AM -- Dictionaries

Special Report: New German Dictionaries and Grammars in the Context of Orthographic Reform

Despite a transition period intended to last until 2005, the orthographic reform of 1998 occasioned the immediate publication of revised versions of German dictionaries by Duden, Wahrig, Bertelsmann, and others to reflect the new spelling guidelines. The updated editions were extensively reviewed in RREA 5:28–42. Now, even newer versions are in print, including titles in the areas of linguistics and language pedagogy. These new works reveal a divergence in the interpretation of the rules and also some backtracking on several of the proposed reforms. In addition, newspapers, book publishers, and news agencies are implementing the orthographic guidelines selectively, only adding to the confusion surrounding correct spelling, syllabification, and usage.

Duden, Das große Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache [Duden, Comprehensive Dictionary of the German Language]. Ed. Werner Scholze-Stubenrecht with Brigitte Alsleben. 3d, completely rev. and expanded ed. 10 vols. Mannheim [et al.]: Dudenverlag, 1999. 25 cm. ISBN 3-411-04733-X: EUR 499 (set)[03-1-020]

This latest edition shows evidence of a tacit return to previous spelling practices in contravention of the explicit guidelines of the new orthography. Words that should be written separately according to the new spelling rules (e.g., “schwer behindert,” “viel versprechend”) are now again mostly written as one word (“schwerbehindert,” “vielversprechend”), although there is still not complete uniformity in this area, especially with combinations beginning with “wohl.”

Of greater concern is the misuse of the millions of source documents and online materials on which the guidelines are reputedly based. For one thing, the purpose of the examples is unclear, and their presence superfluous. A citation attesting the word “Violine,” for example, does not serve to establish the first use of the word and does not contribute anything of value for understanding the usage of the word. A more serious criticism regarding the source documents lies in the fact that the editors have tampered with the original source material, have actually changed words written as one in source citations to conform to the new orthography. One author’s original version (“eine wohlbehütete Kindheit”) has been changed to illustrate the new spelling rules (“eine wohl behütete Kindheit”). Not even such major authoritative writers as Thomas Mann, Hans Hellmut Kirst, Arnold Zweig, and others are spared this mistreatment. One presumes all this was also done without consulting the authors themselves or those responsible for their legacy. Moreover, source citations from the previous edition of this title that do not conform to the new spelling are often simply omitted. [ti/jb]

Wahrig, Fremdwörterlexikon [Wahrig, Dictionary of Foreign Terms]. Ed. Renate Wahrig-Burfeind. Newly rev. and expanded ed. Gütersloh: Bertelsmann-Lexikon-Verlag, 1999. 1,017 p. 20 cm. ISBN 3-577-10603-4: out of print [03-1-021]

The new version of this title occasioned by the spelling reform contains an increased number of entries, with a concentration on common vocabulary, excluding technical words, which are exempt from the new orthographical rules. Caution is due here because of the questionable recommendations for syllabification, e.g., “a-blativ,” “i-nert.” Some recommendations are based on inaccurate popular etymologies, e.g., the new spelling of “Quäntchen” as based on “Quantum” and not “Quent” (lat. “quintus”). Sometimes words with different meanings are offered simply as “orthographical variants,” e.g., “deflationär” and “deflationistisch.” Inconsistent and inaccurate capitalization in multi-part words is frequent. The new spelling rules indicate that all nouns in a multi-part word should be capitalized, e.g., “Coq au Vin,” “Bulbus Oculi.” But the entry lists “Coq au vin” and “Bulbus oculi.” The reverse also occurs, e.g., “Aceto Balsamico,” even though “balsamico” is an adjective and should therefore not be capitalized. [ti/jb]

Duden, Das große Fremdwörterbuch [Duden, Comprehensive Dictionary of Foreign Terms]. Ed. Wissenschaftlicher Rat der Dudenredaktion. 2d, new and expanded ed. Mannheim [et al.]: Dudenverlag, 2000. 1,552 p. 25 cm. ISBN 3-411-04162-5: EUR 48 [03-1-022]

This title takes a cautious approach and remains in general true to the old orthography, except in instances where the new spelling guidelines have eliminated the traditional spelling or when no variants are given, as for “platzieren” and “Stuckateur.” Confusion creeps in when words with similar prefixes are hyphenated differently and without regard to morphology, e.g., “Epi-skop” and “Epis-kopat.” Furthermore, when variants are provided, no guidelines are given as to which is the preferred form. The treatment of compound adjectives such as “rötlich bläulich,” used in the definition of opalescence and written without a hyphen, surrender their grammatical accuracy in submitting to the new orthographic rule that adjectives ending in “–lich” are not to be connected to others by a hyphen. [ti/jb]

Duden, Die deutsche Rechtschreibung [Duden, German Orthography]. Ed. Werner Scholze-Stubenrecht. 22d, new and expanded ed. Mannheim [et al.]: Dudenverlag, 2000. 1,152 p. 20 cm. (Der Duden, 1). Eds. 1–21 published as: Duden, Rechtschreibung der deutschen Sprache. ISBN 3-411-04012-2: EUR 20 [03-1-023]

Although the new orthography prescribes that noun-adjective combinations must be written as separate words, e.g., “Besorgnis erregend,” this edition permits the earlier practice in which the two components are joined, e.g., “besorgniserregend,” and now lists both variants as equal. The opposite is also true, namely words previously written together, e.g., “zeitraubend,” can now also be written separately, “Zeit raubend.”

Words with “wieder” pose a special problem even for this otherwise authoritative work. The source of the confusion lies in the failure to appreciate the variant meanings of “wieder,” and the reduction of the meaning to “again, anew.” The classic example is “wieder herrichten” versus “wiederherrichten.” These terms are not synonymous, because “wiederherrichten” does not mean to ‘do it again or anew,’ as would “wieder herrichten,” but rather to return it to a previous state, to restore. The activity envisioned by “wiederherrichten” is not a second act of restoration, in the sense that something is done “again,” but represents the first and only act intended by the verb. The confusion with “wieder” leads the dictionary to mistakenly declare that in verbs with “wieder,” the particle can be written separately or together with the verb depending on the level of emphasis the writer wishes to place on the temporal element (“wieder”) or on the base verb. The treatment of adjectives and participles containing the modifiers “hoch” and “wohl” poses a similar dilemma. And the guidelines as to when to write “hoch begabt” versus “hochbegabt” are not consistent. “Wohl” has the additional problem that the reformers seem to think the comparative forms of “wohl” are “besser” and “best” when in reality these are the comparative forms for “gut” not “wohl.”

This dictionary also liberalizes the already liberal use of hyphens. The previous form of “Ausserachtlassen” must now be written “Ausser-Acht-Lassen.” Hyphens are also used to avoid triple consonants, so that now the guidelines recommend “Miss-Stimmung” Brenn-Nessel,” and “Miss-Stand,” themselves more visually unappealing than the single word version.

Strict adherence to undifferentiated capitalization rules leads to a number of inaccurate phrases. Because the noun in “heute Abend” is capitalized, the rule is then extended to the expression “heute früh” yielding “heute Früh” even though there is technically no noun “Früh” except in the idiomatic expression “in der Früh.” The form “heute Früh” is thus patently incorrect. Inconsistencies and contradictions of this type abound. And again the capitalization rule for foreign words creates difficulty owing to the fact that the user must know the part of speech of each of the words in a foreign expression in order to capitalize all of the nouns. On the other hand, the declaration that technical expressions are exempt from the new rules allows for some expressions to slip through as technical in nature. This loophole allows words such as “blindspiegen” and “blindspielen” to be written together again.

The rules for hyphenation rigidly applied lead to odd break points within words. For example, “Ausgehuniform” is separated as “Ausge-hu-niform,” and “Ge-ograph” and “Subs-tanz” disregard the morphemic components of these words.

Finally, the stated goal of the spelling reform, namely to reduce the number of rules, has not been achieved. The new guidelines comprise 169 rules compared to the 171 of the old. [ti/jb]

Duden, Deutsches Universalwörterbuch [Duden, Universal German Dictionary]. Ed. Annette Klosa. 4th, new and expanded ed. Mannheim [et al.]: Dudenverlag, 2001. 1,892 p. 25 cm. ISBN 3-411-05504-9: EUR 32, EUR 39.90 (with CDROM) [03-1-024]

This work contains some 1,500 new terms, such as “Airline,” and “browsen,” although a full third are these are nothing more than the feminine versions of agent nouns such “Insurgentin” and “Zinkerin.” On the other hand, many terms have been omitted, such as “peinsam,” and “Pelzbesatz,” even though these are included in the Duden orthographical dictionary.

