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January 08, 2007



I have the same dictionary and would pretty much agree with everything you said. There's a few of them about - the one at work is about 600 pages and very dated, and they all have English AND Japanese but it always seems to be more for the convenience of both English speakers and Japanese speakers rather than as a foreign language aid.


Looks good, although that first comment on Amazon gives one pause (the picture shows an elephant's trunk with the word "trunk" in English and "胴体" in Japanese - which means "main part of the body" instead of "鼻" meaning "nose". Still, errors like that are probably few and far between and easy for a native English speaker to catch during the learning process (assuming you're using a dictionary).

The other oversight pointed out had to do with the word "nurse", as in "nurse a baby" (赤ちゃんの世話をする). The intransitive usage, ie. "a baby nurses at its mothers breast" (授乳する) isn't mentioned, which led the reviewer to a bit of confusion. Also, "breastfeed" as the commonly accepted meaning of "nurse" is primarily American usage (in Australia, and maybe elsewhere, it just means "take care of"), so there are definitely some usage issues to be aware of.

Will Jasprizza


Well spotted! I have to confess I noticed the 胴体/trunk mistake a few months ago. Once a week I teach Japanese to a primary school girl who just moved here from China. I was using the Picture Dictionary and going through the animal names when I saw the mistake and then promptly forgot about it. Having checked out that Amazon review you mentioned I can see that there are a number of mistakes, or at least ambiguities. Most are along the lines of providing one translation when there are actually two (or more) common meanings but there are some out and out mistakes.

On page 94 illustration D shows a person bottle feeding a baby. The description is feed/授乳する. Feed can apply to both breastfeeding and bottlefeeding, so the editors really should have made the distinction clear in English. The Japanese is similarly ambiguous - 授乳 applies to both cases. (哺乳瓶で赤ちゃんに)ミルクをあげている or simply 人工栄養 should have been used.

Illustration C shows a woman with a Janet Jackson style bra breastfeeding a child (presumably her own). The English term "nurse" is offered. As an Aussie I can say that in my small nation the word "nurse" more generally carries the connotation of "hold" or "comfort". You might say "she's nursing at the moment" to describe how a mother is feeding her child but I reckon that "breastfeed" is way more common than "nurse". In any event the Japanese, which is what we are concerned with, is dodgy. The woman clearly has her breast in the child's mouth which in Japanese would be おっぱいをあげる (lit. give the boob/tit) or 母乳をやる(lit. give the mother breast)

Illustration G is also wrong. The Japanese word given for "pick up" is 迎えに行く as in "I'll pick you up from the station". The correct expression is 抱き上げる.

Looks like it might pay to go through the parts of the book I have yet to read (breast feeding not a feature of my day-to-day schedule) and do a quick quality control before firing off an email to OUP.

I mentioned in the original post that some of the errors stemmed from political correctness. I think prudishness is also to blame. A quick look at the index reveals that the words "penis", "vagina" and "pubic hair" are missing. The words "buttocks" and "breast" are included, but both are labelled on clothed figures in such a way as to be unclear if not simply confusing. If a Japanese person learning English from the Picture Dictionary has a problem with their gallbladder they can explain it to a doctor, but heaven help them if they get crabs.


Interesting. I've been using the Canadian version of this picture dictionary (without Japanese translation) for my classes for years and really find it useful. While I was aware that there is a version with Japanese translations, I'd never considered using in to study Japanese. I may have to pick up a copy (thanks for pointing out the mistakes).
PS, Where I'm from, that "Janet Jackson style bra" is called a "nursing bra".

Will Jasprizza

You mean there is a proper name for them ;-)

And in Japanese, via Eijiro:

nursing bra : 授乳用{じゅにゅう よう}のブラジャー
nursing brassiere : 授乳用{じゅにゅう よう}ブラジャー


Hi! My graduation paper based of english phraseology demanded much attention on different dictionaries. http://rapid4me.com/?q=dictionary heloed me a lot, and I didn't have to spend days and nights in the library. Hope you'll find these dictionaries useful too.

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