Tesoro Mio

While tutoring the other day, I was helping my student correct a paper he'd written in English for a conference. He had used a word that wasn't quite correct, and I was thinking of synonyms that would be easier for an Italian to pronounce than "thwart." I clicked over to thesaurus.com and searched for thwart.

Tutee: What's that site?
Me: It's an online thesaurus.
Tutee: What's a thesaurus?
Me: It's a book that tells you all the synonyms and sometimes the antonyms for a word. This is just an online version.
Tutee: Woooow, that's amazing! What's it called again?
Me: A thesaurus. Italian has the same word - tesoro - although I guess it means something else, yeah?
Tutee: Yeah, we don't have a thesaurus in Italian. This is great!

I found this hard to believe and asked the first foreigner I could find, which happened to be Erik, whether other languages had thesauri. He said he'd never seen a Swedish thesaurus, although he thinks that one exists.

So those of you who know or have studied another language... have you ever seen a thesaurus in that language? Is it just that English is such a huge language, with words drawn from German, French, Latin, and Greek, that it is inevitable that multiple synonyms exist for every word?


Chris Cameron said…
I wanna say I've seen a German one, but I couldn't tell you where to find one.
Anonymous said…
I'm sure there is a Spanish one, because there are words thatmean the same. Conducir and manejar are both verbs for 'to drive' and saber and conocer bothmean 'to know' butin differentcontexts. Also, there'smanywords for bathroom 'aseo' 'bano' 'lavatorio' etc. So yes, there probably is a thesaurus for Spanish. Also I askeda German friend about German thesauri andhe said he's sure there is one, butlike AN above he doesn'tknow where itis.
Anonymous said…
German thesaurus: yep, there is such a thing, but Germans look at you funny when you ask about one. I have one from Fischer. In German it's called a Wörterbuch der Synonyme und Antonyme (a dictionary of synonyms and antonyms), but since most Germans probably don't know what those words mean, there's an explanation. Husband just reminded me that Word has that function, as well. They call it "Thesaurus", but the pronunciation is totally different. I don't think they're as big into it as English speakers are.

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