Surely There Must Exist a Polish Equivalent: On the Inadequacy of Dictionary Explications

Elżbieta Tabakowska

Abstract

The paper is a contribution to the ongoing discussion on the requirements that dictionaries should meet in order to satisfy the needs of language learners and translators. The shortcomings of some standard dictionaries are discussed in reference to one particular item: the modal qualifier surely and its Polish equivalents. The latter were compared with actual choices made by a group of advanced Polish learners of English, asked to translate five explanatory sentences taken from English—English dictionaries. Discrepancies between dictionary equivalents and translation replacements clearly suggest that apart from "prototypical" examples of usage, dictionary entries should also contain potential discourse functions of sample sentences.

Table of contents

The present paper is a contribution towards an ongoing discussion concerning requirements that bilingual dictionaries should meet in order to satisfy [ p. 200 ]the needs of translators or language learners.

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