2008

AM Dictionaries


Korais Printed & Electronic Greek-English Dictionary = Koraēs entypo & ēlektroniko hellēno-angliko lexiko. Ed. Geōrgios Kokkinakēs. Patras: University of Patras, 2008. xxix, 1749 p. 29 cm. + DVD-ROM . ISBN 9789606843181: EUR 80.18

An RREA Original Review by Anthony J. Oddo (Yale University)

As stated in the introduction by its editorial coordinator, this dictionary, which is presented in both print and electronic (DVD-ROM) formats, is the product of the latest in technological innovations in lexicography. Much pride has been placed in the claim that both versions offer large numbers of entries, detailed clarification of each entry’s meaning, and complete translations of all usage examples into English. Indeed, this dictionary is very large, containing 81,515 entries with their corresponding meanings. Each entry was selected based on use in both spoken and written Modern Greek. The entries draw upon all levels of the Greek experience to include scientific, technical, and literary terms, words of foreign origin, and slang. Idiomatic phrases and colloquial expressions are also included and translated.

The basic entry structure consists of an entry word, phrase, or sentence; a phonetic transcription and pronunciation guide; identification, in Greek, of the grammatical part of speech (noun, adverb, etc.); spelling variations, with cross-references from variant Greek spellings as required; and an English translation. British English is the standard translated form; American English is included only sparsely.

The dictionary is designed to support study for English-speaking and Greek-speaking users, although with grammatical information given in Greek, Greek speakers seem to be favored. The Korais dictionary is an important addition to reference collections.

Lexiko hellēnikōn syntomographiōn: arktikolexōn, akrōnymiōn, syntmēseōn = Greek Abbreviations Dictionary: [Article Dictionary, Acronyms, Abbreviations]. Comp. St. Perantōnakēs. Athēna: Hermēs, 2008. 302 p. 25 cm. ISBN 978-960-320-1830: EUR 31.65

An RREA Original Review by Anthony J. Oddo (Yale University)

This volume, as its name implies, is an extensive compilation of Greek-language abbreviations that cover a wide range of the Greek social, political, technological, and military experience from the 20th century to the present. The concise introduction orients the reader to the syntactical and stylistic aspects of the work. The bibliography at the end of the book reflects the various Greek and non-Greek sources consulted in compiling this reference tool.

Each entry is listed alphabetically. Those entries for which an abbreviation can represent more than one body are further subdivided into an alphabetical list of the various equivalents. The chronological period when each abbreviation was in use is not identified. When taken from the English-language sources used, English variants are sometimes listed; however, there are no functional cross-references from English forms to the equivalent Greek names. The appendices concentrate on Greek civil and military terminology, citing Greek and English equivalents for such things as Greek orders, British orders of chivalry, and Greek decorations and medals.

This dictionary is comprehensive and detailed although seriously lacking an index, which would make searching English-language names and titles easier. For example, it is impossible for someone who knows English but not Modern Greek to find the abbreviation for the Communist Party of Greece. One needs to know the Greek equivalent, Kommounistikon Komma tēs Hellados, or KKE, beforehand—initials that could also, by the way, stand for the Koino Kentro Ereunōn [Joint Research Center]. One would need a strong command of the language to benefit fully from this work. In that context, Lexiko hellēnikōn syntomographiōn would be a worthwhile addition to a reference collection of an academic institution or government agency supporting Hellenic studies.

Greco antico, neogreco e italiano: dizionario dei prestiti e dei parallelismi [Ancient Greek, Modern Greek, and Italian: Dictionary of Borrowed Words and Parallelisms]. Ed. Amalia Kolonia and Massimo Peri. Bologna: Zanichelli, 2008. 542 p. 22 cm. ISBN 9788808064295: EUR 30

An RREA Original Review by Anthony J. Oddo (Yale University)

As its subtitle states, this work is a dictionary of borrowed words and parallelisms that have come into the Italian language via both Ancient and Modern Greek. The work itself is divided into two principal parts: an introduction on the history of the Greek language in Italy (part 1) and a compact dictionary of ca. 12,000 “borrowed” words and their meanings (part 2). All entries are in the original Greek alphabet and in Modern Greek. Should a Modern Greek work have an ancient Greek equivalent, it is noted. Where applicable, an entry also indicates the word’s specialized usage, for example, legal, medical, or religious connotations. Also indicated within several definitions are words of Greek origin that have come into Italian through the influence of another language, such as French.

