SAN FRANCISCO (Nov. 20, 2012) — The Center for Lao Studies and Silkworm Books and are pleased to announce the joint-publication of An Iu-Mienh – English Dictionary.
The 896-page hardcover dictionary contains cultural notes by Herbert C. Purnell, who was assisted by Zanh, Gueix-Fongc, V. Ann Burgess, and Greg Aumann. The Center for Lao Studies will hold an official book launch reception on Dec. 15, 2012, although the dictionary is currently available to order for $32 through the Center for Lao Studies at www.laostudies.org/publications or call 415-874-5578.
Based on the language as spoken in Laos and Thailand, and written in the Iu-Mien community’s common Romanized script, this dictionary is the result of more than 20 years’ work and is the most extensive collection of Iu Mien vocabulary currently available. It is supported by a 1.3 million-word corpus ranging from oral narrative and formal prose to Internet blogs.
The dictionary has 5,600 entries, 28,000 subentries, 21,000 culture notes, 5,000 example sentences, and 4,500 notes on usage, register, and idioms. There are thousands of informative culture notes on a wide variety of topics, including beliefs, clothing, cooking, courtship, marriage, ceremonies, embroidery, folklore, names, poetry, and riddles.
There are six appendices which discuss numbers, names, kinship, the 60-year cycle, references on the Iu Mien, and sources for the computerized corpus.
The Dictionary serves as an invaluable resource for Iu Mien families in North America who are trying to preserve their language. Younger Iu Mien who wish to better understand the lives of their elders, as well as for scholars, linguists, and anthropologists will find this dictionary to be a valuable resource.
Herbert C. Purnell is Professor Emeritus of Applied Linguistics and TESOL, Biola University. He has written on many aspects of Iu Mien language, phonology, historical development, orthography, lexicography, and literary form.
“A magnificent dictionary; an enormous accomplishment; a lasting treasure of detailed information about Mien culture and language,” said Professor Martha Ratliff, Wayne State University.
Chiem-Seng Yaangh, PhD., President, United Iu-Mien Community, Inc. Sacramento, California, said “Naaiv buonv Iu-Mienh – English Dictionary…tengx duqv siou liouh Iu-Mienh fingx caux waac mingh hoz nqaang ziex doic.” [This Iu-Mienh – English Dictionary…will aid in preserving the Iu Mien language and culture for future generations.”
“A monumental and superb work on Southeast Asian language and culture,” said Professor Theraphan Luangthongkum, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok.