The Comprehensive English-Georgian Dictionary as a Basis for Bilingual European-Georgian Dictionaries

The purpose of the present article is to highlight the prospects for the creation of European-Georgian bilingual dictionaries, using the Comprehensive English-Georgian Online Dictionary [Comprehensive English-Georgian... 2012] as a basis.

At present, the Comprehensive English-Georgian Online Dictionary comprising 110 000 word-entries with Georgian equivalents of hundreds of thousands of English meanings, constitutes a kind of bilingual corpus which can serve as a basis for other lexicographic projects.

This fact was also noticed by Georgian and foreign scientists: a British scholar Donald Rayfield was the first to use the Comprehensive English-Georgian Dictionary (CEGD) as an electronic corpus. While working on his important project - the Comprehensive Georgian-English Dictionary [Rayfield, 2006], Mr. Rayfield, together with other sources, used the electronic version of 12 printed fascicles of CEGD. As for Georgian scholars, Avtandil Arabuli, the Editor-in-Chief of a new version of the Explanatory Dictionary of Georgian Language, a corresponding member of the Georgian Academy of Sciences, was the first to refer to CEGD as a bilingual corpus.

The analysis of the Comprehensive English-Georgian Dictionary, as well as that of foreign-language explanatory and bilingual dictionaries has revealed real and promising prospects for the use of our Dictionary in projects to create European-Georgian, as well as Georgian-European bilingual dictionaries. This may be easily achieved taking into account fairly high degree of convergency between and among English and other European languages (similar linguistic mentality, mutual influence of European languages, linguistic and phraseological clichés, calques, etc), which, given some creative approach, could really produce very good results.

With respect to the creation of bilingual dictionaries based on CEGD, Romance languages are particularly interesting. As we know, after the Norman conquest of England (1066), French became the State language in the country almost for three centuries. This historic event entailed profound influence of the French language upon English, which fact found its expression also in the English vocabulary abounding in numerous French borrowings. In many cases, French borrowings were words of Latin descent, since French, as well as Italian, Spanish and other Romance languages, has developed from the Vulgar Latin and the great part of the lexical stock of Romance languages, so-called Romance vocabulary, is made up of the words of Latin origin. Consequently, there are many words of Latin origin in English, as well as in modern Romance languages. Our idea, that the Comprehensive English-Georgian Dictionary could be successfully used for the creation of bilingual Romance-Georgian dictionaries, was based upon this very circumstance. We developed the methodology for the work on such bilingual dictionaries and compiled word-entries for Italian-Georgian and French-Georgian dictionaries using the said methodology. As has been shown by the exploration conducted, the use of the Comprehensive English-Georgian Dictionary considerably facilitates the work on dictionaries of Romance-Georgian type.

In order to illustrate the aforesaid, we would like to present the stages and techniques of our work on the Italian verb abdicare. While working on Italian-Georgian dictionary entries, we used three Italian-English dictionaries, one explanatory dictionary of the Italian language, and one Italian-Russian dictionary [Collins C, 2010], [Dizionario... 2012], [Ragazzini... 2008],  [Zingarelli... 2011], [ABBYY... 2006].

This is how the word abdicare  is explained in one of the Italian-English dictionaries [Collins C, 2010]:

abdicare vi

(al trono) abdicare (a) to abdicate (from), (rinunciare) abdicare a to renounce, give up

abdicare a una carica to give up a position

(venir meno a, responsabilità, dovere) to abdicate

We see similar picture in another Italian-English dictionary [Dizionario... 2012]:


v.intr. (àbdico, àbdichi; aus. avere)

1 to abdicate: il re abdicò in favore del figlio the king abdicated in favour of his son; abdicare al trono to abdicate the throne.

2 (estens) (rinunciare) to give up (a qcs. sth.), to renounce (a qcs. sth.).

Two principle meanings of the word abdicare  can be singled out in the above cited English-Italian dictionaries: (1) to step down from the throne, to formally give up one's office, to resign; (2) to renounce one's right, etc.