In this work, too, one finds evidence of attempts to revise the new orthographical rules. In syllabification a conservative approach dominates, but there is inconsistency. “Si-gnal” is favored over “Sig-nal,” and generally the integrity of well-known prefixes such as “syn/sym” is not respected, which leads to “Sy-nergie.”

Others instances of backtracking are also evident. The new guidelines prescribe “in Sonderheit,” but the current edition returns to “insonderheit.” Because of a ruling by government officials (Kultusminister/Bundesinnenminister), efforts to return to the traditional spelling of some expressions were unsuccessful. This edition also recommends “Leid tun,” “Pleite gehen,” and “heute Abend,” but does not endorse the parallel “heute Früh.”

The treatment of noun and adjective/participle combinations continues to be chaotic. The current edition recommends “aufsehenerregend,” “hitzeabweisend, and “prachtliebend,” but then lists only “Musik liebend” as permissible. In other instances, useful expressions such as “Armvoll,” “Handvoll,” etc. no longer seem to exist, but instead must be written “mehrere Arm voll Heu,” etc., while others are preserved, such as “Fingerbreit” and “Zollbreit.”

As with the new editions of other works discussed here, this title claims to be based on the evidence of millions of documents, but then goes on to omit such words as “sogenannt” and “schwerkrank” by ignoring the contents of these same documents, or worse, by denying that they even contain examples of these words. Th is practice makes it difficult to take seriously the title’s promise to provide an “up-to-date, comprehensive, objective, and reliable picture of the German language.” [ti/jb]

Die deutsche Rechtschreibung [German Orthography]. Ursula Hermann. Ed. Lutz Götze and Sabine Krome. Gütersloh; München: Wissen-Media-Verlag, 2002. 1,200 p. 20 cm. (Wahrig, 1). ISBN 3-577-10044-3: EUR 14.95 [03-1-025]

The 120,000 entries in this work were selected based on the evaluation of a body of over 500 million words, but the spelling of the entries is intended to reflect the new orthography for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, not to reflect actual spelling practice found in the source documents. Like the other titles already discussed, this work is plagued with omissions, contradictions, and outright mistakes. First, it appears that only sources that have adopted the spelling reforms were included. Hence, the articles in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung were not included in the body of evidence. Second, not all the entries in the official word list were included in this dictionary. Words such as “Graecum” and “Holster” are missing. On the other hand, very obscure words are covered, such as “Nearthrose” and “Beidrecht.” In other instances, less frequently used versions of expressions are included (“überm Berg”), while the more common one is omitted (“übern Berg”). Finally, this work includes items that even an Internet search cannot document (“Fivevowelword”).

The practice with personal names and proper nouns is inconsistent. The spelling “Beijing” for “Peking” does not get a separate entry, whereas both “Mumbai” and “Bombay” are given their due. “Stalin” is listed, but not “Hitler” or “Goebbels,” despite the difficulty users may have in spelling these names correctly. Is it a left-leaning tendency that leads to the inclusion of “Lenin,” “Trotzkij,” and “Clara Zetkin,” but the omission of such conservative politicians as BRD presidents Theodor Heuss and Ludwig Erhard, whose names often cause spelling difficulty?

Like the other works discussed so far, this title also treats the hyphenation of words inconsistently and for foreign terms requires the user to know the morphology of the foreign word, prefix, or suffix in order to divide into syllables correctly. A number of “information boxes” are needed to clarify the recommendations. And even the guideline that the sequence “kon-tr” can also be hyphenated “kont-r” depending on the word of origin does not make the situation easier in trying to decide where to place the hyphen in words such as “Kontrahent” and “Kontrast.” Other recommendations for hyphenation lead this title itself not only to suggest, but actually then to hyphenate “Jugos-lawien” at an impossible position.

The title’s position on the spelling of noun/adjective compounds, such as “Furcht erregend” vs. “furchterregend,” leads to the result that, in general, either version is acceptable and that the one-word version is required in comparatives and superlatives. This decision in effect abrogates paragraph 36 of the spelling reform. Again, however, the recommendation isn’t always practiced in the work itself. “Profit bringend” and “gewinnbringend” are the only possibilities presented in the dictionary for each of these words despite their similarities in structure and meaning. Such variations and inconsistencies, especially in regard to adjective and noun/verb combinations, such as “voll gegessen” vs. “vollgefressen”, make the task of learning correct spelling more complicated for students and adults.

