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REVIEWS Longman Interactive English Dictionary (on CD-ROM). 1993. Longman Group UK Limited. £150. $243.00. The LIED is a dictionary of English for users whose native language is not English. It includes most of the information found in several Longman reference works for learners of English, namely the Longman Dictionary ofEnglish Language and Culture, Summers 1992 (LDELC), the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary, Wells 1990 (LPD), the Longman English Grammar, Alexander 1988 (LEG), and the Longman Dictionary of Common Errors, Heaton and Turton 1987 (LDCE). The fact that the LIED combines these various references into one makes it a new kind of reference work, but from the ways the LIED makes use of multimedia computer technology I cannot help but call it a revolutionary product for learners of English. And even though the LIED is apparendy the first multimedia learner's dictionary of English, its quality is more than what one would expect from a pioneering effort. It may be the case that I as someone relatively new to multimedia was overly impressed by the breadth of information in the LIED and the innovative ways it is presented, but the high quality of the product is undeniable. The integration of different reference works and additional material such as sound recordings, pictures, and even video all on a single CD shows the exciting promise of the application of multimedia computer technology to lexicography and language learning. This dictionary is produced by the Longman Group UK and is currendy available only from the United Kingdom. British English is the variety emphasized throughout the LIED, although there is some attention to American English and to other national varieties. The focus on British English mirrors the general preference among learners of English in most parts of the world for the British national variety and it may also derive from the preeminence of British dictionaries in English language teaching (of which Longman is a major publisher ) . The LIED comes packaged in a display box that contains the LIED CD in ajewel case (i.e., a CD box), a short booklet giving instructions and advice on the use of the LIED, and inside the jewel case itself (where it is not easy to notice ), a litde four-page booklet that serves as the basic instruction manual. The manual gives only minimal instructions for starting and operating the LIED; it is the instruction and advice booklet that really gives the user an idea of what the LIED is and what can be done with it (see below). The manual tells the user how to install the LIED on a multimedia computer that must be equipped with a CDROM drive, have 4 megabytes minimum of RAM, and run Microsoft Windows™ version 3.1. The computer must therefore be IBM-compatible, and the product information I received from Longman indicates that the LIED is available only 226Reviews as a Windows-compatible CD. Not much more information is provided except a list of the menu tides that appear across the top of the LIED's screen once the software is running and a brief explanation of their general functions, e.g., "Edit: this allows you to copy and paste texts and use the notepad." The instruction and advice booklet explains the features of the LIED more fully than the manual, and it is full of suggestions as to how learners of English can take advantage of the resources of the LIED. The booklet tacidy assumes a working knowledge of computers, especially Windows-based applications , and at least an awareness of multimedia. It assumes incorrectly that users will know what terms like "double clicking" and "selecting" mean. Contrast this with another computerized English learner's dictionary, the Longman Dictionary of American English for Microsoft Windows™ (LDAE), which devotes space in its user's manual to an explanation of basic computer and Windows terms and procedures (see McCorduck 1995). Using the LIED1 The outer cover of the package that the LIED comes in exclaims: "Just switch on, pin, and GO!" The program is not quite that simple to get started, however. The first problem is that some of the working files of the LIED must be copied onto the hard drive of the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 225-235
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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