Danko Sipka is a professor of Slavic Languages and Linguistics at Arizona State University, where he teaches the South Slavic Language now politically called Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (BCS). This is Dr. Sipka's native language and he lived for appreciable lengths of time in all three dialect areas so that he is familiar with all variations of it. This 150-page work, published this year (2008) by the Dunwoody Press, 6525 Belcrest Road, Suite 460, Hyattsville, MD 20782, includes 929 Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian words that share a recognizable form with an English word, but have different meanings. The idea of the compilation is first to define what a "false cognate" is, and Dr. Sipka does this superbly, leading the reader through the consideration of how to cite differing glosses in differing lexical contexts, and second to provide the reader with a large sample of potentially misleading examples of the defined phenomenon--"false cognates." Imagine hearing or reading the BCS adjective "komunalni," and thinking, quite understandably on the basis of sound similarity that it means the same as the English adjective "communal.
" But the dictionary points out that the BCS meaning is, suprisingly, "pertaining to sanitation, disposal of sewage," and that an English translation as "sanitary" would be appropriate. Similarly, a BCS "finger" is not a digit on the hand, but an air terminal passageway. Often the crucial difference is not in the first, most frequently used, glosses in the citation, but in the subsequent, less frequently used, glosses of a word. But in this Dr. Sipka does not fail the reader of his dictionary. He specifies a wide variety of usages of every word, sometimes as many as five in a citation, making the inappropriate interpretations clear. The explanation of the structure of his entries is given in diagram form in the very elucidative introduction. This is a model work of lexicography and a useful tool for the translator and scholar alike.