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How to say toothache in Catalan

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When i want to write a quick email or a Facebook status update in Catalan and i want to check whether the expression that i want to write is correct and i don’t find it in a dictionary – or am too lazy to look for it – i google it.

I searched for “mal de dents”, hoping that it would be “toothache”, much like “mal de cap” is “headache” and “mal de panxa” is “stomachache”. And i found that it is, indeed, toothache – but in French! Even adding “amb” to the search didn’t help. Adding “amb” is a trick that i learned from the Esperantists, who often add “kaj” to every search.

I did find it on a few Catalan sites, but still wasn’t completely sure, so i overcame the laziness and checked a dictionary. UB English-Catalan dictionary suggests “mal de queixal”. “Queixal” is “molar” and it actually makes sense: I don’t remember that i ever had any incisor or molar ache.

Written by aharoni

December 20, 2009 at 21:32

Posted in dictionaries, Internet

Review – Diccionari Barcanova de la Llengua

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  • A monolingual dictionary
  • Purchased in FNAC Barcelona
  • Rating: 8.1

I bought it, because that was the only one-volume monolingual Catalan dictionary that i found in FNAC Barcelona that had etymology. The official IEC dictionary looked more professional, but it didn’t have etymologies. The etymology in this dictionary is far from perfect—quite a lot of words mysteriously don’t have any etymology instead of saying “unknown etymology”, a huge number of words give the Classical Latin word and add “mat. sign” = “mateixa significació” = “same meaning”, which is quite a waste of paper, and what’s worse—it says “mat. sign.” even in cases where deeper explanation would be beneficial, for example at the lovely word elucubració. It also has a concise grammatical appendix which is OK for quick reference, but very far from perfect, and a few pages of history of the Catalan language, though it doesn’t have a bibliography. The verb conjugation tables in this dictionary are rather puzzling and weird, and i strongly prefer those in DIDAC. Also, its coverage of Valencian seems to be patchy—it has hui and meua (today, my f.; avui and meva in standard Catalan), but not huit (eight; vuit in standard Catalan). Of course it is possible that it’s just my impression. Despite these shortcomings its definitions and examples appear to be more serious than DIDAC’s, and it’s the one that i use most of the time.

Written by aharoni

May 8, 2008 at 19:29

Review – DIDAC

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  • A monolingual dictionary
  • Purchased in FNAC Barcelona
  • Rating: 8.7

This is a dictionary for school children. It is colorful and richly illustrated. The printing quality is excellent. The definitions are simple and not terse as in regular dictionaries for adults. Examples of usage are simple to understand, but they appear to be written especially for the dictionary and not taken from real written literature, which would be better. Unfortunately, it has no etymological data and no detailed grammar, but it has very good tables of verb conjugation, pronouns, articles and prepositions. It also appears to have pretty good coverage of Valencian and Balearic words, although only standard forms are given in tables of verbs and pronouns. Overall, this is a very good dictionary for students, but its childishness is sometimes felt.

Written by aharoni

May 8, 2008 at 19:21