Peri’s introduction (part 1) to the text on the linguistic exchange between Italy and Greece is well written and informative. It not only contains historical information on the “forgotten period” of Italian-Greek linguistic history—or, as Peri calls it, a compendium of forgotten history—but also a good introduction on the pronunciation of Greek. An extensive bibliography closes out the first section.

Although there is much to praise in this work, it is too specialized for most reference collections. The book is only appropriate for academic and research library collections, not for more general libraries. It is, however, a worthwhile tool for the individual scholar and would be a welcome addition to one’s personal library.

Großes Wörterbuch Deutsch-Esperanto [Comprehensive German-Esperanto Dictionary]. Erich-Dieter Krause. Hamburg: Buske, 2007. xvii, 1679 p. 25 cm. ISBN 978-3-87548-466-3: EUR 128 [08-1/2-021]

At first look, the publication of Erich-Dieter Krause’s Comprehensive German-Esperanto Dictionary appears to be a monumental achievement in the history of German-Esperanto dictionary publishing and in Esperanto lexicology itself. Krause’s work ends the 80-year wait for a new, all-inclusive dictionary to update previous efforts by Christaller (Deutsch-Esperanto-Wörterbuch, 1910, 1923), Bennemann (Esperanto-Hand-Wörterbuch, 1926), and Wingen (Wörterbuch Deutsch-Esperanto, 1954, 1962). However, the publisher’s claim that this new dictionary contains the entire vocabulary of the vernacular language is surely exaggerated, as evidenced by the decision not to publish in an easily searchable electronic format, suggesting a hesitation that an online version might undermine this claim. In addition, a systematic search for Esperanto translations of German words used in two 2007 news articles, one in BILD-Zeitung and another in Bierzeitung, reveals that Esperanto equivalents of many of the everyday German words used in these articles are not to be found in Krause’s dictionary. Indeed, it turns out that, despite the claim to offer comprehensive coverage, the dictionary would not be sufficient in many instances to translate a menu, a tourist brochure, or a newspaper article. Esperanto vocabulary equivalents for German words in many other thematic areas are likewise absent. Further deficits include Krause’s arbitrary and unsystematic treatment of the connective –o and the use of the hyphen.

In short, the size of Krause’s Comprehensive German-Esperanto Dictionary does not vouchsafe its quality. Indeed, such massive undertakings cannot be the work of a single individual, working alone on ego-enhancing projects; rather, a more systematic, multifaceted approach is required. Despite Krause’s good intentions, he has ultimately done Esperanto a disservice. [rh/jb]

Langenscheidt, Taschenwörterbuch Polnisch: Polnisch- Deutsch, Deutsch-Polnisch. 115.000 Stichwörter und Wendungen [Langenscheidt’s Pocket Dictionary: Polish-German, German-Polish. 115,000 Words and Phrases]. Ed. Susanne Brudermüller and Katarzyna Sarna. Berlin; München: Langenscheidt, 2005. 1439 p. 16 cm. ISBN 978-3-468-11261-6: EUR 28.90 [08-1/2-022]

Pons, Kompaktwörterbuch Polnisch-Deutsch, Deutsch- Polnisch [Pons Compact Dictionary ...]. Ed. Ariane Saadat Afsari. Newly rev. ed. Stuttgart: Klett Sprachen, 2007. 1616 p. 20 cm. ISBN 978-3-12-517018-6: EUR 29.95 [08-1/2-023]

Pons, wielki słownik niemiecko-polski: 150 000 haseł i zwrotów. [Pons Comprehensive German-Polish Dictionary: 150,000 Words and Phrases]. Ed. Anna Dargacz. Poznań: Wydawn. Lektor Klett; Stuttgart: Klett Sprachen, 2007. xviii, 1275 p. 29 cm. ISBN 978-83-7429-384-6 ISBN 978-3-12-517058-2: EUR 49.95 [08-1/2-024]

Pons, wielki słownik polsko-niemiecki: 150 000 haseł i zwrotów [Pons Comprehensive Polish-German Dictionary: 150,000 Words and Phrases]. Ed Anna Dargacz. Poznań: Wydawn. Lektor Klett; Stuttgart: Klett Sprachen, 2008. xix, 1187 p. 29 cm. ISBN 978-83-7429- 85-3; 978-3-12-517059-9: EUR 49.95 [08-1/2-025]

