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REVIEW ARTICLE ENGLISH AND RUSSIAN: TWO BILINGUAL DICTIONARIES TADEUSZ PIOTROWSKI The Oxford English-Russian Dictionary. Ed. P. S. Falla. Oxford: Clarendon, 1984 (repr. with corrections, 1987). English-Russian/Russian-English Dictionary. Kenneth Katzner. New York: Wiley, 1984. These two dictionaries, produced by native speakers of English, are aimed at English-speaking users rather than at the Russian public, though of course they can be useful to both. The Falla volume is a long-awaited companion to the Oxford Russian-English Dictionary by Marcus Wheeler. The onevolume dictionary by Katzner is both English-Russian and Russian-English and is the first such dictionary to be produced by an American in the U.S.A. The publication of these dictionaries indicates that there is a great deal of interest in Russian in the English-speaking countries and therefore a relatively large number of potential buyers there. On the other hand, there seems to exist some sort of disappointment with the material found in the Soviet English-Russian dictionaries, and Katzner speaks openly on the subject: "Many of the English words and phrases they contain (especially in the case of the English-Russian dictionaries) have a quaint nineteenth-century flavor about them, and some of them make one wonder where they could possibly have been found" (v). As books, the two dictionaries are identical in size and almost identical in number of pages, but they obviously differ in scope. The preface to the Oxford English-Russian Dictionary (henceforth OERD) says the dictionary has about 90,000 English words and phrases. It says nothing about the number of entries, which seems to be about 40,000. There are no figures in the English-Russian/Russian-English Dictionary by Katzner (hereafter ERRED), and at a (very) rough estimate it has some 65,000 entries in both parts. 127 128 English and Russian: Two Bilingual Dictionaries ERRED has a separate glossary of proper nouns (895-904), which includes names of continents, countries, some other geographic entities, states of the Union, Canadian provinces, more important cities and their sections, oceans, seas, lakes, etc., mountains, and famous names. The lists are usually quite short, and I wonder whether it would not be a good idea to supply some remarks on the rules of transcription·from Latinscript names into the Cyrillic script: noting, for example, that Russians usually indicate pronunciation rather than spelling in their transcriptions, or that is traditionally rendered by (e.g., Homer - Gomer, Hamlet - Gamlet.1 It is rather surprising that the relevant adjectives cannot be found in the glossary but are listed in the body of the dictionary, and the glossary should at least indicate this arrangement. The fact that the glossary is in only one direction, from English to Russian, will put anyone who wishes to work in the other direction at a disadvantage. This dictionary does not include forenames, with one exception: Jesus is treated as a forename and has an entry, while Christ is considered to be a surname and is listed in the glossary. This is certainly not a satisfactory solution. In OERD all entries, including proper names, are in a single alphabetical list, and unlike ERRED, it has no surnames of celebrities. There are some interesting similarities and differences between the two dictionaries. Let us look first at the formal aspects. Aimed at English-speaking users, neither ERRED nor OERD has any information on English pronunciation or grammar. As for Russian, both attempt to provide the necessary grammatical information for correct formation of Russian word-forms. ERRED has tables for the regular inflection of nouns, adjectives, and verbs (x-xiii), including irregular forms under appropriate entries in the RussianEnglish section. It is difficult to achieve a good balance in indicating what is regular and what is not. There is a rule in Russian, for example, that all perfective verbs prefixed with vyhave the stress shifted onto the prefix, but as there is no information on Russian stress in ERRED, these forms have to be indicated in the entries, which is useful but, one feels, not quite sufficient. Tadeusz Piotrowski129 Moreover, some other formal aspects of Russian are regular but do not belong to inflection. Thus, ERRED should perhaps have some...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 127-142
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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