Reviews - What do customers think about A Compendious Syriac Dictionary (Ancient Language Resources)?
The must-have dictionary for students of Syriac Jan 10, 2008
This dictionary is an absolutely indispensable reference for students of Syriac. I am currently studying for my Ph.D. in this language, and this is the dictionary everyone, including the professor, always has in class. There are other Syriac dictionaries, and they should be consulted, but this is the standard.
There are occasional gaps in the dictionary, and a few words are oddly placed. For example, the common words _simthaa_ 'treasure' and _raahhmaa_ 'friend' are completely missing. The noun _shraaraa_ 'truth' is given within the entry for the verb _sharr_ 'to be strong; be proved true', rather than as a separate entry. But overall, this is simply the best, most complete Syriac-English dictionary to be had at present. A number of gaps in the body of the text are filled in by the "Addenda" at the end of the dictionary. I recommend photocopying these pages, cutting apart the individual entries, and taping them onto the pages they belong on. This has proved very helpful for me. I have also made a mark at the point in the page where each addition should go.
A useful second Syriac dictionary to have around is the more concise one by Louis Costaz. It also has a very useful index of proper names with vocalization, a feature missing in Payne Smith. In a few years, Michael Sokoloff's revision and translation (from Latin to English) of Carl Brockelmann's "Lexicon Syriacum" will be published, and it promises to be very good indeed. But until that day comes, this dictionary and Costaz are the most useful ones for students. If you want "the big one," you can get the "Thesaurus Syriacus" of which this English volume is a translation and condensation. This Latin original, by the father of the author of the "Compendious Syriac Dictionary", has vast troves of information, including a citation of the sources in Syriac literature from which the definitions of the words are derived. It has recently been reprinted by two publishers: Wipf & Stock and Gorgias.
Highly useful Nov 28, 2003
This is THE dictionary for classical Syriac texts, for both the eastern and western dialect. I used it during my studies and I very seldom run into a word I couldn't find in the dictionary. The translations are clear and concise. Contextual information is usually given to differentiate between possible translations.
Verb entries are in the past tense only, which is common among scholars but not very useful when actually searching for a word. But you will find it a great help that verb forms other than the PAEL are often listed with a one word translation and a reference to the PAEL entry.
Etymological information is limited to derivatives of verbs. Loanwords are marked as such and in the case of Greek loanwords the original word is printed. There is almost no reference to the other semitic languages.