Enkomputiligis Don HARLOW

Kvin terminaroj de fiziko, komputiko kaj matematiko

de KATSUMORI Hiroshi k.a.

recenzis Don Harlow

KATSUMORI Hiroshi, MAKINO Satoru, & YAMAMORI Junko: Esperanta Terminaro de Fiziko. Kasugai: Fako de Fiziko, Universitato Chubu, 1987.197 p.
KALCKHOFF, Gerhard, and PICK, Antony C.: Komputada Baza Terminaro. München: Linguistisches Bureau,1985. 52 p.
BERTIN, Christian: Computer Dictionary, English-Esperanto (draft). Cesson-Sévigné: the author, 1985. 108 p.
DENEVA, Daniela: Matematika Terminaro. Sofia: Bulgara Esperantista Asocio, 1985. 160 p.
KISELMAN, Christer O.: Matematika Terminaro Esperanto-Angla-Franca-Sveda. Uppsala: Uppsala Universitato, Matematika Instituto, 1985. 30 p.

Some time ago I decided to start translating a couple of technical works into Esperanto -- Landau & Lifshitz's Mechanics and the first volume of Smirnov's Course in Higher Mathematics. For fun, believe it or not. As a result, I got a chance to take a look at the above-named dictionaries.

The Esperanta Terminaro de Fiziko is massive and well put together. It is not, however, quite so massive as the number of pages would suggest; it is trilingual (Esperanto, Japanese and English), and divided into three sections, each of which contains alphabetically organized keywords in each language (the Japanese words are given in two ways, Kanji and Hepburn Romanization; but only the Kanji representations are used as keywords). This is convenient for the translator, since it is very easy to find Esperanto equivalents in section three (English-Esperanto-Kanji-Hepburn).

I have a few minor quibbles. Why the "i" in lagranĝiano, when the adjective form of Lagrange's name is simply lagranĝa? If a "frame of reference" is a norma kadro, why is an "inertial frame" inercia sistemo? Why does "Faraday" remain Faraday in Esperanto, while "Galileo" becomes Galilejo? I can't protest that "momentum" has become the Newtonian, and much more comprehensible, movokvanto; but "angular momentum" is less comprehensible as angula movokvanto than as the more traditional momanto de movokvanto, once the student understands the definition of momanto (vector product of the quantity in question with the radius vector from center to point of application).

The authors of this work have also coined velocito for the vector "velocity," as opposed to the scalar rapideco. I was absolutely astonished to discover that they were justified in doing so, as I could find no word for this almost fundamental quantity in PIV.

Minor, as I said. Anybody interested in physics in Esperanto should have a copy of this book.

Of the two computer dictionaries, that of Kalckhoff and Pick is perhaps the more accessible and more immediately useful; but that of Bertin is much more complete. The former includes some 369 terms in Esperanto, with their English, French and German equivalents and complete definitions in Esperanto; three national-language indexes at the end allow the user to translate back from his language of choice to Esperanto, or any of the others. So few entries, of course, require the user to use his word-forming abilities to proceed to other terms not listed here. The Bertin book, on the other hand, is quite complete. Since it goes in only one direction -- English to Esperanto -- indexes are not provided. Much of the book is given over to appendices, including ASCII and EBCDIC tables and a 28-page list of English-language abbreviations used in Silicon Valley and elsewhere.

Interestingly, both Kalckhoff and Pick on the one hand and Bertin on the other use the term komputilo for "computer." The war between "komputoristoj" and "komputeristoj" and "komputilistoj" is not over, (1) but it is easy to see who has the upper hand. See the first paragraph in the Preface to Kalckhoff and Pick. One difference, however, is that Kalckhoff and Pick use dateno for "datum," while Bertin uses datumo. See Bertin's preface.

Daniela Deneva's Matematika Terminaro is not aimed at Americans (although Deneva, a noted Bulgarian seismologist who now lives in the Washington, DC, area, may be convinced to change this). The first of three parts contains some 753 mathematical terms in Esperanto with translations in Bulgarian and Russian; the other parts contain the terms in Bulgarian and Russian, respectively, with their Esperanto equivalents. Nevertheless, a scan through the first part is useful in that it allows the user to determine how Esperanto terms that are cognate or semi-cognate to their English equivalents may differ in spelling.

You may come a cropper when you encounter a word like reelo. A dance from Virginia? No, the Kiselman terminology makes it clear that reelo is "real number" / "nombre (m) réel" / "reellt tal (n)". Furthermore, Kiselman takes the trouble to distinguish between reala (a general term) and reela (a strictly mathematical term).

Kiselman, however, does have some problems, probably due to its relative shortness (I estimate no more than four or five hundred entries). For intance, in his definition of erarero (under eraro), Kiselman describes this as an infiniteza eraro; nowhere does he define the root infinit' nor the suffix -ez- (though elsewhere he defines several other proposed affixes). infinit' can, however, be found in Deneva (but, of course, with translations only in Bulgarian and Russian). And, mentioning eraro, Kiselman does not refer to the technical term ekarto, which is found in both Deneva and the Japanese physics dictionary.

An interesting conceit of Kiselman's is his proposal that the term for "the integers" (set of all integers) should be entjo, a back-formation from entjero ("integer"). Back-formation is often sneered at by the etymologically oriented, but it has occasionally played an important role in Esperanto, giving us words not found in other languages (fraŭlo from fraŭlino, for instance). entjo could easily turn out to be one such.

It has often been said that Esperanto needs more technical literature. It is small, specialized dictionaries such as these, available to the casual user of the language, which will make this possible.


(1) This was true a decade ago when this review was written; today komputilo is basically the uncontested winner of the competition.

Aliaj Recenzoj

La libro haveblas ĉe
(Katsumori) The Esperanto League for North America
(Katsumori, Kalckhoff, Bertin) Universala Esperanto-Asocio
(Kalckhoff, Bertin, Deneva) Flandra Esperanto-Ligo