Comments on The Oxford English Dictionary

jonas (2018-08-07T09:37:49Z)

> labeling them with the adjective “Akadémiai”

I got this part wrong. <URL: http://www.nytud.hu/ril/mek.html > tells the actual situation. The new edition of the real dictionary has “Akadémiai” in big letters and “Kiadó” with small letters on the top, marking that the book was published by the publisher of the Magyar Tudományos Akadémia. One of the most popular fake books has the exact same title “Magyar értelmező kéziszótár” laid out in a confusingly similar way to the new edition of the real book, but no marking of the publisher or date anywhere in the book. The Gazdasági Versenyhivatal fined the publisher for this confusing book in 2009, but it doesn't look like there was a class action lawsuit to idemnify the parents who bought the book.

This is part of why it took me thirty minutes to decide to buy the Oxford dictionary. Not all Oxford dictionaries of the same size are the same, so I opened the exhibited sample copy and read several entries to make sure it's a good dictionary. My friends were sitting in a café chatting during most of the time. But before they entered the café, I saw the book store, and couldn't stop myself from looking in and quickly noticed the dictionary. I only made up my mind when my friends wanted to leave.

> The academy also publishes a large multi-volume Hungarian dictionary with aim similar to the OED

Its title is “A magyar nyelv értelmező szótára”, and has six volumes <URL: https://www.arcanum.hu/hu/online-kiadvanyok/Lexikonok-a-magyar-nyelv-ertelmezo-szotara-1BE8B/ >

jonas (2018-08-06T10:00:59Z)

As I am not a native-level speaker of English, and so I would not have a use of this beautiful volume. I instead have a smaller, thick one volume Oxford dictionary, that claims it is for “learners” but this is a bit misleading. I bought this book in Wien in 2008 at a whim when I saw it in a bookshop, for I knew that such large dictionaries aren't sold in any book stores in Hungary, and even the worse ones of comparable size that are sold for double the price than this one had in that Wien book store; and I also knew that if I my knowledge of English were not ready to use that dictionary yet, it soon would be. So I debated myself for half an hour, then bought the dictionary for myself as an early Christmas present, and carried it around the city for half a day, and ever since I think this was a really good decision. The dictionary is useful to me because it is much bigger than the larger of the two Longman dictionaries I have, and I now know enough English that I encounter such words that the Longmans don't have. Yet my Oxford is harder to use than my Longman, not only because it's bigger, but also because it doesn't list pronunciation for most words, and because the definitions are often less clear than the ones in the Longman, although still not as obscure as the definitions any Webster dictionary have. The Websters, apparently, are aimed for native speakers who are assumed to be familiar with most English words other than the one defined in the entry, and it is for this reason that I do not use or own a Webster.

Sadly targeting native speakers is also the assumption made by the ''Magyar Értelmező Kéziszótár'', a single-volume dictionary of Hungarian published by the Magyar Tudományos Akadémia (the previous edition was also published in a two volume form). The definitions in this one are so bad, that, I kid you not, both the older and the newer editions have a two-word loop defining “beágyaz” and “megágyaz” from each other, the only other clue being that one of them also mention the now rare expression “ágyat bevet”, thus failing to settle the disagreement I had with my mother (both of us native speakers) on what these words mean. Yet this pitiable dictionary is recommended for native Hungarian primary school students, because there is no single-language Hungarian dictionary better than that; although there is now a large quantity of worse dictionaries, which are greedy publishers selling barely modified reprints of old out of copyright dictionaries, labeling them with the adjective “Akadémiai” to confuse clueless parents to buy them thinking it's the MÉK, for it is easy to fool parents to buy anything they think is good for their children.

The Hungarian-French dictionary by Eckhardt Sándor (or the largest of its three sizes, rather) would actually be much more useful a dictionary of Hungarian, because it is aimed for native French people as much as native Hungarian ones. Only that dictinoary is very obsolete now, more so than the new edition of the MÉK, its definitions are in French, and it has the illness typical to encyclopedias that it has suspiciously fewer words for the later letters of the alphabet than the earlier ones. Ruxor, if you ever want to get serious in learning Hungarian, I recommend you to buy a copy if you haven't yet, and one its French-Hungarian counterpart too, if you haven't yet. You can buy used copies cheaply because there are much fewer Hungarian people learning French now than there used to be when the dictionary was printed.

The academy also publishes a large multi-volume Hungarian dictionary with aim similar to the OED, giving full etimologies (as much as it is known) and citations for each word, but that is a different book, something with I think ''Nagyszótár'' in its title or nickname. I almost never used this book, I am scared of it and feel it's for professional writers in Hungarian.

