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REVIEWS Encarta World English Dictionary. Ed. Kathy Rooney and Anne Soukhanov (U.S. general editor). New York: St. Martin's Press, and London: Bloomsbury. 1999. Pp. xxxii + 2176. $50.00 U.S. Microsoft Encarta World English Dictionary. 1999. U.S. version on CD, developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury. t; ^he Encarta World English Dictionary was developed by Bloomsbury Publishing in the U.K. for Microsoft and is available in three different editions: the U.S. edition published by St. Martin's Press (hereafter EWED), the U.K. edition published by Bloomsbury, and the Australian edition published by Pan Macmillan Australia. CDs for each of these markets are also available. This review is concerned primarily with EWED and the corresponding CD, but I will also compare the U.S. and U.K. print editions since the two are significantly different, the U.K. edition having about 100 more pages. The two other recent dictionaries that most resemble EWED in physical dimensions , page extent, and price are the New OxfordDictionary ofEnglish (NODE) in the U.K. and The American Heritage Dictionary oftheEnglish Language, Third Edition (AHD3) in the U.S., and I will therefore compare EWED with them in the first part of this review. All three are large trim-sized books (approximately 8 V2 ? 1 1 inches) , with three columns per page (AHD3 has two columns of text and one devoted to illustrations), and are priced at about $50.00 or the equivalent. Among the claims made for EWED is that it is the first to reflect the "world status" of English and that because EWED was "written in both of the main spelling forms of English at the same time," unlike the "dictionaries of the past ... firmly rooted in their specific cultural heritage," it has "a truly world perspective." It is unusual to produce the same dictionary in different language varieties at the same time, because the size of particular markets seldom justifies the expense, but it is difficult to see why this exercise has given the EWED editors a "world perspective," or indeed what that means. How would a dictionary without a world perspective differ from one with it? If EWED had somehow managed the feat of using a form of international English for its defining vocabulary that worked equally well in the U.S. and Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, we should be amazed and have to confess that a world perspective had been achieved. But no such effort has been made. We have two different editions, each using its local variety. The claim to a world perspective must then depend on EWED's coverage of terms that are restricted in range, and much is made of this in its promotional literature. But most varieties of English other than American Dictionaries:fournal oftheDictionary Society ofAmerica 21 (2000) Reviews1 1 3 have been omitted from EWED, even British English. For example, cock-up, which is in AHD3 ( "A blunder; a mess") and most other American dictionaries, labeled "British," and is in the U.K. edition, is missing from EWED. Oddly, the U.K. edition includes some items labeled "US" that are not included in EWED. (See Appendix 2.) The U.K. edition may have some claim to giving greater coverage to the national varieties of English than other dictionaries, but not EWED. The editor-in-chief, Kathy Rooney, says that a corpus of world English was created specifically for EWED and that it contains over 50 million words (xii). She also says that EWED is the "first dictionary compiled for speakers of U.S. English for which its editors have been able to use a corpus" (xii) . This is not true. The Longman Dictionary ofAmerican English published in 1997 was the first. We are given no further information about this corpus, but it is hard to see what use the editors made of it. There seem to be fewer examples than in NODE or AHD3, and most of them have the characteristics of invented rather than authentic language. For example, EWED's entry for fog, which includes six noun definitions and three verb definitions, has only one example for the entire entry ("a fog of excuses...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 112-124
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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