The Cutest Dictionary of All Times

If I was interested in learning the Japanese language, I could achieve that goal in a few months’ time. Not because I am so smart, but I have the most motivating material to learn the Japanese language. I am not learning Japanese, or intend to learn it in the future, but this dictionary has been one of my favorite passtime items, with its attracting design and concise structure.

As a translator, I collect dictionaries but not only for the language pairs I am working in. I buy dictionaries if they are cheap, or if they are fun, or if they are cute like this one.

“Temel Japonca-Türkçe Sözlük” is written by Oğuz Baykara, a veteran of the Japanese-Turkish linguistic studies, professor at Boğaziçi University. Its hardcover and pages with red-edges and rounded corners give it a sophomoric look.

The first and second pages include a table of hiragana and katakana and the last two pages have a map of Japan, showing cities with a population over 1 million, which is interesting as the map has data from 1983, and in 35 years nothing much changed in Japan in terms of number of cities with population over 1 million.

The dictionary has 3,000 words shown with fully-structured examples (most with at least 2) and their Romaji transliterations and Turkish translations. This is especially practical as it can provide context for learners, and allow them the chance to skip the Japanese characters and move on to transliteration for faster mastering of the spoken language.

The entries are listed in the Romaji order from A to Z, making it easier to find the desired Japanese word, and they end with the word “zutto”, supported with 6 example sentences, the last of which reads “Sunenkan, zutto kono jisho no shigotoo shite kita node, taihen tsukaremashita.” which translates “I have been working on this dictionary tirelessly for years, now I am very much tired.

The entries are followed by a 23-page summary of the Japanese grammar, which pretty much sums it up. This 949-page dictionary is quite handy with its size, easy-to-follow layout, and red string bookmark. Although I am not interested in learning Japanese, it is nice to have this work at my disposal for short breaks and get inspired by its tickling simplicity to have a go at Japanese.

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