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Coalition To Distribute English-Arabic Dictionaries
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LONDON, England - In an effort to reach out to the Iraqi community, the American-British led coalition is sponsoring the printing and distribution of English-Arabic translation dictionaries. "The people of Iraq now have unprecedented access to media outlets," said British Prime Minister Tony Blair, announcing the plan, "These outlets are largely presented in the English tongue. Without proper translation, certain terms may be misconstrued, creating unrealistic expectations. It is our hope that free distribution of this dictionary will aid our Iraqi friends in understanding the modern world they have only recently joined."

"It would be better to simply say what they mean."
-- Linguist Marcus Arelian
"It's not a surprising move, given the coalition's loose usage of words like 'cease-fire' and 'sovereignty'," explained linguist Marcus Arelian, "They are using words that are quite concrete in meaning, yet they use them so loosely that to a non-English speaker it could be quite confusing."

For sovereignty, the dictionary offers the definition: "Freedom of choice, ability of a nation or national group to choose its own destiny, within the bounds of acceptable behavior as defined by any occupying force." "See, that's not what 'sovereignty' means," argued Arelian, "So rather than clearing up confusion, they are certainly going to add to it. It would be better to simply say what they mean."

White House spokesman Scott McClellan defended the dictionary, "Words change with time. Look at the word 'Gay'. Words like cease-fire, dictator, occupation, and sovereignty are no less susceptible to subtle changes in meaning, and our Iraqi friends need to be kept in step with their modern definitions."

The coalition hopes to have the dictionary widely distributed within Iraq before the scheduled handover of sovereignty on June 30th.
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