> but I think it would be the University's duty, if it legally can, to put the <i>Dictionary</i> in the public domain

I disagree with this, for I also don't think it is the duty of a university to put into public domain textbooks written by its workers with the work paid by the university, to the extent they legally can (which isn't really public domain, but let's not go into that).

It is the duty of the University to ensure that textbooks do not go out of print for as long as they are useful. It is their duty to make sure that the university library has as many copies of all textbooks as students need, even in those weeks of year when hundreds of students rush into the library for the same basic calculus textbook their lecturers said will be useful, and half of them don't even read it. Yet at least the latter is not always kept, for mundane reasons of economics.

I also think that it is the duty of any publisher, not limited to universities, that they maintain a publically available list of errata for those textbooks that are still useful, and that they listen to readers suggesting such errata, and have them judged and compiled ideally by the editor of the book, or the editor is no longer willing or able, by some other competnt person. In reality, this is done for very few textbooks.

I myself have published errata for one <URL: http://math.bme.hu/~ambrus/sc/errata/concrete_errata > and a half <URL: http://math.bme.hu/~ambrus/sc/info2/kr-hibak> such textbooks on the internet. I also have the other half of the errata for the latter book long unpublished, and should try to contact the publisher again, send the full errata to them, and blackmail them to publish it themselves or else I shall publish the hidden half myself; and I have a full errata for yet another book, and I should contact two of its three authors, whom I personally know, and send the errata to them, and blackmail them to either convince the publisher to publish it or else publish it themselves or else I shall publish it myself, but this latter is a delicate matter, for those two people are my friends and I owe them favors, and I would not like to lose their friendship over this.

Audrey Hepburn (2005-08-09T08:15:48Z)

J'en ai appris jadis quelques-uns, effectivement. :-)
Toutefois ce ne sera pas une surprise pour certains d'entre vous si je vous apprends que certains sembleraient avoir été écrits plutôt en hommage non à une femme, mais à un autre membre de la gente masculine… ;-)
Ambiguïté quand tu nous tiens…

To my beloved ... (2005-08-09T00:31:36Z)

Voyons, Audrey, une jeune fille bien née comme vous devrait savoir par coeur les sonnets de Shakespeare …

Audrey H. (2005-08-08T19:41:21Z)

Cela me laisse quelque peu "sceptical", if I may. Est-ce vraiment utile? On ne s'amuse pas à relire tous les jours les Canterbury Tales ou les Sonnets shakespeariens.

koxinga (2005-08-08T16:54:13Z)

Dans la même catégorie, le Grand Dictionnaire Ricci, un dictionnaire chinois-français a 300 000 entrées (des "mots", pas des caractères). Il est en 7 volumes et chacun est deja un livre impressionnant. Et en plus, il est vraiment beau, très bien présenté.

J'aimerais bien voir une édition en un seul livre, des caractères chinois sur 1 mm², ça doit être vraiment fun :)

Ruxor (2005-08-08T13:57:45Z)

Le nombre de lignes varie parce qu'il y a des espaces et des trucs imprimés en plus petit, mais sur une colonne typique je trouve 108 lignes, et il y a 3 colonnes par page. Enfin, ça c'est pour une page avant réduction (donc après réduction ça fait dans les 300 lignes et 9 colonnes par page).

En fait, l'interligne normale (pour les parties écrites pas spécialement petit) a l'air d'être 2.8 points (ça veut dire que la hauteur des x doit être quelque chose comme 2.3 points). C'est quand même bigrement petit.

Joël (2005-08-08T13:28:25Z)

Ruxor → Le nombre de lignes par page, pour que l'on puisse se faire une idée plus précise sur la taille des caractères.

Ruxor (2005-08-08T13:18:26Z)

jean → Non, ce n'est clairement pas juste un PDF. Ils ont des fonctions de recherche très avancées, et par ailleurs une protection contre la copie très avancée aussi (semble-t-il).

Joël → Alors là j'avoue que je sèche : quelle est la question (en espérant que mon livre ne va pas s'auto-détruire pour être remplacé par quelque chose de beaucoup plus bizarre et de plus inexplicable si je sais les deux à la fois…) ?

Joël (2005-08-08T10:31:58Z)

Pour ce livre, quelle est la réponse à la question qui pour un autre livre bien connu donnerait « 42 » ?

jean (2005-08-08T08:50:51Z)

La versrion electronique n'est pas en PDF?
Je dis ça car il y a beaucoup de gros "Handbook" qui sont vendus comme étant "windows only". On peut cependant très bien se passer de l'interface mal pensée qu'ils proposent et lire directement le/les pdf sous linux.
Ca me fait aussi mal qu'il n'y ait pas de version linux mais en attendant c'est parfaitement utilisable.


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