Adam Rice

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New Green Goddess coming

Kenkyusha is readying a new version (link in Japanese) of its New Japanese-English Dictionary. Despite its many faults, it is considered the standard J-E dictionary, and is referred to by Japanese translators as the Green Goddess, or GG for short. It is interesting that the product announcement explicitly refers to this. On the Honyaku mailing list, Tom Gally writes:

The chief in-house editor of the dictionary
at Kenkyusha first learned that the dictionary has this nickname from
Mayumi Nishioka, a long-time Honyaku contributor, when she contacted
him in 1995 about a term that had been discussed on Honyaku.

Purchasers of this dictionary may note other connections between
Honyaku and the new GG, including terms and translations that have
been discussed on this list in the past and several familiar names
among the contributors.

It is a minor sport among J-E translators to point out bizarre entries in this dictionary, many of which seem preserved from the first edition in 1918–it still contains entries like 鉄道馬車 tetsudo basha or horse-drawn railway car. The fourth edition was released in 1974, and one gets the impression that new glosses were tacked on to the end of existing ones, so one often must skip to the end of the entry to get the most helpful definition. The example sentences also have an antique quality, like “give a wrench at the doorknob.” Anyhow, it’ll be interesting to see how new the fifth edition is.

1 Comment

  1. Even after I purchase the new edition, I can never give up my old version, packed as it is with howlers like “The Finny Tribe” as one definition for GYOURUI.

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