Chinese-French dictionary

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The obligatory screenshot:

This is from an Indian publication, but relying on Chinese copy. The picture editor was incredibly lazy.

In light of the fact that China is currently doing its best to kill off Google, it's particularly ironic that they chose "googeln" as the sample entry.

Here's a similar article from a Chinese publication.

The person who wrote the title for the article in the Chinese publication, which was taken over by the Indian publication, was also being slothful.  In wanting to save one tiny word of three letters, they give the impression that this is the biggest Chinese-French dictionary in existence, but — given the reality of Le Grand Ricci — that can hardly be the case.  The first sentence of the article itself, both in the Indian and in the Chinese publication, is more truthful:  "China (today) published its largest Chinese-French dictionary…."

[Hat tip Mark Sworfford]


  1. Vicki said,

    January 1, 2015 @ 11:12 pm

    Never mind the choice of "google" as an example: why does the illustration show what appears to be an English-German dictionary?

  2. Vicki said,

    January 1, 2015 @ 11:15 pm

    Or maybe it's a German dictionary, not a translation dictionary at all. But there is a distinct lack of French and Chinese on that page?

  3. Vasha said,

    January 1, 2015 @ 11:28 pm

    Yeah that's the point, the article used a stock image labeled "dictionary" instead of a pic of the real thing.

  4. Lazar said,

    January 2, 2015 @ 4:24 am

    Yeah, it appears to be a monolingual German dictionary, with Goodwill and goodbye listed as loanwords.

  5. David Marjanović said,

    January 2, 2015 @ 5:44 am

    ^ Correct.

  6. flow said,

    January 2, 2015 @ 7:45 am

    given the paucity of information under each headword, this could *almost* be a look onto the pages of the Duden, the semi-official privately-owned brand under which _the_ reference work for current German orthography is published. it originates in turn-of-the-century publications by a certain Mr Konrad Duden who was instrumental in the conferences that brought about the first unified orthography valid across the German states, including Austria and parts of Switzerland, a hundred years ago. those books are little more than word lists and typically give also hints for inflected forms and sometimes very short hints for meaning.

    i counter-checked the above at, and indeed the picture does not show "the Duden" but some other look-alike product. incidentally, i got vindicated that the German pronunciation of 'Goodwill' shown above as [ˈɡʊt…] doesn't match mine; at, they suggest [ˈɡʊdˈwɪl] and [ˈɡʊdwɪl]. i think mine is rather [ɡʊdˈwɪl]. try to say that word with [t] for [d] these days in Germany, and everyone will know your English is lousy.

  7. MT Welles said,

    January 2, 2015 @ 8:11 am

    I know this is not about dictionaries, but it is about language or at least paying attention to language.

    Something similar happened in 2006 in Korea when Naver, a popular Korean portal website, wrote an article about Krispy Kreme and took a photo off the Internet without reading it carefully.

    Screenshot here: (NSFW: Language).

  8. Tom S. Fox said,

    January 2, 2015 @ 11:31 am

    flow, if you had bothered to pick up an actual Duden, you would have realized that this is exactly what the picture shows.

  9. Jongseong Park said,

    January 2, 2015 @ 3:28 pm

    I think they just lazily reused the picture from the time that it was reported in the news that Google was being added to the German dictionary. I can't be the only one with a recollection of this story.

  10. Ben Zimmer said,

    January 2, 2015 @ 6:07 pm

    The photo is of the 2004 edition of Duden, the first to include an entry for googeln. In 2006, under pressure from Google's trademark lawyers, the entry was revised — from im Internet, bes. in Google suchen ("search the Internet, esp. via Google") to mit Google im Internet suchen ("search the Internet using Google"). (That's still how the definition reads in the online entry.)

    I recall reading about this cowardly lexicographical move on Mr. Verb's blog, which links to this article.

  11. Chris Henrich said,

    January 2, 2015 @ 6:31 pm

    After recovering from the bewildering spectacle of a monoglot German Dictionary illustrating an article about a Chinese-French dictionary, I wonder (not for the first time) at the number of English loan words in recent German. Google is an obviously reasonable importation: a new word for a new thing, originating in the Anglosphere. But why have the German-speakers imported good-bye and good will?

  12. Jason Merchant said,

    January 2, 2015 @ 7:00 pm

    I love the Auslautverhärtung (the final devoicing) in good[t]bye and good[t]will… I will henceforth when using these loanwords in German rely on the authoritative Duden when asked why I don't pronounce these with voiced obstruents. (I wish they had given the whole pronunciation for "goodwill", too: enquiring minds want to know whether it's "gut.wil" or "gut.vil"!)

