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REVIEWS Reviews231 English-Czech Dictionary. Velky anglicko-cesky slovnik [ECD]. Karel Hais and Bfetislav Hodek. Ed. Ivan Poldauf. Vol. 1-3. Prague: Academia, 1984-85. 2843 pp. A very important function of a general dictionary is to serve as a comprehension dictionary, used in reading texts. A native speaker has monolingual dictionaries for that purpose. A foreign speaker, however, may use either a monolingual or a bilingual dictionary. Not so long ago the use of a bilingual dictionary was considered to be wrong, and foreign users were discouraged from using one. Yet for them it has obvious advantages: the information is received in the foreigner's own language, and, because ofthat, this information is more quickly absorbed. The bilingual dictionary, it appears, can be the fastest comprehension dictionary for foreign users. There are also countries in which it is rather difficult to buy dictionaries published outside, and those who use a foreign language there will predominantly rely on bilingual dictionaries . This is the case of Central European countries, such as Czechoslovakia or Poland, or the Soviet Union. Dictionary makers in some of these countries seem to understand this situation clearly: they produce huge bilingual dictionaries that are to serve for comprehension. The New EnglishRussian Dictionary1 is such a work, and the dictionary under review here seems to belong to this category as well. The editors explicitly state as much in the preface (5). It seems obvious that such bilingual dictionaries should be reviewed by criteria used in evaluating monolingual dictionaries; interestingly enough, this dictionary has some features that are considered to be more characteristic of monolingual than bilingual dictionaries, even though description of one natural language by means of another is certainly more difficult than description in the same language. But before I take up this point, let me discuss ECD generally. 232Reviews It took about twenty years to make this dictionary. It is the third big bilingual dictionary published in Bohemia. At first the Concise Oxford Dictionary provided the basic wordlist (5th, later 6th, edition).2 The list of other dictionaries used for ECD is quite impressive. It contains the most important dictionaries of the English language, the latest being the Collins Dictionary of the English Language. Indeed, the word-list in ECD is mostly similar to that in CED, though some of the items from COD not included by CED have been retained (e.g., gaddi,) while ECD omits rarely used archaic and dialect items from CED (e.g., fyrd, gadzooks). It must be added, however, that the description in ECD is quite different from that in CED. The makers of ECD also made thenown excerption to supplement the data of monolingual dictionaries . All this means that the word-list in ECD is quite extensive , fully comparable to that in standard desk monolingual dictionaries. ECD is said to have about 100,000 entries, though the actual number of lexical items is higher, as with compounds the nesting arrangement is often used. This can be traced back to COD, as CED is "American-like" in having nominal compounds as main entries. ECD is really a large dictionary, and the editors were apparently not constrained by limitations of space. The print is large and not cramped on the page. Moreover, there is a good deal of repetition in the dictionary : the same word combination may be entered under all its components, or the same collocations may be repeated. The most striking example can be found in the entries on letters of the alphabet, a, b, c, etc. They all have the following collocations: a capital / large / upper case X, a small / little / lower case x. Some proper names are also listed in both the body and the appendices, e.g., Yvonne, Yugoslavia. The repetitions are certainly very useful for the Reviews233 user, though there is some inconsistency in the treatment (about which more later on), and the dictionary in its three largish volumes is rather unwieldy. What features of a monolingual dictionary can be found in ECDI First of all, this dictionary has very rich illustrative material, which is, however, not translated into Czech in extenso , except for shorter chunks, which might be difficult for a Czech. This is a...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 230-242
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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