Dictionaries you use (and have known and loved)

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Le Baron
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Location: The scullery
Languages: English (N), Nederlands, Français, Deutsch, Sranantongo (rusty), Esperanto.
Studying: Castellano, Swahili, rather slowly, but surely. Dabbled in: Cantonese, Russian, Norwegian, Hawaiian.
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Dictionaries you use (and have known and loved)

Postby Le Baron » Thu Jun 10, 2021 12:03 am

Back in the 'old days' (pre-web days really) I relied on my stock of reference books very heavily. I'm sure many others here also did. Every household that didn't want to be tarnished with the appellations of being 'ignorant' and a bit 'common', had to have at least one dictionary and an encyclopaedia; or a set of them, traditionally sold door-to-door, and above the RRP, by seedy travelling salesmen.

All that has changed. For a lot of people there are no dictionaries on those IKEA floating shelves, let alone one in a foreign language. Or your dictionary might be now lurking inside your smartphone as an 'app'. Not quite able to be flicked between page 10 and page 1,910 by the nimble movement of a thumb.

I have a lot of dictionaries. I'm sure you do too and I think we should talk about them. Revel in them in all of their well-used falling apart-ness and greasy black end-of-pages from constant use-ness. From whence they came to us, ones that have given up the ghost and ones that just disappeared. I'll start.

Back when Le Baron was a young knave, I had no proper dictionary at all of my own. Then when I got to school, maybe in class 3, they doled-out some small dictionaries to us. These were Collins Etymological dictionaries, bound in turquoise cloth. The frontispiece showed it was a cast-off from the old Girls' Grammar School. I've never looked back and I now always want an etymological dictionary. I still have that book. Unfortunately the spine has fallen off.
I got my first English-French dictionary as a gift aged maybe 14. It was a Harrap's 'shorter'. No idea where that is.

Here's a rundown of what I currently use:

For English I use a huge Chambers dictionary, which I've had since 1998. The binding is getting tatty and will need some rebinding work to continue. I do have a Concise OED from the 1950s which fits nicely into the hand, but has 'disappeared'. It may be at someone else's house or in a box. I also use the Chambers Thesaurus and there's a Penguin 'book of synonyms' knocking about, but it's not as good.

For Dutch I use a 'pocket' Prisma Dutch-English for any bi-lingual definitions. This one has greasy page edges from being thumbed under extreme conditions, like when I was eating and studying at the same time. For monolingual an old (but very good) 3-inch thick, cloth-bound copy of Koenen's 'Handwoordenboek'. The 27th edition from 1979. I have a 1949 old 'Renier's Dutch-English', never seen one anywhere else. There is also a Kramer's somewhere, but I never use it. No 'dikke Van Dale'. The Prisma thesaurus is so-so, you don't see many thesauri around here.

For French I use a huge Collins-Roberts for bi-lingual cross-reference. Previously it was the Harrap's and a Le Petit Robert and like Chuck Norris, both are missing in action. I use a Larousse 'de poche' (published before I was born) for monolingual in-depth definitions. There's also a Dictionnaire du français argotique and a hardback Robert thesaurus.

German one of choice is the Langenscheidt bi-lingual, with its recognisable yellow jacket. A nice fat book that sits well in the hand. Very thorough, but manageable that one. There is a Duden Universalwörterbuch from 2001 which gets less use. I also use an old double-volume Dutch-German set of books. For any speedy reference when reading, a Collins 'gem' mini dictionary.

Spanish is a large, hardback Collins-Noguer, gifted from the Instituto Cervantes. There's also a small Harrap's French-Spanish. I also use an Océano Básico, which is like the Collins 'Gem'.

Best is Esperanto. Apart from a John Wells dictionary, which is now hard to find 2nd hand, I have two hardback mini-dictionaries. They're the same dictionary, but one published 1926 (3rd printing 1936). Looking all Art-Deco and titled 'Schidlof's', but published by Meulenhoff. The other is the 4th printing of 1952. 'Schidlof's' has disappeared and has only the publisher's name 'Meulenhoff' on the cover. That edition also implements the revised Dutch spelling of 1947, the first 'modern' version of the new spelling.

There are scattered dictionaries/mini-dictionaries for a lot of other languages I've dabbled in, like Russian, Turkish, Indonesian. Plus a very nice Latin dictionary. But this has dragged on far too long already.

