admin's picture

Dictionary the work of Hawaii Linquist Byron Bender

By Aenet Rowa MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Yokwe Online, Dec. 23, 2009) – One of the co-authors of the Marshallese-English Dictionary, produced in the 1970's, announced last week the creation of an electronic version, the Marshallese-English Online Dictionary (MOD).

"We’re on line. Please feel free to spread the word," said Byron W. Bender, Professor Emeritus of Linguistics, University of Hawaii, in an email to the UH-Manoa Hamilton Library's Hawaiian & Pacific Collections website.

The new website is a revised and expanded electronic edition of the Marshallese-English Dictionary (MED), an unofficial, non-public version, developed in 2009.

Dr. Bender is credited with a modern linguistic system used for the language of the Marshall Islands. Previous orthographic relied on practices developed by missionaries to the Marshall Islands in the late 1800's and their translation of the Bible.

With Marshallese translators Takaji Abo, Alfred Capelle, and Tony DeBrum, he wrote the 1976 Marshallese–English dictionary, part of the University of Hawaii's PALI Language Texts: Micronesia.

The new online dictionary, besides being a version maintaining the original alphabetization of MED, has a new unified alphabetization, in which all forms of a letter are alphabetized as if they were the base letter, facilitating look-up.

According to the MOD website, updates include the following:

Grammatical explanations have been simplified and expanded, making them easier to read

Clicking on English definition words links to the finderlist. Finder-list references link back to the main list, as an "English-Marshallese Glossary".

Over 10,000 example sentences are included in MOD (appx. 4,000 more than MED).

All the words in the example sentences are links to main entries.

The Place Names section of MED has been included, reordered into the unified alphabetization, along with a new section with the names organized by Location.

A Concordance of all words listed in the example sentences has been added, as well as a Reverse Concordance, indexing all those words by their endings.

"The MOD is intended to be a 'living' dictionary, which will be modified and expanded to include new entries, definitions and examples. To this end, users are encouraged to submit suggestions and comments," the website states.

Steve Trussel is the technical developer and host of the website. "His programming skills, experience, and creativity, and his knowledge of linguistics and of Asian and Pacific Island languages and cultures have made the entire operation a piece of cake, and all in less than six months," said Bender.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment