In the Garden of Words, Concepts, and Usage

February 11, 2014

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For many years, I was a great collector of dictionaries. Nowadays, I’m likely to be reading a newspaper on a train and be pleased that I can look up a word on my phone, or to be reading online and stay online to go to the appropriate dictionary. I’m particularly impressed with the dictionaries for the Catalan language, including this comprehensive one, which gives excellent OED-level definitions in Catalan when you simply write the word in the box on the upper left. But my newest favorite is the Diccionari de la Llengua Catalana Multilingüe, which gives the definition in Catalan, Castilian, English, French, and German. Why learn a new word in just one language when you can learn or review it in several? You can also enter a word in any of those languages and get full information concerning the use of its Catalan equivalent. (After you type in the word, you click the name of the language that the original word is in.)

Of course, a large selection of such dictionaries, as well as allied encyclopedias, can also be bought in big, sturdy hard copy. And if you go to this main page and enter a word in the search field, it will yield up references in various dictionaries and encyclopedias. (And, English speakers, keep in mind that, when it tells you that there are 1.978 entries for your word, the period in that number is equivalent to the comma in English-language usage, not a decimal point.)

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