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ERRORS! A DICTIONARY YOU CANNOT TRUST
on February 12, 2009
I've been using this dictionary for over 3 years now. The organizers started out with a great concept, which apparently went out the window in execution. BOTTOM LINE:: IT'S FULL OF ERRORS!!! A Dictionary! And the more I use it, the more I find. The result is, I don't trust it and have to verify EVERYTHING. So I end up using it as a starting point only. MY SUGGESTION:: buy a J-E-J dictionary (with Furigana) for Japanese students (Internet sites for J-products). You may not be able to read the explanations at first, etc. but use it just as a good dictionary. (As I wrote below, the explanations, etc. in THIS dictionary have errors in them anyway.) Use your textbooks for details of grammar. If you want to know specifics of what's wrong with it, please read below.
The greatest features of this dictionary are that it frequently (appears to) provide generous usage examples and important notes. In addition, it (appears to) provide very useful appendices such as for verb and adjective conjugations, counters, etc. It's also nicely hardbound with good quality pages. That's where the pros end.
** =WAY= OUT OF DATE: Forget about blogging on Japanese language websites if you're going to rely on this dictionary. I can't remember finding even ONE modern term I needed in this dictionary while blogging in Japanese. Sad because that's a great way to learn the language. The copyright is 1999, so you'd THINK they'd have SOME of these terms. In comparison, my French dictionary not only has every such term you can think of, but it has drawings of Cell Phones w/ common contractions used by French people.
** THE ENTRIES: It's a thick dictionary, but not many entries (says 30,000, I'd guess that includes repeat words (J<->E) so more like ~15-20K . . . my pocket English dictionary for ex. has 55,000). Also, many of those are wasted. For ex. they have 3 SEPARATE entries for "meow" on the English side, all w/ same EXACT def. & part of speech (n.): ("meow", "mew", "miaow"). When I was ready to write my 1st sentences, I had to use alternate words frequently. Also, it often lists many options for the same word, BUT USUALLY fails to note the differences (when to use which) in spite of the fact that this is clearly a student dictionary. You have to guess from examples (IF the words are even used - see next).
** THE EXAMPLES: Many do not include the entries given. Sometimes NONE of the entries are used in ANY example and with NO explanation, leaving you ==VERY== uncertain about usage. In addition, MANY have ERRORS (found dozens . . . and I'm the STUDENT!!!). Also, I often find the EXACT sentence I need (yay!) . . . and have been told in no uncertain terms by Japanese that they are (I am) WRONG!
** THE CONJUGATIONS: There are ERRORS in them! And they are incomplete and not even consistent between sides (J-E). Also, some tenses are often left out of one verb type but not the others; leaving a beginner VERY confused. In 2 cases I found they incorrectly labeled one tense and left out another!
** THE IMPORTANT NOTES: I've found some to be misleading. Such as the adjective intro. It states that "Every Japanese adjective [basic form] ends in -i", with no mention of "-na" adjs at all. This is confusing to a beginning student (one sees adjs that DON'T end in -i throughout). It's not until they happen to read somewhere else that there are such things as "-na" adjectives and that they typically are not native to Japanese that they understand this statement refers to the etymology; not usage . . . which is not even relevant in the context of a usage dictionary that SHOULD address ALL adjs! The Japanese borrowed words, and they BECAME ==JAPANESE== ADJS.
** THE FURIGANA: I've found more than a few that were FLAT WRONG! For ex., I was trying to understand an ex. sentence involving the (adj) "long" & (n) "hair". They switched the furigana so when I looked up the meaning, it was the wrong word! I recognized the unbelievable error for reasons a beginner would not. (... how could the writers & editors make that kind of mistake?!!!) And I've seen other furigana with extra or wrong kana chars that makes it very hard/impossible to look up the meaning. Since I can't trust the Furigana, I HAVE to look up EVERY Kanji in a Kanji dictionary, making the Furigana USELESS (unless I don't care that it MAY be wrong). Also, they're so tiny that even with perfect close vision, it's hard to differentiate between kana modifiers (the tiny circle & dashes). You may need a magnifying glass.
** GENERAL ASSORTED ERRORS: There are COUNTLESS errors of every sort imaginable. I have a LONG list. They range from 1st letters cut off of entry words ([i]nevitable & [f]ellow), to incorrectly labeled parts of speech, to NOT noting that an Ichidan form verb conjugates like a Godan (e.g. "join"), to inconsistent use of symbols, to out-of-order entries, to ending sentences with conjunction particles, to using Kanji (or kana) for words that Japanese writers never do (my computer even knew), to poor English grammar (ALL which makes you wonder how good the translations really are).
I half-wonder if this is a big Joke (like a Japanese TV show) where the editors think it's funny to teach foreigners incorrect language. I can't imagine how anyone making a dictionary could honestly make these types and number of mistakes.