- Paperback: 1301 pages
- Publisher: Spoken Language Services; 4th edition (May 1, 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0879500034
- ISBN-13: 978-0879500030
- Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.2 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (200 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,929 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Arabic-English Dictionary: The Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic 4th Edition
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The reliability and completeness of the work deserve every praise, as does the practical arrangement of the entries. -- Bibliotheca Orientalis
There can be no doubt that...it is a basic tool for study of modern Arabic. -- Middle East Journal
From the Inside Flap
This edition of the Dictionary, published eighteen years after its first appearance is an enlarged and improved version of it original corpus. During the past two decades, the Dictionary has achieved widespread acceptance and use. In the interim, modern written Arabic has continued to exhibit vigorous lexical growth. Therefore, feeling the need to fill in many gaps and update the corpus, the author again undertook systematic collection of material. In addition to many neologisms of recent origin, the author has incorporated much older material attested in present-day contexts, which had not yet appeared in the Dictionary, as well as numerous improvements and corrections. The result is this revised 4th edition has nearly 200 new pages.
All new entries have been derived from primary sources, i.e. from running contexts. The source texts, predominately from the last ten years, cover a broad spectrum of content, style and origin, thereby providing a representative cross section of modern usage encountered in various fields such as technology, economics, sports, medicine, the oil industry and the natural sciences, as well as creative literature. Particular use was made of texts from Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia which were drawn from newspapers, periodicals, textbooks, official and private documents and belles-lettres; some use was also made of the press of the northwest African countries. The number of new entries, including lemmata as well as compounds, idiomatic phrases and new definitions of head words, runs to approximately 13,000. Moreover, in about 3,000 instances, smaller additions (new transcriptions, plural forms, prepositional government of verbs, cross-references, etc.) have been inserted, errors corrected, obsolete entries eliminated. Some lemmata have been completely reworked.
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Top Customer Reviews
* It's missing a lot of new words and meanings, and is chock-full of ridiculous archaic ones. (Like the word that supposedly means "a camel-borne sedan and the virgin riding it into battle" which probably hasn't been used since the time of Mutanebbi, if it ever used at all.)
* It only has Arabic-English, with no English-Arabic.
* It doesn't tell you what part of speech each word is.
* The font and layout are difficult to read.
* It doesn't separate out the senses or give illustrative examples, just gives you a long list of translations and you have to figure out which one is the one you need.
* The ordering of the translations are historical (translations from the first edition listed first with later editions tacked on the end), so the translation you see first is likely to be dated and not the one you need.
And yet, when I was learning Arabic it was the best available. Now that Oxford has come out with a proper, modern dictionary (http://www.amazon.com/Oxford-Arabic-Dictionary-Dictionaries/dp/0199580332), there's no reason to buy this one.... except portability -- OAD is big and heavy. (Although you can subscribe to the online OAD and bypass that problem as well.) Whenever Oxford releases a paperback, dear Hans will hopefully become the historical dictionary that it in fact is.
1. I learned Arabic in the military at DLI in Monterey. All of our professors were native speakers, some from universities in Cairo, Baghdad, etc., and this is the dictionary they prefer.
2. This is truly a dictionary, not just a lexicon. Written Arabic can be ambiguous without the diacritical markings, which are not written in this text, either, but the transliteration of the word is given and easily put to use. E.g. "صبع - ṣaba'a a (ṣab') ... to insert one's finger (ها into the hen, so as to ascertain whether she is going to lay an egg)" You finally know how to say that.
3. Once more, there are no diacritical markings in this text. I think this is preferable simply because the markings would add a lot of clutter. Keep in mind this version is the size of a handbook, so the font is necessarily small.
4. The book is easily portable, being precisely 5.14" x 8.46" x 1.38" (w x l x h). You like or no like, I don't know. I could go for a hardback or even a leather binding. There's certainly no way you would cut this and have it rebound.
5. I've used al-Mawrid, also, which is great for quick look-ups since words are ordered by their spelling, making irregular verbs easy to find, sometimes, and you can get it with the English-Arabic part. Hans Wehr, on the other hand, orders everything according to the root verb, real or implied. Sticking with the root system ensures all related words to a given root appear together. I think this makes Hans Wehr better for _studying_ Arabic, not just getting through a BBC article.
6. Hans Wehr reinforces your understanding of the measures. It does so because it usually doesn't write them out, forcing you to memorize them.
This is the standard. I had to have it again after losing my first one in a move.
Surely for any one seriously concerned with Arabic an alphabetically ordered dictionary such as Al Mawrid (if you know a better one please let me know) is inevitable. As for a root based one as Hans-Weher, I would rather recommend to those who know French, Larousse's bilingual dictionary, at least as a supplement.