What about you? Maybe you're too cool for school and don't need dictionaries.
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Chung
Green Belt
Posts: 471
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2015 9:39 pm
Languages: SPEAKS: English*, French
STUDIES: German, Hungarian, Italian
STUDIED: Azeri, BCMS/SC, Czech, Estonian, Finnish, Korean, Latin, Northern Saami, Polish, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Turkish, Ukrainian
DABBLED: Bashkir, Chuvash, Crimean Tatar, Inari Saami, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Latvian, Lithuanian, Meadow Mari, Mongolian, Romanian, Tatar, Turkmen, Tuvan, Uzbek
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Re: Dictionaries you use (and have known and loved)

Postby Chung » Thu Jun 10, 2021 2:43 am

About 80% of the dictionaries that I've collected are visible in this photo. Since I took this photo in 2013, I've added a few hardcopy dictionaries for Italian and Korean as well as a couple of new ones for German and Hungarian, plus one-offs for Dutch, Indonesian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish. Just in case.

On October 3, 2013 at 3:28pm in “Language Learning Material-upload photos!” at how-to-learn-any-language.com, Chung wrote:
Juan wrote:You know you want to

Hard copies of stuff not in boxes or strewn on my desk.

Image

Hard copies for my beloved Uralic languages.

Image


A few I've yet to use, and others I've used fewer than 10 times since buying them. For the latter it was to look up something specific / rare or to do some cross-checking with entries in dictionaries that I've used more often.

In 2019, I posted in a related thread "Paper Dictionaries: why?" about the online dictionaries that I was using. I'm still working with German and Italian but have had Hungarian back in the rotation for a while while having shelved Azeri and Finnish (and Slovak) before this year.

German
- PONS English <> German (about as good as my copies of the larger English <> German dictionaries published by Oxford and Collins. It shows lots of nuances for an entry and is backed up by a serviceable database of usage examples - my first choice for an online English <> German dictionary)
- Langenscheidt English <> German (similar to PONS but not as many nuances given for an entry, although it has different example sentences for its entries, and so useful for getting a second opinon)
- WordReference (similar to PONS and Langenscheidt, but because it's user-generated, I find its quality less consistent than I would like. Nevertheless, I often find it useful.)
- DWDS (monolingual and useful to complement what I glean from PONS, Langenscheidt, WordReference and Duden)
- Duden Online (monolingual and useful to complement what I glean from PONS, Langenscheidt, WordReference and DWDS)
- Langenscheidts Großwörterbuch, Deutsch als Fremdsprache (old monolingual German gold from the '90s that I picked up for peanuts on Amazon)
- Langenscheidt Taschenwörterbuch: Deutsch-Englisch (a compact but still handy German-English dictionary that I keep in my work bag just in case I get stumped about a word in whatever German book I'm reading while going to work and can't get a signal to look things up with my phone. I don't want to buy a dictionary app for my phone)
- PONS Wörterbuch für Schule und Studium 1 Englisch-Deutsch & PONS Wörterbuch für Schule und Studium 2 Deutsch-Englisch (this is a bit like what happens when you split the large PONS Großwörterbuch Englisch-Deutsch/Deutsch-Englisch into two volumes. When I read more advanced German texts at home, I keep the German-English volume handy, while when I need to write something in German, I like to keep the English-German volume handy. I prefer this way instead of digging out my one big volume of Collins German Dictionary

Hungarian
- Angol-magyar kéziszótár / A Concise English-Hungarian Dictionary & Magyar-angol kéziszótár / A Concise Hungarian-English Dictionary (until recently, these have been the only choices available for anyone wanting a useable dictionary between English and Hungarian. My editions are fairly dated so I don't use them as much as I used to, but they're the largest ones on my shelf)
- Magyar értelmező kéziszótár (I have a slightly different edition of this monolingual dictionary as the picture shows, but until the larger version of this dictionary was made available as a free database a few years ago, I relied on my copy of the concise edition in hardcopy whenever I wanted to get a little more information on an unfamiliar Hungarian word. It was actually a gift from one of my high school teachers, so it has a certain sentimental value)
- Angol-magyar idiómaszótár: Angol és amerikai szókapcsolatok (my copy is an older edition but I use this dictionary whenever I want to use a Hungarian counterpart of an English idiom when writing in Hungarian)
- Lingea angol-magyar/magyar-angol szótár, SZTAKI Szótár & Wiktionary (these are my choices for two-way online dictionaries between English and Hungarian. They're nowhere near as good as the bilingual dictionaries on PONS that I use for German and Italian, but we're talking about Hungarian here)

