Thursday, 12 November 2009

Recently bought

After months of getting round I finally went to the bookshop, looked out for a thick navy volume and bought it.

My wonderful copy knocked me back over 160 zlotys (after combining numerous discounts) – PWN Oxford Polish-English dictionary is indeed a bit pricey, but I consider it the best dictionary available on the market and the money spent on it as a profitable investment. Probably no other dictionary has been worked out so well, other publications don’t cover as many idioms, colloquial words and phrases. The work at least doesn’t omit the most problematic phrases (some time ago I coined a new definition of a dictionary – “a book which translates the obvious words, but somehow leaves out those very ones you don’t know”) and offers thousands of examples of usage of different words in different contexts. It’s not ideal of course – still it doesn’t offer a good translation of the word dziadostwo (much depends on how you understand the original word in Polish – what in my family is called dziadostwo doesn’t square much with the definition given by Słownik Języka Polskiego), moreover, it omits a Polish idiom przechodzić ludzkie pojęcie, what could be translated as “pass all beliefs”! As a would-be professional I wouldn’t carelessly rely on its translations of financial or economic terms.

The second item arrived today by traditional mail. I have to say I’m surprised with the quality of postal services – the book was delivered within four working days (sent by economical registered letter) and it wasn’t soaked up as many other letters had I received.

Tip of the Week by Jacek Koba is a record of the author’s advice given to his colleagues at Ernst&Young, where he used to work as a proof-reader. After having a flick through it I consider it a must for Poles who (will) often draw up writings in the corporate setting. Why is it worth buying? It lists errors often made by Polish writers, touches upon the words Poles tend to have problems with and gives advice on how to write in a plain and comprehensible English. The book is available at the auctions put up by this allegro user – a representative of Altravox publishing office. It cost me only 17,99 zł, which I find dirt cheap, not to mention delivery is free of charge. So, my dear schoolmates, log in to your allegro accounts and keep it under your desk when you’ll be pursuing your careers in consultancy firms…


Michael Dembinski said...

The PWN Oxford Wielki słownik polsko-angielski my wife bought lacks everything after page 1412. In other words everything after 'zwalisko'. All those wonderful words starting with Ż and Ź.

Jacek Koba and I are doing a January of Saturdays teaching advanced English writing. Details on the BPCC website soon. 12 hours (3hrs a week) on 9/16/23/30 Jan.

The guy's a genius - this is a rare opportunity!

Andrew Nathan said...

Jacek's weekly tips were the inspiration for my own: Feel free subscribe.

I've known Jacek for 12 years. He's always impressed me with his insights into the problems encountered by Polish users of English.

student SGH said...

Those are only fourteen pages, my page 1412 also ends with "zwalisko" - word I've never heard used in Polish. I'll try to scan them and send along to you (what may not be that easy, as book of such size is hard to put into the scanner.

January is an examination period, but if you planned the second edition in February and price was reasonable I'd go for it.

AN - thanks, I've already explored some of them, I got to your website diverted from the ad of "Improve you written English" placed on BPCC portal.

Hopefully thanks to this post more Poles will benefit from Mr Koba's expertise.