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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Dictionary definitions

At the Yokneam Forum of Technical Writers, Mark L. Levinson talks about one dictionary he would not use.

Hat Tip: Mrs. Carl in Jerusalem (I never knew she read blogs!)

One dictionary that I wouldn't buy is American Heritage. Look up Jerusalem there and you'll find it's "in the West Bank" and that "Israeli forces took control of the city in 1967," with no indication that the State of Israel had any foothold there previously. Look up "West Bank" and you'll find it was "part of Jordan after 1949," though in fact it was officially part of Jordan only in the opinion of Jordan, Pakistan, and those sore losers the British.

American Heritage points out that David Ben-Gurion was born David GrĂ¼n in Poland and Golda Meir was born Goldie Mabovitch in Russia, but it doesn't point out that Yasir Arafat was born Rahman 'Abd Arra'uf Al-Qudwah in Egypt. Under "Palestine," it writes that "In 1988 the Palestine Liberation Organization under Yasir Arafat declared its intention of forming an Arab state of Palestine, probably including the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Arab sector of Jerusalem." At least in that entry it tacitly acknowledges that there is another sector; but it implies a limit on the PLO's ambitions that the PLO itself preferred not to specify.

Our own state, according to American Heritage,"was established in 1948 following the British withdrawal from Palestine, which had been divided by recommendation of the United Nations into Jewish and Arab states." Of course the implied reality of such a division and such an Arab state is a false one, since the recommendation was violently rejected by every Arab government.


At 5:15 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Carl, try my dictionary. It's a lot better:

Israel: ...5. Country between the Mediterranean Sea & the country of Jordan: established (1948) by the UN as a Jewish state...

Jerusalem: capital of Israel (sense 5) in the [central] part: divided (1948-1967) between Israel and Jordan: ...

Palestine: 1. Region on the E coast of the Mediterranean, the country of the Jews in Biblical times 2. British mandated territory in this region, west of the Jordan River, from 1923 until the establishment of Israel in 1948 by the United Nations.

Palestinian does not appear in my dictionary. There must not be any such thing...

Webster's New World Dictionary, Second College Edition, 1984


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