A number of factual errors and references that lead nowhere are also noted. “Punctum saliens” is not correctly identified as a masculine noun phrase; there is no such word as “puppillarisch,” only “pupillarisch,” and a “Viola da Gamba” doesn’t have “Seiten” as indicated, but “Saiten.” Finally, this work doesn’t always practice what it preaches, especially with regard to word phrases written as separate words or as one. Th e work recommends “wieder beschaffen,” “bereit halten,” and “frei halten,” but uses the single word versions in explanations and definitions. [ti/jb]

Langenscheidt, Großwörterbuch Deutsch als Fremdsprache [Langenscheidt, Comprehensive Dictionary of German as a Foreign Language]. Ed. Dieter Götz. New ed. Berlin [et al.]: Langenscheidt, 2003. xxii, 1,253 p. ill. 22 cm. ISBN 3-468-49027-5 (hbk): EUR 29.90; ISBN 3-468-96705-5 (pbk): EUR 23.90 [03-1-026]

Wörterbuch Deutsch als Fremdsprache [Dictionary of German as a Foreign Language]. Ed. Günter Kempcke. Berlin [et al.]: de Gruyter, 2000. xxxi, 1,329 ISBN 3-11-016407-8 (pbk): EUR 19.95 [03-1-027]

These two dictionaries are intended specifically for students of German as a second language. This edition of the Langenscheidt title updates the 1993 version, while the one by Kempcke represents a new effort to provide a dictionary directed at the target group. The Langenscheidt title is disappointing as a dictionary for learners of German because of the large number of words included and the lack of pronunciation guides. Kempcke, on the other hand, has succeeded by including a smaller number of words, but providing more information about these 20,000 entries, such as pronunciation, grammatical and lexical details, and appendixes on word families and word formation.

Both titles are discussed here only in terms of the spelling reform. Both products are in the same boat in terms of their ability to manage the confusion surrounding correct spelling. Both titles take the 1996 Duden as a point of departure, but Kempcke also incorporates the emendations that were made by orthographical work by Bertelsmann. Unfortunately the Bertelsmann work was full of mistakes, and the Duden misinterpreted how to handle such verbs as “wiedersehen,” dictating that they should be written as two separate words, “wieder sehen.” Also, they must include words such as “jedesmal” and “sogenannt,” because students will still encounter them in their readings, even though the spelling reform that they propagate doesn’t recognize these forms as correct.

Both titles deal with this contradictory situation by inventing less than convincing clarifications. Again, compound adjectives such as “schwindelerregend” pose a particular problem. The fastidious attempt to obey the new spelling rules leads to such sentences as “Sie ist allein stehend” and “seine Antwort ist nichts sagend,” both of which have a different shade of meaning than if the adjectives were written as one word. Another example is the requirement that “Einzelnes” be written with a capital letter because it is an indefinite pronoun; but there has never been a practice of capitalizing such pronouns. Both titles also must deal with where to place what had once been a verbal phrase in the sequence of entries. That is, where does “Ernst nehmen” get listed? The practice is to locate these with the noun, here “Ernst.” But with other words the practice diverges. Kempcke places “so gennant” not with “so” but between “Sog” und “sogleich” while Langenscheidt puts this, and similar expressions, in a separate box. [ti/jb]

Duden, Grammatik der deutschen Gegenwartssprache [Duden, Grammar of Contemporary German]. Ed. Peter Eisenberg. 6th, newly rev. ed. Mannheim [et al.]: Dudenverlag, 1998. 912 p. 20 cm. (Der Duden, 4). ISBN 3-411-04046-7: EUR 21.50 [03-1-028]

The spelling reform also necessitated a new edition of this grammar. The major issue to be addressed was the separation of compound adjectives and the mistakes in usage that resulted when these were used in a sentence. If adjectives like “tiefschürfend” are written as two words, what then is the comparative form: “tiefer schürfend” or “tiefschürfender”? And if the requirement to capitalize all nouns, even when they function as adverbs in expression of time such as “heute Abend,” takes precedence, then spelling rules have taken over the task of defining parts of speech as used in a sentence. Despite the willingness of the authors of this grammar to accede to the new rules of spelling, grammatical issues such as syntax and word formation will not be denied. [ti/jb]