The information derived from Italian-English dictionaries is further checked and verified by means of the Italian explanatory dictionary.

In the abovementioned explanatory dictionary of the Italian language which we used while preparing the present material [Zingarelli... 2011], the definition of the word abdicare  looks as follows:


A v. intr. (io àbdico, tu àbdichi; aus. avere)

1 Rinunciare all'autorità sovrana o ad altro potere legittimo (+ a): il re fu costretto ad abdicare; abdicare al trono in favore di qlcu.

2 (est.) Rinunciare (+ a): abdicare a un'eredità, a una carica, ai propri diritti | Sottrarsi a una responsabilità, a un dovere.

B v. tr.

1 (raro, lett.) Rifiutare: abdicare una professione.

2 †Ripudiare.

At the next stage, we identify English equivalents of both principle meanings of this word relying upon Italian-English dictionaries. These equivalents are ‘to abdicate' and ‘to renounce'. The verbs are then looked up in the Comprehensive English-Georgian Dictionary [Comprehensive English-Georgian... 2010]:

abdicate (v)

1. 1) გადადგომა (გადადგება) ტახტიდან, თანამდებობიდან; უფლებამოსილებათა მოხსნა;

2) უარის თქმა (უარს ამბობს) უფლებაზე, მოსაზრებაზე და სხვ.; he abdicated his opinion თავის მოსაზრებაზე უარი თქვა;

2. იურ. შვილზე უარის თქმა (უარს ამბობს); შვილის მემკვიდრეობის გარეშე დატოვება.

renounce (v)

1. წიგნ.იტულზე, საკუთრებაზე და ა.შ. ოფიციალურად უარის თქმა (უარს იტყვის); to renounce a title [a privilege, a right] ტიტულზე / წოდებაზე [პრივილეგიაზე, უფლებაზე] ოფიციალურად უარის თქმა; 2. რწმენის, პრინციპების და ა.შ. საჯაროდ უარყოფა (უარყოფს); he renounced his religion and became Muslim მან თავისი რელიგია უარყო და მუსლიმანი გახდა.

From the word-entries of CEGD quoted above, we select those Georgian equivalents, which most fully and precisely reflect the meaning of the Italian word according to both bilingual and explanatory Italian dictionaries.

This procedure results in the dictionary entry in which the principle meanings of the Italian verb are explained in the following way:

abdicare v. intr.

1. გადადგომა (გადადგება) ტახტიდან, თანამდებობიდან; უფლებამოსილებათა მოხსნა; abdicare al trono ტახტიდან გადადგომა;

2. უარის თქმა (უარს ამბობს) უფლებაზე, ვალდებულებაზე, მემკვიდრეობაზე და სხვ.

Using the same method, we have compiled dozens of word-entries for the projected Italian-Georgian dictionary.

Here we would like to present another entry, this time a noun, namely abisso - ‘abyss' (the following entries from CEGD have been used while working on this entry: ‘abyss', ‘gulf', and ‘bowel'):

abisso m.

1. უფსკრული (აგრ. გადატ.); precipitarono in un abisso ისინი  უფსკრულში ჩავარდნენ; sotto di noi si spalancava un abisso ჩვენს ფეხქვეშ უფსკრულს დაეღო პირი; tra me e lui c'è un abisso გადატ. ჩემ და მას შორის / ჩვენ შორის დიდი უფსკრულია / სრული უთანხმოებაა;

2. დიდი განსხვავება / სხვაობა; tra lui e suo fratello c'è un abisso მასსა და მის ძმას შორის ძალზე დიდი განსხვავებააა;

3. pl  რისამე  ღრმა / შორეული ადგილები; სიღრმეები; gli abissi del mare ზღვის სიღრმეები; gli abissi della terra დედამიწის სიღრმეები;

4. წიგნ. ჯოჯოხეთი, ქვესკნელი; le potenze dell'abisso ჯოჯოხეთის / ქვესკნელის ძალები;

◊ un abisso di ignoranza სრული უმეცრება; essere sull'orlo dell'abisso უფსკრულის / კატასტროფის პირას ყოფნა.

To sum up, our method consists of the following steps: by means of Italian-English dictionaries we first identify English equivalents of Italian words. More information about the exact meaning or meanings (in case of polysemy) of the Italian word is derived from explanatory dictionaries of the Italian language, as well as from Italian-Russian dictionaries. Then the English equivalent of the Italian word is found in the Comprehensive English-Georgian Dictionary, which helps us determine the most adequate Georgian match for the Italian word.

It must be stressed at the same time that there is a considerable degree of semantic asymmetry between Italian and Georgian (as well as between English and Georgian) languages, as being genetically unrelated and systemically totally different languages, which circumstance gives rise to the problem of linguistic equivalence in dictionaries of European-Georgian type. It should be also noted that the problem of linguistic equivalence is not urgent for Georgian bilingual lexicography only. The Dictionary of Lexicography by Hartmann and James gives the following interpretation of ‘equivalence' and ‘equivalent': ‘Because of linguistic and cultural anisomorphism, translation equivalents are typically partial, approximative, non-literal and asymmetrical (rather than full, direct, word-for-word and bidirectional). Their specification in the bilingual dictionary is therefore fraught with difficulties, and recourse must be made to surrogate explanatory equivalents' [Hartmann..., 1998:51].

The problem of semantic asymmetry and equivalence has been pointed out by many prominent theoreticians in the field of lexicography [Zgusta, 2006]; [Hartmann, 2007]; [Adamska-Salaciak, 2010].

In order to address the issue, in CEGD we distinguish between equivalents of meaning and translational / contextual equivalents [T. Margalitadze, 2012]. Equivalent of meaning describes the equivalence between the English and Georgian languages on a more general, systemic level of the two languages, while translational equivalents are attested in specific, particular contexts enabling an adequate literary translation. The editors of the Comprehensive English-Georgian Dictionary have developed the technique of combining equivalents of meaning (informatively more valuable or explanatory equivalents of lexical units) with translational equivalents represented in numerous illustrative phrases and sentences [T. Margalitadze, 2012].

For decades, the editorial team of the Comprehensive English-Georgian Dictionary has been creating Georgian equivalents of the meanings of English words. High degree of convergency of English and Romance languages, especially in the words with Latin roots, enables us to use these very equivalents of meaning in Romance-Georgian dictionaries. This can not only facilitate, but also accelerate the pace of the work on bilingual dictionaries of the Georgian language with respect to Romance languages.

Exactly the same lexicographic principles and methods were used with respect to another Romance language, namely French.

For illustration purposes, we present the dictionary entry defining the French verb retirer  from the planned French-Georgian Dictionary.

The verb retirer  from a French-English dictionary [Collins A, 2010]:

retirer vt [+projet, candidature] to withdraw

[+troupes] to withdraw

[+soutien] to withdraw

Le premier ministre lui a retiré son soutien au moment critique. The prime minister withdrew his support at a critical moment.

retirer qch à qn [+autorisation, passeport, permis] to take sth away from sb

On lui a retiré son permis. He's had his licence taken away from him.

[+garde] to take sth away from sb

 [+vêtement, lunettes] to take off, to remove

Il a retiré son pull. He took off his sweater.


[+bagages, billets] to collect, to pick up

[+argent] to withdraw

Elle a retiré de l'argent. She withdrew some money

As we can see, the entry above features various meanings of the English verb ‘to withdraw'. So, in order to compose the French-Georgian entry, we relied upon the word-entry ‘to withdraw' from CEGD, especially upon the meanings relevant to this particular case. Precise information about the shades of the meaning of the French verb was derived from a French explanatory dictionary [Robert... 1981].

In addition, we used the definition of the verb ‘to remove' from CEGD, which is synonymous to the meaning of the verb ‘to withdraw'. In this connection, we would like to mention that the identification of various synonyms for necessary lexical units by means of both printed and electronic thesauri in order to find additional Georgian correspondences in CEGD is an important component of our lexicographic method.

By applying creative approach to the relevant word-entry from the French-English dictionary and by substituting English definitions for relevant lexical units taken from the Comprehensive English-Georgian Dictionary, we composed the following word-entry:


1. საიდანმე  გამოსვლა (გამოვა); რაიმეში  მონაწილეობის შეწყვეტა; კანდიდატურის მოხსნა; 2. 1) უკანვე წაღება (წაიღებს), დარღვევა (მიცემული სიტყვისა, დაპირებისა და ა.შ.); le premier ministre lui a retiré son soutien au moment critique პრემიერ-მინისტრმა კრიტიკულ მომენტში უარი უთხრა მხარდაჭერაზე; 2) უკანვე გაწევა (გასწევს), წაღება (ხელისა და ა.შ.); 3. უფლებამოსილების, ნებართვის და მისთ. ჩამორთმევა (ჩამოართმევს); retirer qch a qn ვინმესთვის რისამე ჩამორთმევა; on lui a retiré son permis de conduire მას მართვის მოწმობა ჩამოართვეს; 4. რისამე  გახდა (გაიხდის); მოხსნა; Il a retiré son pull მან სვიტრი გაიხადა;5. ფულის, თანხის  აღება (აიღებს), გამოტანა, მოხსნა (საბანკო ანგარიშიდან, ბანკომატიდან  და მისთ.); 6. სამხ. ჯარების  გაყვანა (გაიყვანს).

The method described above works well also with respect to Germanic languages. As we know, English belongs to the Germanic group of languages and is closely related to languages such as German, Dutch, Frisian, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, and others. In addition to the circumstances mentioned in the beginning of the present article (considerable degree of convergency between and among English and other European languages on lexical and phraseological levels, similar linguistic mentality, mutual linguistic influence, and so on) other factors come to the foreground in case of closely related languages, namely, vocabulary shared by Germanic languages, so-called common-Germanic vocabulary. The degree of the convergency referred to above is considerably higher in case of the common-Germanic vocabulary, as compared with other strata of lexis.

For the sake of brevity, below we shall simply demonstrate some word-entries from a German-English dictionary [Collins B, 2010], and then - the German-Georgian word-entry compiled by ourselves basing thereupon.


1. vt  to pull or draw back

[Hand, Fuß] to pull or draw away or back

[Truppen] to pull back

(=rückgängig machen) [Antrag, Bemerkung, Klage etc] to withdraw

2. vr  to retire, to withdraw

(=sich zur Ruhe begeben) to retire, (Mil) to withdraw, to retreat, (vom Geschäft, von der Politik etc) to retire (von, aus from)

sich von jdm zurückziehen to withdraw from sb

sich von der Welt/in sich (Akk.) zurückziehen acc  to retire from the world/into oneself


3. vi  aux sein  to move back

[Truppen] to march back

[Vögel] to fly back

Here we again replaced English definitions with corresponding Georgian words from the Comprehensive English-Georgian Dictionary.

Working on the composition of this word-entry, we, in line with our principles, also deemed it appropriate to make the entry as informative as possible. So we provided the verb (so-called strong verb in this case) with its corresponding preterite and past participle forms. We also found it reasonable to divide entries into sections designated by Roman numerals. In these sections we show respectively transitive (section I), intransitive (section II), and reflexive (section III) meanings of the verb. Intransitive verb is supplied with letter ‘S' in brackets - (s), which means that the perfect tense forms of the corresponding verb must be formed with the auxiliary verb ‘sein'  (to be). Other useful information for those who know German is also provided. All this has resulted in the word-entry shown below:


(zog zurück; zurückgezogen)

I vt

1. უკანვე გაწევა (<გა>სწევს) / წაღება (ხელისა, ფეხისა და სხვ.); 2. გა<მო>ყვანა (გა<მო>იყვანს), უკან დაწევა (ჯარებისა, პირადი შემადგენლობისა); 3. ნათქვამზე, ადრე გაკეთებულ შეთავაზებაზე და მისთ. უარის თქმა (იტყვის), უკანვე წაღება / გაუქმება (განაცხადისა, საჩივრისა, შენიშვნისა და მისთ.);

