Establishing a Personal Word List to Accompany the New Oxford Russian Dictionary on CD

Howard H. Keller, Indiana University

Thesis: The recent advent of an ultra-rapid, rather complete Russian dictionary on CD ROM does not obviate the need for establishing one's own Personal Word List in Russian. Rather,the ORD on CD makes maintaining such a word list an almost necessary accompaniment to the CD Dictionary.

The paper has two parts:

(1) A brief description of the new Oxford Russian Dicc on CD-ROM (ORD). This overview is a condensation of a more detailed presentation on the ORD given at the Forum for Developments in Language Teaching Technology.

(2) A brief description of a Personal Word List in Russian, and a survey of ways in which such a list could interact with the ORD.

Overview of the relationship:

A personal word list is the ideal device for finally "locking in" those words that the learner has looked up one time (or many times) in previous years.

A personal word list offers an amount of flexibility and customizing that is not available with CD dictionaries. A major aid in the process of locking in frequently-looked-up words is the ability of Personal Word Lists to add labels to a large number of the entry words in the list, so that the owner of the list can set up a great number of sub-lists, and thus review her/his lists in a variety of contexts.

Characteristics Features of a Personal Word List: (A very random set of items of additional information)

(1): Listings (labelling for) "Look-Alikes." (The handout for the paper will present an extensive listing of these "Look-Alikes.")

(2): Listings for "Near-Look-Alikes." (One example: a set of adverbs in na+pere: napereboj, napereves, naperekor, napererez, napereryv)

(Another example: a set of nouns with some reference to hand or arm: rukav; rychag; rukojat'; rukojatka.)

(3): Listings for "Semantic groups." (One example: E.g., verbs for "gleam/shine/sparkle.")

(Another example: E.g., natural noun groupings: trees; fish; birds; ...)

(4): Listings for "Borrowings from English or German or French or Dutch."

(5): Listings for "Polysemous words." (One example: E.g. polozhenie; ustrojstvo; ustanovka; mesto; ...)

Cross-referencing Personal Word Lists and CD Dictionaries has great potential. The paper will conclude with present cross-referencing capabilities, and will offer suggestions for cross-referencing capabilities in future releases (future "editions") of Russian CD Dictionaries.

Cross-referencing capabilities that are presently available:

Transfer of the ORD "History" file (record of all words chosen in a given session) to the personal word list. Transfer of entry words from one's own word list to the "Find" mode and the "Search Across Books" mode of the CD Dictionary.

Cross-referencing capabilities that will be available in the near-future:

Greatly expanded inventory of Russian idioms (CD Dictionary). Notation for source and page number of selected entry words (Personal Lexicon). A later editon of a Russian CD Dictionary that will include citations and etymological information for selected entries.

(Cross-referencing Personal Word Lists and CD Dictionaries also makes creation and maintenance of one's own word list a speedy and an enjoyable process.)

Conclusion. 1999 will see computers that will be large enough and fast enough to run a CD Russian Dictionary, a Personal Word List, and a data base of several Russian novels and short stories simultaneously. An imaginatively designed Personal Lexicon will greatly enhance the teaching effectiveness of computerized literary texts and full-corpus machine-accessible dictionaries.