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254Reviews The Cambridge International Dictionary ofEnglish. Ed. Paul Procter. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. 1994. Pp. xviii + 1,702 + 72 (indexes). $27.00. Cambridge's debut in mainstream monolingual dictionaries heralds many welcome innovations in lexicography. The Cambridge International Dictionary ofEnglish (CIDE) responds to the needs of international speakers of English by providing a dictionary whose lexis of 100,000 entries encompasses British, American, Australian, and odier Englishes along with a learners' corpus , which codifies learners' common errors. Most noteworthy, this ambitious body of data is presented in a manner aimed at "clarity and simplicity" (viii) and tiius breaks new ground in die content, style, and format of learners' dictionaries . Learners' dictionaries have made important advances since their inception in 1948 with die Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English (OALD). Yet the distinguishing features of learners' dictionaries remain intact in CIDE: it excludes etymologies and archaic terms, provides more encyclopedic information dian is generally found in native-speaker dictionaries, more notations on grammatical forms, collocations, and idioms — and employs a defining vocabulary of 2,000 words. Following the precedents set by die OALD and die Longman Dictionary of English Language and Culture (LDELC), CIDE provides grammatical labels, such as "[C]" and "[U]" for countable and uncountable nouns, and "[T]" and "[I]" for transitive and intransitive verbs. These labels are indispensable to the English language learner, given some of the idiosyncrasies of English. Consider, for example, heads oflettuce, but not (in this case) *lettuces. In keeping with the standard features of this class of dictionaries, CIDE effectively includes illustrations and sample sentences. Illustrations speak to die learner's needs for explanation and description, and CIDE contains over 2,000 illustrations of vocabulary more easily described pictorially, such as design patterns, shapes, types of tables, and terms related to driving a vehicle. The 110,000 sample sentences show usage and pay meticulous attention to collocations. In diis regard, well-known phrases from sources such as songs, books, and visual media are particularly helpful to foreign learners of English as the associations, though known to native speakers, make these words difficult for learners in certain contexts. For example, under frontier, we find "Space, the final frontier" from Star Trek and under fruitful we find "Be fruitful and multiply" from the Bible (Gen. 28:3). Diffusion of these stock phrases has influenced the meanings of both words. The 18-page introduction provides information on how to use the dictionary and an overview ofEnglish grammar with sufficient examples, and also contains an impressive list of distinguished editors and consultants (including many well-known writers of English language textbooks) , a one-page foreword summarizing the dictionary's features and goals, and a flow chart of the Cambridge Language Survey illustrating the sources of the dictionary's 100 million Reviews255 word corpus, which include television, radio, novels, newspapers, and spoken and written data produced by learners of English. The defining vocabulary of less dian 2,000 words is conveniently presented in the back matter along widi a description of the criteria for choosing die items in that vocabulary. These edify die learner about the rationale behind the dictionary's lexical base, but lexicographers will recognize diat the defining vocabulary avoids words that are confused with other English words (such as access and assess) or "foreign" words (such as tortilla and naive) — and uses words that are semantically the same in British and American English (such as television, rather than the exclusively British telly) , and high-frequency words that are useful in explaining other words, e.g., past, present, and future. Developments in computer software have made such features possible. The Cambridge Language Survey is a computer-generated source of the English language compiled over several years. Its contributions to diis dictionary have advanced this particular lexis to cover "all possible writing styles" (viii). Indeed, representation of styles and registers is impressive, including even the humorous use of old expressions, such as "See you anon," and the royal use of we for / in Queen Victoria's often quoted "We are not amused." The inclusion of humorous and archaic uses promotes creative use of English forms and informs learners of lexical distinctions in styles and registers. In addition to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 254-257
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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