II vi (s)

1) უკან დაწევა (<და>იწევს), უკან დახევა; 2) მარშით უკან დაბრუნება (<და>ბრუნდება) ითქმის ჯარების შესახებ; 3) ძველ საცხოვრებელ ადგილას, სამშობლოში და სხვ. დაბრუნება (<და>ბრუნდება) აგრ. ითქმის ფრინველების შესახებ;

III (sich)

1. 1) განმარტოება (განმარტოვდება), განცალკევებულ ადგილას გასვლა (დასასვენებლად და მისთ.); გაცლა, წასვლა (ხალხისგან, საზოგადოებისგან და მისთ.); sich von jdm zurückziehen ვინმეს ჩამოშორება, ვინმესთან ურთიერთობისთვის თავის არიდება; sich von der Welt zurückziehen გარესამყაროს / საზოგადოებას ჩამოშორება; sich in sich (Akk) zurückziehen საკუთარ თავში ჩაკეტვა; 2) (von, aus) სამსახურიდან / თანამდებობიდან გადადგომა (გადადგება); პოლიტიკიდან, მოღვაწეობის სფეროდან და სხვ. წასვლა; ამა თუ იმ  საქმიანობისთვის თავის დანებება; 2. უკან დახევა (<და>იხევს), უკან დაწევა; უკუქცევა (ითქმის ჯარების შესახებ).

Swedish-Georgian word-entries may be composed in a similar manner. For the sake of brevity, we deliberately chose Swedish-English articles of relatively simple composition. Shown below are some Swedish words (a few verbs and adjectives) from Swedish-English online dictionaries [Engelsk-svensk..., 2012], [Swedish-English..., 2012], [Русско-Шведский..., 2004] and then, the corresponding Swedish-Georgian entries composed by us following our principles as already described in detail above.


(a) withdraw;

(b) cancel

Corresponding Swedish-Georgian word-entry goes as follows:


v  რისამე  გაუქმება (<გა>აუქმებს), ანულირება; უკანვე წაღება (ბრალდებისა, ნათქვამისა და მისთ.); regeringen annullerade beslutet om skattehöjning მთავრობამ გააუქმა გადაწყვეტილება გადასახადის გაზრდის შესახებ; annullera projekt som inte kan kontrakteras tillräckligt snabbt იმ პროექტების გაუქმება, რომლებთან დაკავშირებითაც კონტრაქტის / ხელშეკრულების გაფორმება საკმარისად მოკლე ვადებში ვერ მოხერხდება.

The next word, verb ‘avlägsna':


remove; eliminate

Swedish-Georgian dictionary entry:


მოცილება (<მო>აცილებს), მოშორება; აღმოფხვრა, მოსპობა; vi kommer också att avlägsna andra hinder som eventuellt kan komma att uppstå ჩვენ აგრეთვე აღმოვფხვრით სხვა დაბრკოლებებსაც, რომლებიც შეიძლება წარმოიქმნას.

Adjective ‘ofärdig':


(a) crippled; disabled

(b) unfinished; not complete

Within the corresponding Swedish-Georgian word-entry, this adjective has the following appearance:


1. კოჭლი; დასახიჩრებული, დაშავებული; დაინვალიდებული, უნარშეზღუდული; hans son är tyvärr född ofärdig სამწუხაროდ, მისი ვაჟი დაბადებიდან ინვალიდია / უნარშეზღუდულია; 2. დაუსრულებელი, დაუმთავრებელი, ჯერ  მზად რომ არ არის; არასრული; boken är ännu ofärdig წიგნი ჯერ არ არის დამთავრებული.

This is our vision of the ways and means of the creation of European-Georgian bilingual dictionaries on the basis of the Comprehensive English-Georgian Dictionary. Of course, when implementing concrete projects, any foreign language-English dictionaries will be used subject to relevant agreement and cooperation with entities holding copyright on such dictionaries.


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Lexicography Then and Now. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer.
Lo Zingarelli. Le opere Zanichelli in Cd Rom
Русско-Шведский и Шведско-Русский On-line словарь