Egyptologist and Orientalist by Jason Thompson:
0 (I have started reading this book selectively and so far book is not what I expected. I expected it will cover more on the Lexicon but very little is covered regarding the Lexicon and of what little is covered, I will try to quote important selections below. In below quotations I have made the important text font bold myself and in book text was not written in bold font)

1 (Page 620) . ...He was far into the composition of the Arabic-English Lexicon. His major strategic decisions are documented: to concentrate on the classical language; to make the Taj al 'arus the basis for the Lexicon, but to consult other major lexicographical sources and collate from them; to compile the articles initially in rhyme order and then place them in modern dictionary order; to put rare, seldom used words into a second book to be written after the first was finished. But no such documentation exists for his tactical decisions. Lane never left a memoir describing the nuts and bolts of his compositional method, and references to technical details in his extant correspondences are few...

Appendix – Orientalists’ failed attempts on Completion of Lane’s Lexicon

Online preview: