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REVIEWS163 methods. For this exacting model of criticism, the modem lexicographer, as well as the historian and scholar of French language and literature will be grateful. Gladys E. Saunders University of Virginia Ali M. Al-Kasimi, Linguistics and Bilingual Dictionaries. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1977. ix, 131pp. DfI. 36.Publication of this sumptuously bound, gold-stamped volume was subsidized by Saudi Arabia. The external appeal of Al-Kasimi's book is matched by the author's introductory promise that Major problems that confront bilingual lexicographers have been identified and solutions have been sought in modern linguistic literature . Throughout the book special efforts have been made to provide workable solutions which will result in great improvements, (p. 10) Bold claims indeed, and it is not up to one reviewer to prove or disprove them. Each working lexicographer who takes Al-Kasimi's book in hand will have to draw his own conclusions. One introductory claim by Al-Kasimi can, however, be examined: . . . numerous bilingual dictionaries of various types and different languages have been studied carefully and their technical features examined thoroughly, (pp. 9-10) Of course, the definition of such lexemes as numerous, various, different, carefully , thoroughly is itself a lexicographical problem. And it is possible that bilingual dictionaries were carefully studied and thoroughly examined without their titles, types, languages and features being mentioned in the book—though that does not do the reader of the book much good. When we get right down to it, however, and try, by means of textual references and footnotes, to calculate how many, and how diverse, bilingual dictionaries were actually examined by Al-Kasimi, our most generous total amounts to eight, as follows: Haugen's Norwegian-English dictionary is mentioned, but not examined; the Larousse English and French dictionary is briefly examined; a quotation is given from the introduction to Harrap's French and English dictionary, but Al-Kasimi's confusing footnote, giving two conflicting publication dates, 1934 and 1958, makes one wonder whether here, as so often elsewhere in the book, the quotation is based upon direct examination of the dictionary, or is not rather obtained from a secondary or tertiary source. That concludes Al-Kasimi's demonstrable 164RICHARD E. WOOD examination of European-language dictionaries. For his native Arabic, five bilingual dictionaries are mentioned; two English and Arabic dictionaries are simply listed by name; from another, dated 1858, there is a quotation from the introductory matter (as for the Harrap's French-English); one English and Arabic dictionary is mentioned several times; and an Arabic, French and English dictionary is briefly quoted. None of these eight dictionaries, or any other, is examined systematically, e.g., in tabular form using Al-Kasimi's own categories. What we are dealing with here, alas, is a highly derivative work, based in large measure upon class notes at the University of Texas, especially upon notes and tape recordings in the lexicography classes of A. A. Hill, to whom the work is dedicated. Such material is in place in the classroom, but bewilderingly out of place when published as a book, especially one which makes the bold, at times immodest, claims of Al-Kasimi: "Examining this classification with an appraising and expert eye. . ." (p. 13), "The writer of this book suggests. . ." (p. 42). The author does not obscure the class-notes origins of so much of the work; they are footnoted. In one chapter, too, "Semantic Problems in the Bilingual Dictionary," Al-Kasimi's footnotes suddenly begin to contain, as they do not elsewhere in the book, references to many titles of bilingual dictionaries, but, all published between 1932 and 1956. On careful reading of another footnote, however, we realize that Al-Kasimi has not begun to actually examine bilingual dictionaries, but that this is secondary material derived from the work of Iannucci and Williams in 1956-60. While we do not expect Al-Kasimi to be a polyglot, he claimed to have examined numerous dictionaries in different languages. But many of the few words cited in German, Russian and Spanish are misspelled and distorted; e.g. in Spanish , the name of the leading lexicographer, Corominas, is consistently misspelled (twice on p. 77; p. 11 8); similar...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 163-164
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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