Thursday, November 06, 2003


Last night, Evelin and I stopped by a preview of a church yard sale that one of her coworkers is working on and I got to dig through several boxes of foreign-language books. This being the D.C. area, with its large percentage of diplomats and spies (retired and active), the foreign-language section was pretty big, with a lot of Russian and East European material. There were also a few Foreign Service language-learning packs for Russian, Vietnamese, Bulgarian and a few other languages.

I skipped over a lot, but did come up with a few goodies: Byelorussian-English English-Byelorussian Dictionary by Alexander Ushkevich and Alexandra Zezulin (Hippocrene, 1992); Ukrainian-English and English-Ukrainian Dictionary by W. Niniows'kyi (Ukrainian Bookstore, 1990); Anglicko-Český Česko-Anglický Slovník by Ivanem Poldaufem (Státní Pedagogické Nakladatelství, 1971); and Cassell's Croatian Dictionary by F.A. Bogadek (Macmillan, 1985).

The coolest, however, is the Russian-English English Russian Military Dictionary 1968 published by the Joint Technical Language Service in London. It is stamped with "For Official Use Only" and "This book is the property of Her Majesty's Government and is for the use of persons in Her Majesty's Service” on the cover. I justified it by thinking it would make a great present for a Russophile friend of ours, but it may be hard to part with, even though I have no use for it. The dictionary is full of translations of military specific terms, such as (flipping through random pages) однополчанин (soldier serving in same regiment, soldier from same unit); коварный газ (insidious gas); and ровик (foxhole, weapon pit) with the sub-entry ~, противоскоростной (vehicle hindrance scarp). Actually, I had better stop looking through it, because it gets neater with each page.

The best bit? Hardbacks were only 50¢; soft covers, 25¢. So $2.00 for all five books.

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