  13. Victor Mair said,

    January 2, 2015 @ 7:03 pm

    @MT Welles

    I asked two Korean speakers how this embarrassing Naver incident about Krispy Kreme could have happened. Here are their replies:

    That's just bad! Naver is a big company and "edaily", which posted this article, is also a major e-news firm, and I don't know how they could make such a mistake. Someone must have made a major mistake by not checking the image they used. This is really bad!

    I have no idea, Victor. What I suspect, though, is that some wise-assed American working for the news service did it as some kind of infantile joke. I recall there was an incident like that in Japan a number of years ago when some intern created advertising copy for a Japanese bank (whose name I can¹t recall just now). The ad read something like "Fuji Bank has a [HEART] on for you". The slogan was posted on branches throughout Japan before someone discovered the embarrassment. Needless to say, the kid was immediately fired.

  14. MT Welles said,

    January 3, 2015 @ 7:38 am

    For what it's worth, the second response makes no sense since Naver would not need an American to work as a photo editor for its Korean-language news service, but it's nice you asked some Koreans about this.

  15. MT Welles said,

    January 3, 2015 @ 7:39 am

    Sorry for diverting your thread.

  16. Milan said,

    January 4, 2015 @ 2:42 am

    @Jason Merchant: In this kind of dictionary, leaving out pronunciation guides normally means that it is to be pronounced as indicated by spelling, following the rules of German orthography. In this case, as gut.vil…

  17. Lane said,

    January 6, 2015 @ 3:30 am

    "Goodwill" refers primarily to the accounting term, since German does not have a concise term for the concept.

    (When you buy another company and pay more than the accounting value of its assets, you book the surplus on your own accounts as goodwill.)

    "Goodbye", well, Germans have already imported "tschau", so why not "goodbye"? I don't here "goodbye" here in Berlin, but "sorry" is gaining ground on "Entschuldigung" (and "pardon"), and "hi" for "Hallo" has been around a while. In some places "ade" (from "adieu") has been around for a long time.

  18. Bruce said,

    January 7, 2015 @ 9:02 pm

    @ Lane

    By the way, "sorry" is increasingly being used in China to replace duìbùqǐ, the normal Chinese way of saying "excuse me," or "sorry."

    This reminds me of the way it is used in Hong Kong, where it is often pronounced as "sorry-ah". In Hong Kong, at least, "sorry-ah" is for public consumption and, in my eyes, less "sincere." One says it in the subway, for instance, and the person who bumped into you (or whatever) often doesn't even look at you when s/he says it.

    But I've noticed this usage is creeping into Chinese, even among those who probably don't know English well. I was infuriated by a cyclist who, going in the wrong direction, almost ran me down. I caught up with her, and stopped her bike. "Sorry," she stammered.

    I insisted she say "duìbùqǐ" before I let her proceed, which took a bit of doing. No doubt she thought I was a nut, but her "sorry" just seemed like a discounted version of a real apology. . .

  19. Gerald said,

    January 8, 2015 @ 3:24 am

    Am I being too infantile? First thought upon seeing this was "Pardon my French!"

    There may be something deeper to think about here, not only laziness. Not that I wouldn't argue for laziness being the reason for this, but there are also two language-related attitudes in China (in my observation) that can't be helping:

    a) Chinese is the only language that really matters, foreign languages are a means to an end at best (as opposed to the "Wow, you're a polyglot? You must be so smart!" that is common in "the West"). This may partly explain why no one noticed.

    b) When in doubt, it seems that Chinese will more usually ask other Chinese about the proper use/translation of a term, not foreigners, Not even when native speakers.
    How else do you explain the lasting translation of 民族 as "nationalities" when it is clearly, by English standards, something like "ethnicity"?

  20. Old Gobbo said,

    January 10, 2015 @ 4:37 pm

    @Lane I think you are probably right about the accounting use being primary, though Geschäftswert for instance already exists. But to say "ade" has been around for a long time understates the case: my little knowledge of German can trace it back (I think!) to Rellstab's "Abschied", so before 1828 and Schubert's swansong. German is, in my limited experience, fairly open to loan words.

  21. Old Gobbo said,

    January 10, 2015 @ 4:59 pm

    Sorry: I forgot to add that "hi" is described in the OED under "hey" as ME. hei: cf. Du. and Ger, hei, Se. hej, in sense 1 (call to attract attention… sometimes as an interrogative (=eh?)) and the American Heritage Dictionary (on-line) supports this Middle English origin but only traces it to the "mid 1800's". I wonder about this, having long suspected that the use as a greeting in American principally stems from Danish and Swedish immigrant use of "hej" (hī) as an everyday greeting: Is the modern German use an import or merely a revival of its older usage ?

  22. Old Gobbo said,

    January 11, 2015 @ 3:31 am

    Sorry again: Danish, Swedish – and Norwegian

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