| Over tea at the
Hard Rock Cafe in Ueno
Station today, a Japanese lexicographer made an interesting point to
me: Japanese-English dictionaries intended for native speakers of
Japanese should include more dialect words as headwords. His example
was the word ものもらい ("a sty(e) 《in one's eye》; a hordeolum 《pl.
-la》," according to 新和英大辞典). That's the standard Kanto word that
appears in dictionaries, but he said he's met people in Kansai who have
never heard of it and know only the Kansai equivalent, めばちこ. Those
people using a J-E dictionary would not be able to find an English
translation for it, since めばちこ doesn't appear in J-E dictionaries and
they wouldn't know to look up ものもらい.
According to 日本国語大辞典, though, there are many other dialect variants of ものもらい, raising again the always vexing issue of where one should draw the line.
(February 2, 2004)