Grammatik der deutschen Sprache [German Grammar]. Ed. Lutz Götze and Ernest W. B. Hess-Lüttich. 3d, completely rev. and updated ed. Gütersloh; München: Bertelsmann-Lexikon-Verlag, 2002. 702 p. 20 cm. (Wahrig, 4). ISBN 3-577-10073-7: EUR 17 [03-1-029]

From the perspective of the spelling reform this grammar is riddled with mistakes and inaccuracies. For example, many foreign language phrases are used in which the nouns are not capitalized as required by the new guidelines: “Genitivus qualitatis” and “Human resource.” The editors also fail to capitalize “letzterer” regardless of its pronominal function. In the section on word formations, expressions such as “lahm legen” and “kennen lernen” are used as examples of verbal word formation, even though these expressions technically no longer belong to this group of phrases. Th e grammatical rule that the possessive of proper names is formed without an apostrophe goes against the new spelling rules as well, because these allow the use of the apostrophe (“Jochen’s Arbeit”). This works contains many other spelling errors and is in serious need of revision. [ti/jb]

Wahrig, Universalwörterbuch Rechtschreibung [Wahrig, Universal Dictionary and Orthography]. Ed. Renate Wahrig-Burfeind. Unabridged ed. München: Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag, 2002. 1,316 p. 19 cm. (dtv, 32524). Licensed by Wissen-Media-Verlag, Gütersloh; München. ISBN 3-423-32524-0: EUR 15, EUR 25 (with Wahrig, Fremdwörterlexikon [Dictionary of Foreign Terms] in a carrying case) [03-1-030]

This work wishes to steer a path between the traditional and the new spelling rules by explaining when to use one and when the other. The introductory essay by Peter Eisenberg attempts to sort out the conflicting practices and offer a compromise, sometimes with justification, other times with further confusion. This advice comes across initially as helpful, but in the end leaves many decisions up to the user without real guidance. For example, the new spelling requires capitalization in expressions such as “im Allgemeinen.” Eisenberg indicates that this work will follow that practice, but adds that this expression lacks a true nominal core and therefore there should be some flexibility with capitalization.

The cover material proclaims a close connection between the entries and the rules section. But this is not the case. References in the dictionary part to the rules section are not always productive. Even the assertion that new spelling rules that are being challenged are clearly marked has to be taken with a grain of salt, and many of the controversial issues are simply omitted. The practices of the editors in their use of the new spelling rules are contradictory. In the introductory part, they use “Orthografie” and “orthografisch.” In the explanatory parts of the dictionary part, they use “Orthographie” and “orthographisch.” Syllable division follows the new guidelines without regard for the infelicities that result: “alla-bendlich,” “vol-lenden,” and “Tee-nager.” Most of the other issues discussed with respect to the preceding works are also addressed here, and with the same confusion as before. [ti/jb]


In spring 2002 the Orthographic Commission issued its third report with many topics for discussion. Actual changes were proposed in 2003 so that they can be reviewed and implemented by 2005. Changes that need to be made include: (1) Elimination of grammatically incorrect expressions, those with capitalized nouns, such as “Leid tun,” “Recht haben,” “Pleite gehen,” and the like; (2) Reintroduction of positive for compound adjectives such as “zufriedenstellend” to parallel the comparative and superlative forms; (3) Reintroduction of many other such compound adjectives such as “eisenverarbeitend,” “fleischfressend,” and others; (4) Elimination of the requirement to write as separate words compound verbs such as “auseinander setzen;” (5) Elimination of the requirement to write other expressions as separate words, e.g. “so genannt;” (6) Return to the pre-spelling reform rules governing the use of commas; (7) Reconsideration of the false folk etymologies of some words, such as “Zierrat,” “einbläuen,” and others.

Le Dictionnaire érotique [Erotica Dictionary]. Richard Ramsay. Montréal: Adage; Paris: Blanche, 2002. 432 p. ill. 19 cm. ISBN 2-921956-05-5 (Adage): $CDN 35, ISBN 2-84628-047-9 (Blanche): EUR 25

