Sunday, March 26, 2006

Dictionary Reviews

Dictionary Reviews

Teaching and learning the English language takes a battery of weapons and tools. Chiefly, one needs at times to recheck and reinform one's own understanding first before attempting to confirm the learning objectives of vocabulary among students.

Chiefly I would recommend anyone who is a learner and reading this review to run out and pick up one of these little oracles. In this age of technology I am amazed that students frequently spend upwards of two hundred dollars on translation electronic gizmos which leave a lot to be desired (price, slow & inaccurate reference, easily broken) rather than begin operating in the language at hand without the tiresome, slow process of the translation method. Translation methods have their place, but in junior high school, not in university language programs.

The difference is as great as attaching training wheels to every bicycle you ride. At what point in time does a learner ride an adult-sized bicycle?

1. The Oxford Dictionary of Current English: Best General Reference.

This would be my first choice of convenient pocket dictionaries. I prefer softcover editions due to price, you need only reinforce the covers with scotch tape or some other clear vinyl to maintain its shelf-life. I do not currently own this edition, I have been faithfully thumbing through a 1992 Edition for apparently fourteen years. It fits in among your regular books, requires no special shelf or dais. The beauty of older dictionaries in softcover is that over time they generally expand in size like a chia-pet. Weak bindings or dried binding glue can be renewed with a gentle ironing upon the spine with the silks settings of your trusty laundry iron.

2. Oxford Essential Business and Office Dictionary: Best Price Sleeper Winner.

I have recently price checked these and purchased this 2003 Edition as it is about two dollars fifty comparatively cheaper than The Little Oxford Dictionary here in ROK. The only real difference is that it adds a few business related chapters at the end. The rest is basically the same as The Little Oxford and did I mention it is cheaper? I hope OUP does not catch on in future why (if) they are selling so many of this edition.

3. The Little Oxford Dictionary (1998):A hardcover tough little book built to last forever.

This was the best value hard cover in Young Poong Bookstore at 10,000 won hands down winner of best little English book on the planet. Its structure and size mean it could probably be used for small scale trowel duties in exchange for a hand spade in a window garden if you had desperate need for a digging tool.

4. Collins Cobuild Compact English Learner's Dictionary (2004): Best reference.

It would be difficult to find another dictionary which so well defines usage in the English language the way this little mighty-mouse does. I once had a larger, more expensive edition given as a gift and then lent out and not returned (Grrr). Some people will not treat your books with the same respect you (hopefully) do. So keep it close on a chain if you have to. It is everything it claims to be.

5. (Barron's Business Guides) Dictionary of International Business Terms (2000)

Pricey but context relevant. This little whopper was written by a bunch of PhDs in New York or environs. It is a little early to gauge how much I enjoy using this dictionary but the fact that it was highly recommended by the best sales agent at Kyobo (the one guy who knows where everything is) was enough recommendation for me.

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