Słownik niemiecko-polski, polsko-niemiecki: Deutsch-Polnisch, Polnisch-Deutsch; dla uczących sie języka niemieckiego [German-Polish, Polish-German Dictionary ... for Those Learning the German Language]. Ed. Juliane Forßmann Ismaning: Hueber, 2008. 1140 p. 22 cm. (Hueber-Wörterbuch Deutsch als Fremdsprache). ISBN 978-3-19-001737-9: EUR 22.95 [08-1/2-026]

Three leading German dictionary publishers, with subsidiaries in Poland, have simultaneously produced new or revised editions of Polish-German dictionaries. One might presume that this is due to Germans’ increased interest in the language of their most important eastern neighbor, which is an EU member and belongs to the Schengen Region, allowing Poles and Germans to move freely from one country to another unhindered by borders or visas. However, this presumption is probably incorrect. It is more likely that these publications are aimed at the Polish market than at the German one. The circle of Polish-language specialists in Germany is still very small, and with the closing in recent years of a number of institutes of Slavic studies at German universities, this is not likely to change, despite the warnings of some discerning German politicians about the importance of the bilateral relationship.

These dictionaries are edited primarily by Polish specialists in German and are intended more for the Polish market than the German. The Hueber Company’s dictionaries are produced exclusively for the Goethe-Institut in Poland, course-levels A1 to C1. Thus, the Hueber dictionary is of limited utility for native German speakers learning Polish.

The four other dictionaries are intended for speakers of both languages and provide commentary and directions in both German and Polish. The Langenscheidt dictionary provides a little more explanatory text in Polish than in German, and the Pons dictionaries include a short course in each language’s grammar. The Pons Comprehensive Dictionary provides a list of false friends and examples of terms from the media, soccer (football), and youth-speak. This last category, however, founders on the rocks of rapid change, quick obsolescence, and a great diversity of regionalisms, which are of limited value for the Polish reader. The same obsolescence obtains with political terms from the communist era, such as lustracja—the investigation of possible communist secret-police connections. Many Polish neologisms are from English and are spelled phonetically, for example, czat (chat) and czip (chip). For these kinds of words, one is advised to consult a specialized dictionary, such as the Polnisch-deutsches Wörterbuch der Neologismen … nach 1989 (see RREA 14:28).

The Hueber dictionary is limited to, but very good for courses in German for Polish speakers, not just those offered by the Goethe-Institut, and provides exercises and further instruction on its website. The other dictionaries are on balance equally good and useful and belong in libraries. The “pocket dictionaries” are more useful for tourism and desk reference. [ks/ga]

Polnisch-deutsches Wörterbuch der Neologismen: neuer polnischer Wortschatz nach 1989 [Polish-German Dictionary of Neologisms: New Polish Vocabulary since 1989]. Erika Worbs, Andrzej Markowski, and Andreas Meger. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2007. xx, 318 p. 25 cm. ISBN 978-3-447-05595-6: EUR 58 [07-2-284]

Among the changes wrought in Poland’s break with communism in 1989 were dramatic transformations in public discourse, with new vocabulary and writing styles in all areas of composition. These were especially noticeable in the press, now free from censorship. Because so many idioms and word meanings were not found in conventional dictionaries, specialized dictionaries of neologisms became very much desired. The demand has been answered in the work at hand, compiled by a research-group from Germersheim and Warsaw.

An important part of this dictionary consists of terms from the political arena, because of both the dismantling of communism and of Poland’s integration into the European Union. An example of a post-communist neologism is czarna teczka (lit., black portfolio—a dossier with compromising documents). Examples of post-EU words include euro-prefixes like eurocent and eurokomisarz, as well as countless Anglo-Americanisms in many different fields, for example, autsajder (outsider) and menedżer (manager). Polish is usually quicker than German to accept foreign elements into Polish orthography and grammar (a woman manager is a menedżerka), often with somewhat different meanings from the English original. The majority of neologisms are found in colloquial speech and slang, such as the word moher (lit., mohair cap), which refers to a pubic personage of narrow-minded opinion. Other neologisms are accepted as is, such as cover, frontman, rave, and tramping.

