Small Dictionaries and Curiosity tells a story which has not been told before, that of the first European wordlists of minority and unofficial languages and dialects, from the end of the Middle Ages to the early nineteenth century. These wordlists were collected by people who were curious about the unrecorded or little-known languages they heard around them. Between them, they document more than 40 language varieties, from a Basque-Icelandic pidgin of
the North Atlantic to the Kalmyk language of the lower Volga. The book gives an account of about 90 of these dictionaries and wordlists, some of them single-page jottings and some of them full-sized printed
books, paying attention to their content and their physical form alike.