Arabic-English Dictionary: The Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic
What is there left to say about this excellent dictionary? It’s probably all been said, but here some of its characteristics. 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 […]
probably all been said, but here some of its characteristics.
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.