The process of lemmatization in translation (English-Russian, Russian-English) dictionaries

English lexicography is probably the richest in the world with respect to variety and scope of the published dictionaries. The demand for dictionaries is very great all over the world. Nowadays it is impossible to imagine our life without dictionaries. In one of the latest dispatches of our president in 2007, N. Nazarbaev calls the young generation of our country to be competitive and leads the policy of three languages. It means, that in the future every educated citizen of our Republic must know the state language, Russian as an official language and also to have a good common of English language. While to own at least three languages, except your native, is the demand of the present time. We guess a dictionary is one of the available and comfortable mean to reach this purpose. With the help of the dictionaries the learner not only enriches his vocabulary, he studies together with it the culture, traditions and mentality of the country.

This article describes the need of translation dictionaries in English learning today. There are given the examples of lemmatization of three the most used translation English-Russian and Russian-English dictionaries. As choosing the correct and usefully compiled dictionary for English learner is the main thing, we tried to describe them and to show the most suitable one.

A dictionary is the most widely used reference book in our houses and business offices. Correct pronunciation and correct spelling are of great social importance, because they are necessary for efficient communication. A bilingual dictionary is useful to several kinds of people: to those who study foreign languages, to specialists reading foreign literature, to translators, to travelers, and to linguists. It may have two principal purposes: reference for translation and guidance for expression. It must provide an adequate translation in the target language of every word and expression in the source language. It is also supposed to contain all the inflectional, derivational, semantic and syntactic information that its reader might ever need, and also information on spelling and pronunciation. Data on the levels of usage are also considered necessary, including special warnings about the word being rare or poetical or slangy and unfit to be used in the presence of “one’s betters”.

The number of special bilingual dictionaries for various branches of knowledge and engineering is ever increasing. A completely new type is the machine translation dictionaries which present their own specific problems, naturally differing from those presented by bilingual dictionaries for human translation. It is highly probable, however, that their development will eventually lead to improving dictionaries for general use.

Bilingual dictionaries explain words by giving their equivalents in another language. Using bilingual dictionaries it is really important what you are seek for and what aim to. In order to find out the answers to these questions and offer the best translation dictionaries we devoted this article to the analysis of lemmatization and comparison in some translation English-Russian and Russian-English Dictionaries and to pick up more suitable, universal word-books. So a lemma (from the Greek noun lẽmma ‘topic, headword’) – is a dictionary entry. Lemmatization – part of the dictionary entry, which provides information on the lemma [1]. To reach this aim we decided to analyze the process of lemmatization of the three English-Russian Russian – English translation dictionaries. They are: the Oxford Russian Dictionary edited by Marcus Wheeler and Boris Unbegaun 2000, V.K.Muller’s “Большой англорусский словарь” 2006, and Сambridge Learner’s Dictionary English-Russian.

The main purpose of choosing these dictionaries is that, that they are the latest modern revised editions of English-Russian and Russian-English languages, which based on the text of the earlier editions, also contain the full needed information for the English native speaker as well as for the Russian native speaker.

Every dictionary, it doesn’t matter what they are monolingual or bilingual dictionaries, all of them consist of a lemma and a dictionary entry. Well then, there are given the head word with its interpretation, or saying with other words, there are given lemma with its process of lemmatization.

Lemmatization is a commentary of a head word or the presentation of a lemma in a dictionary entry. So let us demonstrate and compare the lemmatization processes from the given dictionaries. We counted it enough to analyze one dictionary entry from each. That is why we choose the lemma “сommand”.

Here are given the examples of the same word ‘command’ from the different dictionaries of V.K.Muller’s English-Russian Dictionary, Oxford Russian dictionary and Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary English-Russian. The whole content of three dictionaries is overlapped. Headwords are printed in bold roman type; for the convenience of users whose native language is not English, the lemmas are transcribed into the International Phonetic Alphabet in the same way in these dictionaries; within the headword entry each grammatical function has its own paragraph, introduced by a part-of-speech indicator (n., v.t.); given cardinal numbers denoting inflection, are to be read in the nominative form. The headwords are replaced by the swung dash and finally there are translation of the single word, also are given the interpretation of the lemma with word combinations as well as the whole sentence with participation of the given word. But not everything in these dictionaries is completely agreed. There are given some differences as well as similarities of the dictionary entry are. For instance, in Muller’s dictio-nary there are no indicators, which show the way of usage of the given lemma, as in Oxford Dictionary here we can find the field of using of the word ‘command’ by the indicator words preceded in brackets.

In this way, while learning the language it is very convenient rely on such guide indicator in every dictionary. It may help you to use this word in right form and way.

Comparing with Muller’s Dictionary the Oxford Dictionary supply the users with the notion in detailed examples of head word in word combinations and whole sentences. It also should be mentioned, that for the convenience of the users in Oxford Dictionary these examples are printed in bold, while in Muller’s dictionary word combinations are given in simple print, that is to say, they are not allotted.

As for the last Cambridge Learner’s dictionary English-Russian, dictionary, so this one is also one of the most convenient one to use. Comparing with two above, in this dictionary there are given more additional materials like indicating grammatical notes which show in what construction the word should used ( [I,T, U etc.]). The Russian translation variant of the word is given in colored red print. The main advantage of the “Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary English-Russian” is that, it contains definitions of each word in English, which promote fast language learning.

So, it was general examples to compare these three dictionaries. Further we are going to analyze the similarities and differences of Muller’s, Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries in the order of part of speech. That is, we would like to compare lemmatization process of the most used part of speech as prepositions, nouns, verbs and adjectives in these dictionaries with each other. Also dwell on the problem how the words are lemmatized in each dictionary, have they similarities or differences, what dictionary is most convenient in language learning etc. Finding out answers to these questions, we are going to define more comfortable one in language learning.

We would like to add that this is only examples of showing lemmatization process in translation dictionaries. But in the future we are going to continue study lemmatization processes in various English (monolingual, dictionaries of phraseological units etc. dictionaries while we consider, that in order to define the most suitable dictionaries for English learning this is not enough. We should admit that we are in for of laborious work.



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  2. Marcus Wheeler and Boris Unbegaun. Oxford Russian Dictionary Oxford University Press. − New York, 2000.  P. 2894.
  3. Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary English-Russian. − Cambridge University Press, 2011.  P. 1251.
  4. Muller V.К. Bolshoi anglo-russkii slovar. – Ekaterenburg: U – Faktoria, 2006 – S. 1536.
  5. Аrnold I.V. Lexicologia sovremennogo angliiskogo yazyka. – M.: Vysh.s hkola, 1986. – 295 s.
  6. Bo Svensen / A handbook of Lexicography: the theory and practice of dictionary-making. USA by Cambridge University Press.  New York, 2009.  P. 719.
Magazine: KazNU BULLETIN
Year: 2014
City: Almaty
Category: Philology