The “Goethe Wörterbuch” is an individual author’s dictionary of meaning that presents Goethe’s entire vocabulary in alphabetical order. On the basis of approx. three million archive documents concerning about 90,000 keywords, it analyses their usage in systematically structured articles with selected reference quotes. In doing so, we pay equal attention to common language skills, a wide range of technical terminology and the special nature of Goethe’s poetry. Thus, the “Goethe-Wörterbuch” is not only an instrument of the Goethe-philology, but also a source of information for the history of science and culture, as well as for the conceptual history and the history of ideas. Linguistics offers a solid foundation for every comprehensive presentation of the German language in its cultural linguistic dimension, as well as representative verbal historical findings on the formation era of our contemporary language.
The project was created in late 1946 as a consequence of a memorandum of the ancient philologist Wolfgang Schadewaldt. A second department in Hamburg was already established in 1947, in addition to the department in Berlin. In 1948, an external field station for Berlin was added in Leipzig - in 1951, an additional station in Tübingen. The supervision of the departments is carried out by the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the Göttingen Academy of sciences and Humanities, and the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences, which are represented in an inter-academic commission - each by two ambassadors.