The categories used in this dictionary are clear and well thought-out and are organized around a unified schemata found on the book’s the end-pages. Each definition and explanation of a neologism gives variants, pronunciation, references to related words, examples of usage, and detailed cultural commentary on the specific Polish situation that inspired the word. The authors have in every way fulfilled their goal of creating “not a dry list of words, but a reader on contemporary Polish history, culture, mentality, and relations with Germany.” This is not only a reference work for the translator but also an appealing cultural-historical book about contemporary Polish life. [ks/ga]

Finlandssvensk ordbok [Finland-Swedish Dictionary]. Ed. Charlotta af Hällström-Reijonen and Mikael Reuter. 4th rev. ed. Helsingfors: Schildts i samarbete med Forskningscentralen för de inhemska språken, 2008. 190 p. 21 cm. ISBN 9789515017499: EUR 33.31

An RREA Original Review by Taru Spiegel (Library of Congress)

Swedish is the second official language of Finland, with the Swedish-speaking population amounting to 5.5% of the total or approximately 289,000 persons. This dictionary of the Swedish language spoken in Finland (Finlandssvensk) lists both words and expressions, with examples of proper usage of these “Finlandisms,” or “Finnishisms,” as well as usage to be avoided. It also points out pronunciation that differs from standard Swedish. This popular reference work first appeared in 2000. The fourth, substantially revised 2008 edition of 190 pages contains about 2,550 entries, of which approximately 450 are new. The work has been compiled by Charlotta af Hällström-Reijonen and Mikael Reuter, language planners (språkvårdar) from the Research Institute for the Languages of Finland [Forskningscentralen för de inhemska språken].

The entries vary from the everyday to bureaucratese. For instance, a car battery in Finland-Swedish is acku or ackumulator, but in Sweden it is referred to as a batteri, bilbatteri, or startbatteri. If one discusses the battery of a car using the Finnish cognate patteri, listeners will have visions of C-batteries under the hood. Häxcirkel [vicious cycle] is known in Sweden as ond cirkel, trollcirkel, or trollkrets. Verksamhetsberättelse [annual report] is used in Finland in lieu of the Swedish förvaltningsberättelse. There are probably some variations to take into account in Finland-Swedish, though. For example, when speaking finlandssvensk, this reviewer would use the word vintermörkret [literally, winter darkness] for “polar night” rather than the Finnish word kaamos suggested in this dictionary.

The Finlandssvensk ordbok is recommended for larger academic libraries that support well-rounded collections in European languages.

Breve diccionario etimológico de la lengua castellana [Brief Etymological Dictionary of the Castilian Language]. Joan Coromines. 3d rev. ed. Madrid: Gredos, 2008. xl, 596 p. 24 cm. (Grandes diccionarios). ISBN 978-84-249-3555-9: EUR 30

An RREA Original Review by Everette Larson (Library of Congress)

Based upon the original Diccionario etimológico de la lengua castellana (Madrid, 19541957), the Breve diccionario is an abbreviated edition intended to supplement the original by reflecting contemporary linguistic scholarship as well as recent discoveries in the historical record of the first appearance of a given word. Stylistically, the work provides systematic etymological histories of Spanish words easily grasped by the layman, while not losing the flavor of the scholarship found in the original multivolume work. The Breve meets an important need in the study of the history of the Spanish language, given that particular etymologies may change as a result of ongoing scholarship, and it is in the separate editions of the Breve that these changes are reflected. Entries provide the date of the first appearance of the term, its variant meanings, and its derivation.

Since 1973, when Gredos first published the third edition, this work has been reprinted 14 times, underscoring the popularity of this title. This edition now appears smaller in overall size, primarily as a result of the use of a reduced font size. One minor issue with this edition is its identification in library catalogs as a result of the spelling of the author’s name. Current scholarship and library authority files utilize the Catalan spelling, Joan Coromines, not the Spanish Juan Corominas; in line with this trend, the publisher, Gredos, is now listing the work under the Catalan spelling—although the majority of the earlier versions were published under the Spanish spelling. As a result, it can be difficult to find all editions of the work in online catalogs, as both versions of the name may need to be searched.

While there are many etymological dictionaries of Spanish, this one has the popularity, currency, and depth of scholarship necessary to an academic program. Major academic libraries should have both the Breve and the multivolume Diccionario etimológico de la lengua castellana. And any collection that serves students of Spanish should have at least one of the editions of Coromines’ Breve diccionario etimológico de la lengua castellana.


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Last update: April 2011 [LC]
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