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Reviews283 Doris A. Bartholomew and Louis C. Schoenhals, Bilingual Dictionariesfor Indigenous Languages. Summer Institute of Linguistics. México, D.F., Instituto Lingüístico de Verano 1983. xviii + 370 pages. Price not stated. The predecessor of the work under review is Dow F. Robinson's Manual for Bilingual Dictionaries (I-III; Santa Ana, California, Summer Institute of Linguistics 1969). Both manuals focus on the indigenous languages of Latin America, above all those of Mexico, Central America, and the South (West) of the United States. Also, both are written for the Summer Institute of Linguistics. The latter circumstance entails not only a strong influence of Pike's teachings, but also the decision to write the book specifically for its intended audience, namely the Bible translators who are connected with the Summer Institute and who work in the areas indicated. This is why the book under review has several specificities; e. g., it is written for a (future) Summer Institute lexicographer who has had only a minimal training in linguistics; who does not know the vernacular language for which the dictionary is planned; and who has only a modest knowledge of the other language of most of the dictionaries planned, which is Spanish (since most of the future Summer Institute lexicographers come from the U.S. and Canada). Consequently, all the advice given is based on field methods, elicitation from native informants, checking the equivalents with educated speakers of Spanish, and the like. Considering all odds these limitations entail, the book is successful. It gives sound advice, stressing not so much points of theory or more abstract methodology, but rather operational procedures. For instance, every lexicographer knows what a nuisance the fauna and flora of an ecologically different area can be. Our authors give a short survey of the practically possible solutions quoting examples of how various dictionaries of the SIL galaxy proceeded (Latin terms, descriptions, pictures, closest equivalents, etc.), but they concentrate on what the lexicographer really can do, not omitting such details as how to reach the Mexico City zoo from downtown to get acquainted with the animals (p. 88) or which lenses to use when making photographs of 284Reviews flowers to be sent to a specialist for identification (p. 90); when to use a bilingual but uneducated mestizo to get really used rural Spanish equivalents and when to go for a monolingual, educated urban speaker of Spanish (p. 111). Naturally, all the discussion is custom-made for the SIL situation; few lexicographers doing field work outside of this realm can have the manuscript checked by a linguistic consultant for several weeks as to the correctness of the grammatical categories, or have the correctness of the equivalents checked by the Spanish department and then send the material to the computer department for further processing, etc. (e. g., p. 252 f.). In a similar way, the authors are keenly aware of the impact such a dictionary will have on at least some members of a rural, at best only semi-illiterate tribe or village; therefore, no taboo-words, no vulgar sentences, nothing in the illustrative sentences that could be offensive, or controversial, to religion, culture, or feelings. Most bilingual lexicographers of contemporary languages do not care much about the status of loan-words; our authors know, however, that attitudes to loan words, to their being spelt either as they are in Spanish or as they are locally pronounced, vary from one area to another, so each lexicographer must make a sociolinguistic inquiry for his own purpose (p. 124 ff.). These 'socio-' aspects are the most original feature of the book. The description of the lexicographic procedures themselves is sound and reasonable. Only rarely did I find an infelicitous passage; so, e. g., p. 191, where Sp. ablandar 'to soften' (anything by whatever means) is considered a synonym of exprimir 'to squeeze' (in order to soften an orange to suck out the juice) whereas contundir 'to bruise' (fruit) and amasar, sobar 'to knead' (bread dough) are regarded as 'analogous terms' (whatever that might be). The example probably got distorted by the omission of the vernacular words from some Indian language. However, several parts of the book are important in a broader context; so...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 283-285
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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