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Reviewed by:
  • The University of Chicago Spanish–English Dictionary edited by David A. Pharies
  • Alfonso Abad Mancheño
Pharies, David A., ed. The University of Chicago Spanish–English Dictionary. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2012. iPhone App.

The University of Chicago Dictionary (6th ed.) is a concise bilingual dictionary edited by David A. Pharies. The latest version of the dictionary was conceived as a tool for travelers and students, and as an update to the dictionary to keep up with new trends in vocabulary. The dictionary contains more than 34 000 entries and over 75 000 glosses. Vocabulary is changing at a fast rate, and this dictionary attempts to keep up with the new terminology that a traveler or a student would need, especially terms related to technology and sports. The University of Chicago Dictionary (6th ed.) iPhone App features the same content as the traditional dictionary plus some extra interactive functions: search, word lists, and activities. For instance, if one searches the Spanish word gancho, a number of translations in English are returned, which include synonyms of the term, and at the bottom of the translation, the different Spanish usages of the word are also given. The translations given are: hook, to hook, crochet hook, by hook or by crook, hook and eye, to hook up, hooked, crook, fasten, and to score. The application also has the capability of switching between English to Spanish and Spanish to English by clicking a tab. The word list function allows the user to customize or use templates of word lists by topic (e.g., words related to digital technology, medical terms, money and finance terms, and sports terms). A user may also compile word lists related to specific semantic fields (e.g., travel words or music terms, or that are hard to remember, such as acorde or afinar). The activities function allows the user to [End Page 174] fill out customized activities, templates of multiple-choice quizzes, and create flash cards (for words such as digital technology terms or money and finance terms).

This edition has added six thousand new words associated with medicine, business, technology, and sports. The dictionary focuses on American English, and international Spanish based both on Iberian and Latin American Spanish. It is a concise dictionary; therefore, vocabulary was carefully selected to reflect terms that are more frequently used. Word entries include the pronunciation, meaning, grammatical category, gender (for nouns), and frequently used locutions or combinations that a traveler would need. For instance, a word like street would show the phonetic transcription [strit], the grammatical category N (noun), gender f (feminine), the basic meaning calle, and the common locutions (according to frequency or use) such as street lamp, street car, or street sweeper. Because the goal of the dictionary’s update is to account for new words that a speaker would need to function in a Spanish-speaking world (or vice versa), new entries have been selected according to frequency, popularity, and situational necessity. For instance, medical vocabulary is an important tool for the modern speaker to be able to navigate a foreign medical system. In response to this, six hundred new words related to the medical field such as expectorar have been added. Regarding technology terminology, the editorial board consulted Internet forums and other sources to decide which translations would be appropriate for each term. Words like streaming and download were added to the dictionary. Many of the words were not new, but new meanings were added to them. An example of this is the word app, or application as used in technology, meaning the act of applying computer software. Another field that was updated is sports terminology, where examples reflecting new trends include patada, despeje, despejador, and other soccer-related terms.

One of the dictionary’s shortcomings comes from the nature of it being concise; therefore one cannot expect an above average number of entries, but this of course was by design. In sum, this application is an important new contribution to update the traditional dictionary to the new digital era. With its new terminology and careful selection, it constitutes an excellent daily dictionary and reference book/application. This dictionary allows the user to quickly select...


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pp. 174-175
Launched on MUSE
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