||“Erya” is the first systematically written dictionary in the preserved Chinese history; it has set up an innovative style of categorizing word-explanations by their context and properties; it has, accordingly, collected numerous expressions of early-Qin dynasty. “Shiming” was written later on and has taken the merits from “Erya” both in the style and the context, and on top of it, it has even adopted a more sophisticated categorizing system. The two are both books of words and the terms collected in them represent the contemporary social circumstances. In terms of published time, “Erya” has undergone a long period of writing process and the compiling of expressions has long started from the Zhou dynasty while “Shiming” was written in the end of the Eastern Han dynasty. The comparing and connection between the two dictionaries can explicate the culture changes reflected in word usages from early-Qin to Han dynasty. This article is titled as “the social progress and cultural development from “Erya” to “Shiming””, and connects the words in the two books with the perspective from the history of society. The content is briefly described below in subsequent order:
First section: the social cultural essences of the dictionary and the words
The first section mainly discusses the social cultural essences of the dictionary and the words. The first chapter is the “Introduction”, describing the origin of the study, the statement of purpose, previous studies and review, and pointing out the content of this study. The second chapter, “The written and style of “Erya” and “Shiming””, discusses the age background, the written time, the writers, and explains the styles and methods to interpret and make glossaries and commentaries on classic texts in the two books. The third chapter, “The cultural essences of dictionary”, elaborates the symbiosis between language and culture and how word usages reflect the progress of society. The fourth chapter, “The social perspective of making glossaries in “Erya” and “Shiming””, compares the categorizing systems in the two books. By comparing the table of contents, words themselves, the commentaries of the expressions, this chapter further discusses the integral social perspective from early-Qin to Han dynasty. The fifth chapter, “The basic words and social progress in “Erya” and “Shiming””, compares the basic expressions collected in the two books and proposes the relationship between the basic expressions and the social progress.
The second section: The social cultural systems of “Erya” and “Shiming”
“Erya” and “Shiming” can respectively elaborate their own worlds with cultural viewpoints; in the framework of language, they reflect the cultural systems of our ancestors. By connecting the frameworks of the two subsequent dictionaries, the changes of culture from “Erya” to “Shiming” can be re-constructured, and hereby establish the social progress and cultural development from early-Qin to Han dynasty. The first chapter in this section is “The cultural annotation in the category of nature world”. By linking and comparing the dictionary entries categorized in this field, similar expressions are arranged to discuss the cultural development in the nature world field. The second chapter is “The cultural annotation in the category of food, clothes, residence, and transportation”. By linking and comparing the words categorized in this field, similar expressions are arranged to discuss the social progress in the daily field of food, clothes, residence, and transportation. The third chapter is “The cultural annotation in the category of physiology and human relationship”. This chapter mainly connects and compares the related chapters in the two books and uses the basic words as references to develop the cultural annotations in the physiology and human relationship field. The fourth chapter is “The cultural annotation in the category of etiquette, music, teaching and transformation”. This chapter uses the related chapters in the two books in conjunction with the basic words to develop the cultural annotations in the etiquette, music, teaching and transformation field. The fifth chapter “Conclusion” sums up the aforementioned chapters, demonstrating the results of linguistic cultural re-construction, and proposes the limit of this study and the potential directions in the future.