The best advanced learner's dictionary of each language

General discussion about learning languages
White Belt
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:45 pm
x 20

The best advanced learner's dictionary of each language

Postby Hashimi » Sat May 19, 2018 3:09 am

As for English, I believe that the best monolingual dictionaries for advanced learners are:

1) Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English:

A key feature of it is its utilization of a limited amount of vocabulary to define words. Around 2000 words are used to write all of the definitions in the dictionary. Most of these words were developed from the General Service List of Michael West.

It also has around 170,000 corpus-based example sentences and 65,000 collocations.

2) Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's Dictionary:

It is one of the first corpus-based dictionaries in English. The most interesting thing about it is its definitions. They are full sentences, no phrases. For example, the definition of the word "fruition" is the following:

"If something comes to fruition, it starts to succeed and produce the results that were intended or hoped for."

Because this definition is a full sentence, it gives the learner a lot of information. It shows that fruition is usually used in the phrase "come to fruition" (because the editors used a corpus). So now the learner can easily build his own CORRECT sentences with the word (e.g. "His hopes finally came to fruition" or "Will my plan ever come to fruition?"

In comparison with "traditional" dictionaries, we see that they don't have full-sentence definitions. For example:

"Fruition = the realization of something that was desired or hoped for."

After reading this definition, the learner might use the word in incorrect ways. He might think it is correct to say "What about your fruition?" or "Is this book your greatest fruition?". But both sentences are bad English!

Another example from COBUILD, is the definition of the verb "wag":

"When a dog wags its tail, it repeatedly waves its tail from side to side."

Traditional dictionary: "wag = to shake up and down or move from side to side."

COBUILD's definitions are very natural. They are sentences that could be said by English teachers or any native speaker of English. Having this dictionary feels like having a native speaker friend to answer the learner's questions about English.
5 x

User avatar
Orange Belt
Posts: 225
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:29 am
Languages: Regularly use: German, Mandarin, Indonesian.
Brushing up: Spanish, French, Russian.
Other interests: Cantonese, Vietnamese, Polish.
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5086
x 659

Re: The best advanced learner's dictionary of each language

Postby Axon » Sat May 19, 2018 3:34 am

I agree, Collins makes some very high-quality dictionaries. I remember finding one for Vietnamese and I've always regretted not buying it.
0 x
1000 Subtitled Indonesian Video Minutes: 200 / 1000
1000 Pages of Indonesian Reading: 300 / 1000
100 Duolingo Practice Sessions: 37 / 100

User avatar
Orange Belt
Posts: 125
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:58 pm
Languages: English (N), Spanish (beginner), Haitian Creole (beginner)
x 123

Re: The best advanced learner's dictionary of each language

Postby Decidida » Tue May 22, 2018 1:21 am

I chose the Larousse French English dictionary to have at home for Creole/French speaking friend, because it explained the full meaning of "Metropolitan" and that was a word that online resources did not do a good job with at all and we had previously struggled with. I am hoping if the dictionary is helpful with that word it will be as helpful with others. It was the only dictionary and Barnes and Nobles that included the definition of "motherland" as well as "city".

So far it has been helpful when Google has failed.
0 x

Posts: 5
Joined: Mon May 21, 2018 6:45 pm
Languages: Englisn (N) Norwegian (beginner), French (beginner)
x 1

Re: The best advanced learner's dictionary of each language

Postby SmartRat » Thu May 24, 2018 8:40 am

I prefer Longman Dictionary. I used to have a very good Norwegian dictionary: Norsk-Engelsk Blå Ordbok. It is not huge, but I think that's enough for Trinn 3 learner for example. I used to have - because my friend borrowed it and still keeps it :x
0 x

User avatar
Black Belt - 1st Dan
Posts: 1687
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 7:36 pm
Location: Denmark
Languages: Monolingual travels in Danish, English, German, Dutch, Swedish, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Romanian,
Ahem, not yet: Esperanto, Norwegian, Afrikaans, Platt, Scots, Russian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Albanian, Greek, Latin, Indonesian ...
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1027
x 3421

Re: The best advanced learner's dictionary of each language

Postby Iversen » Thu May 24, 2018 5:38 pm

Question to SmartRat: is the use of the word "friend" in this context still warranted?

Apart from that: a good example of a good dictionary would be The New College Latin and English Dictionary by John C.Traupman. Why? Well, simply because I normally find the words and phrases I look up in the English --> Latin section, even if they represent modern ideas and inventions. Some competitors (like the Neues Latein Lexikon from Lempertz) also have many of these words and expressions but try at all costs to find a classical or medieval example- and if that's impossible then they propose a clumsy circumlocution which no true Roman or medieval monk ever would have accepted.

Even worse: I once bought a red Gyldendal Danish --> Latin dictionary, and I suppose it is the only case where I have thrown an expensive dictionary in the dustbin in disgust. The reason: no matter what I tried to look up, chances were that it wasn't there because the dictionary apparently had been constructed as a simple inversion of a Latin --> Danish dictionary (even worse: it was a partial and not terribly succesful update of an even older dictionary built along this totally outdated principle).

The crux of the matter is that if you make a dictionary from language A to language B, then it MUST contain all the important words of language A as headwords, whether or not there exists a simple and idiomatic translation into language B. And then it is up to the compiling team to find the best possible translation under the circumstances - and to state the facts when they can't find anything suitable, instead of just being silent.
1 x

Posts: 5
Joined: Mon May 21, 2018 6:45 pm
Languages: Englisn (N) Norwegian (beginner), French (beginner)
x 1

Re: The best advanced learner's dictionary of each language

Postby SmartRat » Fri May 25, 2018 10:21 am

Iversen :D
Yeah, She is still my friend, Just the thing is I don't need the dictionary as she does, and she didn't forget. I use Internet these days for all the nessesary translations :D
0 x

Return to “General Language Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Kraut and 1 guest