2011-05-13

Print, online and electronic dictionaries

Since I was a child, I have always loved dictionaries and benefited from them than from any other kind of books. Although I have no (senseless) hobby of collecting anything for the sake of collection, including dictionaries, quite a few dictionaries of various languages have been accumulated in my private library. For lack of space and for other professional reasons I keep only those dictionaries that I consider worthy of space here. The following is a list of (print) dictionaries I love and consult most frequently in five languages I use actively:

  • Hebrew
    • Choueka, Y. (ed.). 1997. רב-מילים המילון השלם. Tel Aviv: Center for Educational Technology.
    • Alcalay, R. (ed.). 1990. The Complete Hebrew-English Dictionary. Tel Aviv: Massada.
    • Doniach, N. & Kahane, A. (eds.). 1996. The Oxford English-Hebrew Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    • Rosenthal, R. 2005. מילון הסלנג המקיף. Jerusalem: Keter.
    • Rosenthal, R. 2007. הלקסיקון של החיים: שפות במרחב הישראלי. Jerusalem: Keter.
  • Yiddish
    • Weinreich, U. 1968. Modern English-Yiddish Yiddish-English Dictionary. New York: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.
    • Niborski, Y. & Vaisbrot, B. (eds.). 2002. Dictionnaire yiddish-français. Paris: Bibliothèque Medem.
    • Niborski, Y. 1999. װערטערבוך פֿון לשון-קודש-שטאַמיקע װערטער אין ייִדיש. Paris: Bibliothèque Medem.
  • Esperanto
    • Duc Goninaz, M. (ed.). 2005. Plena ilustrita vortaro de Esperanto 2005. Paris: Sennacieca Asocio Tutmonda.
    • Konisi, G. (ed.). 2006. Esperanto-Japana Vortaro. Tokyo: Japana Esperanto-Instituto.
    • Miyamoto, M. (ed.). 1998. Vortaro Japana-Esperanta. Tokyo: Japana Esperanto-Instituto.
    • Benson, P. J. 1995. Comprehensive English-Esperanto Dictionary. El Cerrito, CA: Esperanto League for North America.
  • Japanese
    • Matsumura, A. (ed.). 2006. Daijirin. Tokyo: Sanseido.
    • Shinchosha (ed.). 2007. Shincho nihongo kanji jiten. Tokyo: Shinchosha.
  • English
    • Takebayashi, S. et al. (eds.). 2005. Kenkyusha Luminous English-Japanese Dictionary. Tokyo: Kenkyusha.
    • Kojima, Y. et al. (eds.). 2005. Kenkyusha Luminous Japanese-English Dictionary. Tokyo: Kenkyusha.
    • Ichikawa, S. et al. (eds.). 1995. The Kenkyusha Dictionary of English Collocations. Tokyo: Kenkyusha.
    • Soanes, C. & Stevenson, A. (eds.). 2005. Oxford Dictionary of English. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Since there were no online and electronic dictionaries when I started using dictionaries, I still rely heavily on print dictionaries. I have nether even given a serious thought to the possibility of using online and electronic dictionaries until I have decided rather recently to start working at a public library. Perhaps no public library has all the above-mentioned print dictionaries on open shelves. And of course, I cannot shlep all of them every time I go to a public library. So I have made a rather extensive survey of available online dictionaries. Here is a list of online dictionaries I will probably use in these five languages (for Yiddish I have found no good online dictionary). Unfortunately, the best ones requires subscription fees (they are marked with an asterisk):

Online dictionaries have one disadvantage: I cannot use them if I do not have an Internet connection, which is quite ubiquitous these days but is not always available everywhere. So I have searched and tried a number of electronic dictionaries, and have purchased Babylon. Its greatest advantage is that it is multilingual; in the single user interface I can check words in English, Hebrew, Japanese, Russian, German, French, Italian, Spanish, etc. Unfortunately, it does not have sufficiently good modules for Yiddish and Esperanto, but it has become one of the dictionaries I use most frequently now (on weekdays). It is not the cheapest dictionary, but I recommend it to anyone who is a polyglot in major languages.