An RREO Original Review

Richard Ramsay’s erotica dictionary attempts to fill what he perceives as a gap in both specialized and general standard language dictionaries. Erotic language is qualified as an artistic expression, one with the power to inspire the meanderings of human instincts, desire, and phantasms in all their forms. The erotic, subject of innumerable definitions from the sacred to the carnal, from the poetic to the pornographic, is in the realm of playfulness, iconoclasm, and utopias, not in the realm of the rational. It is thus in need of a dictionary much as are dreams, and there has been no lack of dictionaries for dreams and dream interpretation. Standard language dictionaries have, for some of the same rational reasons, excluded or denigrated erotic words and phrases, as well as erotic definitions of otherwise acceptable words. Many of the terms are classified as obscene or pornographic and thus the material for specialized dictionaries of such language. Ramsay wants to erase the boundary between erotic and pornographic expression, finding the latter a culturally and historically determined classification, to organize a dictionary that draws as widely as possible from all aspects of erotic literature. Authors express their phantasms rather than their real experiences, and phantasms range from the fanciful to the nightmarish. Through all the citations gathered here, readers will discover the playfulness of erotic expression. And, the playfulness is as longstanding and international as the citations.

This dictionary is more for browsing than for reference. Amply embellished with 225 illustrations, especially from the 19th century, it includes 2,600 words and expressions, 4,000 citations from 500 classic and modern authors mostly from Europe but also from the Americas and Asia. Entries include forms of speech and brief definitions followed by citations, which appear to be the major focus of the work. Often words are included, e.g., changer, chaste, intéresser, irritant, with no particular erotic definition or connotation of their own, nor do the accompanying citations distinguish them as such. A standard dictionary would have done as well. The selection of authors is international, but there is a lack of contextualizing the authors in terms of dating and indicating the original language of publication. There is no indication when a citation is translated. This playfulness does not work for a reference book. The author index at the back, unlike the illustrator index, works in only one direction, i.e., to be referred to from the citations found in the entries but not from the author list to the citations. The author index includes birth and death dates—to facilitate dating, titles of works used as resources for citations but no indication as to which citation came from which work, as well as asterisks for Québecois writers, to introduce lEnfer Québecois into the lexicon.

Readers of this dictionary will need an advanced knowledge of French to understand the contexts and allusions of the historic and contemporary erotic words and expressions. They will not need the same reading level to understand most of the erotic allusions of more familiar words and expressions. Readers, thus, would be best served to start with standard dictionaries, historic and contemporary, venturing into Le Dictionnaire érotique for the particularly elusive or Québecois expression.

Diccionario Anaya de la Lengua [Anaya Dictionary of the [Spanish] Language]. Ed. Núria Lucena Cayuela. Madrid: Grupo Anaya, S.A., 2002. xiii, 1,195 p. 29 cm. ISBN 84-8332-245-5: EUR 23.61

An RREO Original Review

Each year several new Spanish language dictionaries are published with different intended audiences, and it is often difficult to determine which are the most important. The new Anaya dictionary is designed as a tool for Spain’s “Enseñanza secundaria obligatoria” (ESO), the mandatory school years for adolescents 12–16 years old. This specific audience drives the structure of the dictionary, inspiring some of its useful features and creating some of its limitations. As a student dictionary, the Anaya includes a useful section on grammar in the back. Also scattered through the dictionary are the conjugations of various verbs (mostly next to the definitions of irregular verbs).

When evaluating a dictionary it is important to know the raw data sources for the entries included. The Anaya does not list its sources, aside from noting that school textbooks were used in creating the dictionary. The dictionary boasts of having over 34,000 entries with over 71,000 definitions. Many entries include synonyms and antonyms, and a large number of them also include an etymological note.

Because Spanish is a language that covers many regions and cultures, a Spanish-language dictionary’s usefulness can be judged in part by its inclusion of regional variants and indigenous language borrowings. As could be expected from a dictionary created for the Spanish school system, this work is very Peninsular-focused. Americanisms are included, but often the Peninsular term is used in the definition. For example, the vegetable pea is called “guisante” in Spain, “chícharo” in Mexico and “arveja” in parts of South America. In the Anaya, the entry for “guisante” describes the vegetable; the entries for “arveja” and “chícharo” state that these terms are Americanisms for “guisante.” The same is true for the term “cuadra,” which in Latin America is used for an urban block. The term “manzana” is used in Spain and the Anaya definition for “cuadra” reads (in Spanish): “Amer. for a manzana of houses.” The inclusion of other regionalisms is spotty. While some regionalisms for money (“guita” from Argentina and “plata”) are included, “lana” (Mexico) is not.

The Anaya coverage of indigenous terminology is also sporadic. For example, the Chilean term “machi” (term from the Mapuche language used for “healer”) is not included. Sometimes indigenous languages are referenced with respect to the etymology of a term, but not consistently. The entry for “puma” does not state that this term is from Quechua, but the entries for “llama” and “guagua” do mention the indigenous origin of the terms.

