Äquivalenzen zwischen Französisch und Deutsch: Theorie - Korpus - Indizes. Ein Kontextwörterbuch (review)
- Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America
- Dictionary Society of North America
- Number 12, 1990
- pp. 147-153
- Additional Information
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Reviews147 Äquivalenzen zwischen Französisch und Deutsch: Theorie — Korpus — Indizes. Ein Kontextwörterbuch. Rudolf Zimmer. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1990. ? + 917 pages. As its first subtitle indicates, this book has three distinct parts: "Theoretical Considerations" (7-184), the comparative corpus of parallel French and German phrases (185-609), and separate French and German alphabetical word-indices to the corpus itself and to phrases cited in the "Theorie " section (611-917). Since the corpus constitutes nearly half of the book and forms the basis for the theoretical part, let me begin by describing it. The corpus consists of 9,712 French phrases or sentences and their German equivalents. Though the final entry is numbered 9,999, many categories lack all the envisioned entries. The phrases are given in parallel columns , e. g.: 3635 on sort du sujet wir kommen vom Thema ab Those 9,712 entries are augmented by an additional 1,171 French/ German phrase-pairs used as examples for discussion in the "Theorie" section. These parallel phrases in the "Korpus" section are ordered into 23 categories; but within each category, the pairs of examples appear to be randomly ordered. There is no apparent consistency in the way these categories are defined, and they overlap one another in a variety of ways. Zimmer himself notes, toward the end of his "Theorie" section, that he found himself "constantly forced to make decisions between several conceivable possibilities" and thus, in avoiding repetition of the same examples, the categorizing of some examples "may appear arbitrary" ( 143). The first seven categories are topically defined: politics, government, and economics; juridical and criminal; sports; technology and medicine; meteorology ; metalinguistic; the measurable and the normative. The next two categories are structurally defined: similes; collocations. The six that follow are determined by French/German linguistic relationships: French phrase = German phrase; French phrase similar to German phrase; French phrase unlike German phrase; gallicisms and structures (subdivided into 18 grammatically-determined categories); "false friends" (misleading cognates); and "true friends" (transparent cognates). The last eight categories seem variously determined: phatic and formulaic language; creative language; transposition ; modulation; word-for-word equivalence (not clearly different from the "French phrase = German phrase" category); equivalence that is not word-for-word; equivalence with room for interpretation; colloquial and "sloppy" language and argot. The categories with the greatest variety of examples are: Politics, government, and economics:1 ,400 entries Gallicisms and structures:1 ,089 148Reviews Word-for-word equivalence:993 French phrase unlike German phrase:697 Phatic and formulaic language:655 Equivalence that is not word-for-word:600 French phrase similar to German phrase:560 Technology and medicine:500 Juridical and criminal:496 "False friends":400 It is a rich and fascinating corpus, but one that seems oddly idiosyncratic in terms of both selection and organization. The author's "Introductory Observations" tell us that the corpus is indeed highly personal: collected by him, as a native speaker of German married to a woman whose native language was French, over 25 years (ca. 1965-1990). The collection was based primarily on spoken French derived from experiential situations (24); relatively few examples were taken from printed or literary sources. Zimmer's collection began "as notes toward the firming up and further development of his own French vocabulary" (24). As far as one can tell, the German equivalents are his own "translations" of the French phrases. He intends his book mainly for German teachers of French and French teachers of German, and for translators. How are these audiences to make use of the book? The second subtitle suggests that this is a "contextual dictionary." The corpus as 1 have described it, however, is hardly dictionary-like; the only way one can use it as a dictionary is to look up a word in the index and go from there to the examples in which the word is used. To give some notion of this process, let me take two German examples and follow them through. The literal English translations are my own, and are not intended to be idiomatic; they serve only to allow easy comparison of phrase-structure. The German noun Ansehen occurs in only three entries. The first example D 31 ce livre enl...