• The average number of meanings per word in German (and maybe English too) - 27 August

    Based on a study of the evolving number of words in the successive editions of our German-English Literary Dictionary, we can safely venture to say that: for GERMAN
    there are about 2 meanings per word on average for the 10,000 or so most commonly-used words (such as those listed in the initial version of our dictionary);
    there are 1.6 meanings per word when the word-population is expanded to 30,000 or so widely-used words, such as those in the latest version of the dictionary;
    there (...)

  • Why we think that German has a bigger vocabulary than English (or any other Indo-European language) - November 2016

    Aug. 21, 2017 – updated with new data from the latest edition of a German-English literary Ædictionary.
    While it is generally considered that the almost-universal language of Shakespeare and Bob Dylan has the largest number of words of any Indo-European language (languages of agglutinative language-families, such as Japanese, Turkish and Hungarian, by construction attach many words to a root word as the meaning of a phrase evolves, and cannot thereby be compared to Indo-European languages (...)

  • "The Awful German Language", by Mark Twain - May 2016

    Mark Twain concluded this very entertaining overview of the German language with the statement: « . . . a gifted person ought to learn English (barring spelling and pronouncing) in thirty hours, French in thirty days, and German in thirty years. .(!!)
    His reflections on the particularities of the language of Goethe, and his suggestions for reform - a most topical subject - make very good reading indeed.
    Recommended for germanophiles and germanophobes alike!
    A (...)

  • A German-English literary dictionary (with German-language definitions) - April 2015

    Aug. 20, 2017 – new edition (v32) containing 32,000 entry-words, with 8,000 new words, all taken from the definitions and examples of the previous edition (v24).
    The core of this bilingual literary dictionary consists of all of the words looked up in various dictionaries while working through some 60-odd German-language novels and short-story anthologies (the titles flagged with an asterisk in the article German Literature - a personal survey).
    For each separate meaning of an entry-word – (...)

  • German Literature - a personal survey - March 2014

    Being able to read texts in the language of Goethe and Schiller has certainly been an advantage in my long-standing quest to better appreciate the literature of that mysterious land on the other side of the Rhine, as many works that are well-known or even famous in the German-speaking world are out of print or particularly hard to find elsewhere in translation, or have never even been translated.
    Mostly this is due, I would think, to the enduring popularity of the short-story format among (...)