A nice pedagogical feature of this dictionary are the “see also” references for words used in idiomatic expressions. For example, the entry for “abajo” (below or beneath) directs the reader to also look at “boca abajo” (face down). Rarely in other dictionaries are idiomatic expressions cross-referenced; so the user must know the key word of the phrase in order to find its meaning. While it is quite unconventional to find “pavo real” (peacock) listed under “real,” these Anaya cross-references are quite useful.

The scope and layout of the Anaya dictionary were compared to the Pequeño Larousse Ilustrado [Concise Illustrated Larousse]. The latter surpasses the Anaya in almost every regard. While the Larousse is not specifically geared toward students, its incorporation of illustrations makes it work better for that audience. The Larousse also has a special section on proverbs and a sizeable personal name section with information approximating what one would find in a gazetteer or biographical source. Th e Larousse has 90,000 entries with over 230,000 definitions. Like the Anaya, it includes etymologies (and often gives more complete information than in the Anaya; for example, the Larousse notes that “zapote” is a Nahuatl term, but the Anaya does not). The definitions in the Larousse are also more complete than those in the Anaya. The entry for “Mapuche” (the principle indigenous group of Southern Chile) in the Anaya does not indicate that this is still a living group. Th e Larousse, on the other hand, mentions their current political situation in Chile.

For its intended audience, middle-school students in Spain, the Anaya is probably a very appropriate dictionary. Outside of that limited group, the only advantage the Anaya has over other dictionaries (namely the Larousse) is its inclusion of synonyms and antonyms.

Lexikon Schiller-Zitate: aus Werk und Leben [Dictionary of Schiller Quotations: From His Works and Life]. Ernst Lautenbach. München: Iudicium-Verlag, 2003. 941 p. 24 cm. ISBN 3-89129-805-6: EUR 24.80 [03-1-032]

Das Lexikon der Goethe-Zitate [Dictionary of Goethe Quotations]. Ed. Richard Dobel. (Licensed from previous eds.: Artemis-Verlag, 1968; Patmos-Verlag, 1995.) Düsseldorf: Albatros-Verlag, 2002. vii, 1,307 p. 26 cm. ISBN 3-491-96068-1: EUR 19.95 [03-1-033]

The Lexikon Schiller-Zitate provides access to all the best-known sayings from Schiller’s works and many more besides. Ambitious in scope, it seeks to provide a detailed picture of Schiller’s work and life through quotations not only from the published works but also from the letters Schiller wrote and received. From nearly 100,000 quotations gathered by Lautenbach roughly 6,000 are in the book. Many are rather lengthy, out of the compiler’s concern for context (but some well-known ones are unaccountably cut short.) Several dozen lexicographical articles and 210 notes about real and fictional persons in Schiller’s world provide additional information. At least 10 editions of Schiller’s complete works were consulted in preparing this reference tool.

Quotations and other entries are arranged in a single alphabetical sequence, with the quotations entered by keyword (usually the most meaningful noun, sometimes a verb or a word from the title of the work quoted). Where several quotes share an entry word, other words from the quotation are added to provide a unique entry, e.g., “Beatrice, Geheimnis Geburt, Grausamer Befehl” [Beatrice, Secret Birth, Cruel Command”] and Beatrice, Unglück, Fürstengeschlecht, Brüderhaß [Beatrice, Unhappiness, Royal House, Fraternal Hatred] for two quotations from Die Braut von Messina. The user may find the conglomeration of quotations and articles somewhat irritating, especially as there are no indexes other than those for works and persons; at the same time, though, it encourages and rewards browsing.

Richard Dobel’s Lexikon der Goethe-Zitate, long since established as a classic reference work, has been reissued unchanged from the 1968 original. The product of years of library reference service, it is more tightly focused than the Schiller dictionary on providing answers to questions about the location of individual quotations in Goethe’s writings and about what Goethe had to say on a particular subject. The alphabetical arrangement by main keyword is supplemented by an index of subjects, names, and supplemental keywords. Unlike the Schiller dictionary, it contains no articles and does not include letters to Goethe from others in its coverage. An estimated 15,000 quotations are presented under some 6,500 main keywords.

Both dictionaries offer fast, complete, and easily found answers to questions concerning the twin sages of Weimar. [wh/gw]

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Last update: March 6, 2006 [BG]
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