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Dictionaries and reference grammars

A discussion of the peculiarities of languages and the differences between them.

Dictionaries and reference grammars

Postby Garzo » Fri Sep 23, 2005 10:30 am

I'm going to have to be doing more work in French and German next year, and I'm thinking of updating my tools. I still cling onto the bits and pieces that got through by school exams, but they are severly lacking when it comes to versatility and translating obscure academic texts. I really could do with a translating dictionary and a reference grammar (as opposed to a teaching grammar -- repetez!) in each language. I think the Oxford-Dudens German Dictionary probably fits the bill, but I don't know about the Oxford-Hachette, and I don't know about grammars.

-- Garzo.
"Poetry is that which gets lost in translation" — Robert Frost
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Postby anders » Fri Sep 23, 2005 12:39 pm

I can't judge it from your point of view, but Harrap's New Standard Dictionnaire Français-Anglais seldom if ever lets me down, even for very special tech vocabulary. It's two parts, ISBN 0 245-50972-0 and 0 245-50973-9.

For an example, I once had to do a recipe, which seemed to tell the cook that the coolie should be passed in a Chinese. It turned out to mean that the tomato sauce (coulis) should be run through a conical sauce strainer (chinois).

For German, I mostly use Swedish, sufficiently comprehensive, dictionaries, and I'm not familiar with any post-high school grammars for French or German.
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Postby Garzo » Fri Sep 23, 2005 4:20 pm

Thanks Anders. The Bescherelle seems appropriate for French, but I'm not sure if volume 1 simply covers verb conjugation. I've also looked at German in Review, which (although a teaching grammar) looks pretty good. I'm still searching...

-- Garzo.[/u]
"Poetry is that which gets lost in translation" — Robert Frost
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Postby M. Henri Day » Sat Sep 24, 2005 5:22 am

Garzo, why not take a look at what is available on-line ? For obscure words I find it best to check first in a monolingual dictionary, in order to grasp the concept, and then, if e g, an English translation doesn't immediately come to me, try checking in a bilingual work. For French, I've found that TV5's monolingual dictionary serves me very well (it passed Anders' test above with flying colours), and even the bilingual version is pretty good (50 % on Anders' test : «coulis» as «sauce» was no problem, but «chinois» as a fine strainer was not listed). For German, I use xipolis as a monolingual reference, but have no stronger preferences regarding the various bilingual dictionaries available....

Henri[/i]
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