Italian
- PONS English <> Italian (similar to case with German, it's about as good as my copies of the larger English <> Italian dictionaries published by Collins. It shows lots of nuances for an entry and backed up by a serviceable database of usage examples - my first choice for an online English <> Italian dictionary)
- WordReference English <> Italian (a useful alternative to PONS)
- Grande Dizionario Italiano Hoepli (monolingual and useful to complement what I glean from PONS and Wordreference)
- Webster's New World Italian Dictionary: Italian-English/English Italian Concise Edition (a solid medium two-way dictionary that I like for the entries containing a fair few of examples of idiomatic uses)
- Larousse Concise Dictionary: Italian-English / Inglese-Italiano (a similarly solid medium two-way dictionary like the preceding but with the bonus of cross-referencing each Italian verb to a model verb in the appendix so that I can also look up the conjugational pattern without digging out my copy of the Bescherelle for Italian verbs)
- Collins-Sansoni Italian Dictionary/Italian-English, English-Italian (the "heavy artillery" in my "arsenal" although my Italian still isn't advanced enough that I've needed to consult it).

I also have a few reasonably accurate and up-to-date phrasebooks or mini-dictionaries for slang or colloquialisms (circa 2005 and later) in a few languages, and do know about online sources like Mundmische and Sprachnudel for German, and Hogymondom for Hungarian.
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Le Baron
Blue Belt
Posts: 510
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:14 pm
Location: The scullery
Languages: English (N), Nederlands, Français, Deutsch, Sranantongo (rusty), Esperanto.
Studying: Castellano, Swahili, rather slowly, but surely. Dabbled in: Cantonese, Russian, Norwegian, Hawaiian.
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Re: Dictionaries you use (and have known and loved)

Postby Le Baron » Thu Jun 10, 2021 12:51 pm

Nice. Think twice before moving house and having to box up and transport those weighty books! I almost did my back in transporting 9 huge boxes.... :shock:
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Chung
Green Belt
Posts: 471
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2015 9:39 pm
Languages: SPEAKS: English*, French
STUDIES: German, Hungarian, Italian
STUDIED: Azeri, BCMS/SC, Czech, Estonian, Finnish, Korean, Latin, Northern Saami, Polish, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Turkish, Ukrainian
DABBLED: Bashkir, Chuvash, Crimean Tatar, Inari Saami, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Latvian, Lithuanian, Meadow Mari, Mongolian, Romanian, Tatar, Turkmen, Tuvan, Uzbek
x 1918

Re: Dictionaries you use (and have known and loved)

Postby Chung » Thu Jun 10, 2021 5:26 pm

Le Baron wrote:Nice. Think twice before moving house and having to box up and transport those weighty books! I almost did my back in transporting 9 huge boxes.... :shock:


Well, if it'd come down to needing to save hard copies on my bookshelf, I'd take out the following:

On Aug. 22, 2019 at 2:19 am in “Shopping for language materials when travelling”, Chung wrote:
Image

Of all the books on my shelves, these would be the ones (especially the ones I got in Lapland) I'd be keenest to keep because of how expensive they could be for me to replace.

From left to right in the upper row:
- Sámi-suoma-sámi Sátnegirji (bidirectional dictionary of Northern Saami and Finnish)
- Guldal garjjá - Hear the Raven (translated collection of Amerindian folklore for children as a dual-language book in Northern Saami and English)
- Sämikielâ 1 (children's primer for Inari Saami)
- Suuri englanti-suomi sanakirja (Large English-Finnish Dictionary - this one is special because I got it brand-new on sale for €16.70 at a bookstore in Savonlinna as suggested by the red price sticker on the lower right of the front cover with tarjous "(on) sale". The full price then was €70)

From left to right in the lower row:
- Davvin 1-4 - Saamen kielen peruskurssi (Finnish edition of the 4-part series of textbooks and CDs for Northern Saami)


The rest I could ultimately replace without spending that much or find workable/up-to-date substitutes since the languages in question aren't ultimately that obscure even though they're not FIGS. I'm thinking particularly of my stuff for other Uralic languages, Turkish, Korean, and Balto-Slavonic languages other than Russian.

If I were that lazy about taking stuff when moving house, I guess that I could organize some kind of giveaway through HTLAL/LLORG of any material that I wouldn't expect to use again.
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Iversen
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Languages: Monolingual travels in Danish, English, German, Dutch, Swedish, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Romanian and (part time) Esperanto
Ahem, not yet: Norwegian, Afrikaans, Platt, Scots, Russian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Albanian, Greek, Latin, Irish, Indonesian and a few more...
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1027
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Re: Dictionaries you use (and have known and loved)

Postby Iversen » Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:39 pm

In April 2020 I returned from a family visit and found that my bookshelves for some unfathomable reason had crashed. It took me several days to get them up again and refilled with books, but you can see the result below. It may be slightly unusual to have book shelves standing a meter in front of your windows without the support of a wall, but I had introduced a slight bend at an earlier occasion (3 shelves plus 1 at a slight angle) where I had noticed a sizeable slant, and I believed that was enough. OK, it wasn't, so no I have increased the bending and added some support sticks and hanging thingies in strings to make it easier to check the angle and avoid future crashes.

The reason that the shelves aren't leaning against a solid wall is that the backside is full of literature from the distant past where I still read that kind of stuff, and I don't have wall space for a double set of bookshelves. There is however a second set of shelves in my living room (slightly lower, but same width) where I keep old VHS tapes, fotoalbums, Grove's dictionary of music, zoo catalogues, a limited number of music CDs and some other items that fall outside the main categories. And then I have of course also some homemade shelves for my music cassettes, collection 1 and 2. The 150 or so paintings that aren't hanging on my walls are kept in my bedchamber. And I threw my LPs out last year (no functioning grammophone, hate scratches).

By the way, I once made a Youtube video about my language book collection, but it's as boring as the rest of my old videos. I have thought about removing them all, but it goes against my instincts as a collector to throw anything away, even though it is worthless junk. Occasionally some poor soul for incomprehensible reasons still signs up to my channel, but I don't intend to add anything new, and since I also have stopped giving lectures at gatherings and congresses there won't be any new videos with me anywhere else on the internet either - and I actually feel elated at that prospect (no activity, no reactions). I did upload my musical compositions to the IMSLP site a couple of years ago, but apart from that this forum is the only place where I still am active ... so it'd better stay alive for a long time!!

F6015a03_crash.jpg
F6015a03_crash.jpg (46.22 KiB) Viewed 1376 times

F6015a05_shelves.JPG
F6015a05_shelves.JPG (131.19 KiB) Viewed 1376 times

PS: I'm seriously impressed by Chung's collection!
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AlexSlater1234567
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Languages: English, Italian, Russian, German, Arabian, Chinese, Greek
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Re: Dictionaries you use (and have known and loved)

Postby AlexSlater1234567 » Wed Jun 16, 2021 1:37 pm

Strangely, the Oxford, Merriam Webster, and other various "dictionary.com" websites now don't have a very well made page o.O. As if the programmer never finished 1st year.

As if, they accidentally left the password controls open with someone's nephew, and they said "Would you like to try fixing up the site?", and then he just never looked back at it again. All of these junk pop ups, and all kinds of WRONG synonyms pop up.

Like, I searched for a synonym for "Superstition", and found "Paranoia" as the first one. See the problem today?
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Le Baron
Blue Belt
Posts: 510
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:14 pm
Location: The scullery
Languages: English (N), Nederlands, Français, Deutsch, Sranantongo (rusty), Esperanto.
Studying: Castellano, Swahili, rather slowly, but surely. Dabbled in: Cantonese, Russian, Norwegian, Hawaiian.
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Re: Dictionaries you use (and have known and loved)

Postby Le Baron » Wed Jun 16, 2021 5:40 pm

Crikey! It's a good thing they didn't fall the other way through the window! I'll have a look at the video in the minute.

Iversen wrote:zoo catalogues...

Zoo catalogues?

Iversen wrote:And I threw my LPs out last year (no functioning grammophone, hate scratches).

Made me cry that one.

Iversen wrote:I did upload my musical compositions to the IMSLP site a couple of years ago, but apart from that this forum is the only place where I still am active ... so it'd better stay alive for a long time!!

I looked on there, it's an extensive output! I just downloaded 3 Not very Easy Piano Pieces onto the tablet and tried it out on the piano. I did quite well with the first one (I'm a fairly capable pianist) and then it fell apart in the second at that key change to E major in bar 15.. I thought: 'he's having me on, like some sort of Erik Satie.' I'll look at the string quartets/trios later on. I also see a saxophone work, they're a rarity. I know someone always looking for new works to play for sax (that seems rude, but isn't!), either sax and piano or small ensemble.
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