Concise Oxford German Dictionary
Oxford University Press – £25.00
There are foreign language dictionaries that translate words succinctly (which is great) and then there are foreign language dictionaries that take said translation a step further. By analysing the origin and formation of words, some dictionaries – such as the Concise Oxford German Dictionary – succeed in depicting their translation(s) as so much more than what’s merely written on the page.
For instance, one can quite often look up a German word in a dictionary, and still not fully understand its translated meaning. Whereas herein, such lack of explanation absolutely isn’t the case. This is as a result of the countless examples given – that utilizes relative bold type throughout – which, if one doesn’t fully understand the translation or the explanation first time around, one is bound to stumble upon a literary direct hit cum realisation, second time around.
What’s more, certain translated examples inspire one to investigate ever further, which, if truth be known (or looked up), is what a really good dictionary is all about, isn’t it?
As Michael Clark has written in the Preface: ‘’For this new edition the Concise Oxford German Dictionary has been given a new visual presentation, making it even more accessible and easy to use. The text has been updated using the unparalleled language databases maintained and continually expanded by Oxford University Press and the Dudenverlag. New entries reflect scientific and technological innovations, particularly in the field of information technology, as well as changes in politics, culture, and society.’’
Also of equal importance, is the fact that the German language has continued to evolve and (from a spelling perspective) fluctuate! This is and was especially pertinent, following the unification of East and West Germany in 1990. As such, the influence of Germany’s unification upon its own language has been helpfully noted under the heading ‘German spellings in this dictionary’: ‘’German spellings in this dictionary are in accordance with the reforms in force since August 1998. Most newspapers and new books use the new spelling […]. To help the user who may not yet be familiar with the reforms, the German-English section of the dictionary gives both the new spellings and the old versions which became ‘invalid’ in 2005. The old spellings are marked with an asterisk and are cross-referred where necessary to the new […]. In a number of cases, however, implementing the new spellings rules has meant that just some, but not all, uses of a word have had to be transferred from one entry to another. In these cases the headword is not marked with an asterisk, but the entry is provided with a cross-reference to where the transferred information is now to be found.’’
Along with a comprehensive list of both German and English abbreviations used throughout the dictionary (and quite often, in everyday life), there is also a really helpful section on German electronic text messaging (SMS) that again, includes a glossary of appropriate abbreviations such as: 8ung for Achtung (warning), DAD for denke an dich (thinking of you) and ILD for ich liebe dich (I love you). Similarly, there is also a list of the English equivalent, many of which, I didn’t (and still don’t) know myself: F2T for free to talk, MYOB for mind your own business and NE1 for anyone (as opposed to an area of North London).
For all students of German, or anyone who’s just generally interested in the language, this is quite possibly, the best German dictionary on the market today.