This dictionary is aimed at Spanish speaking students of English. It is a thick (40mm) A5 sized book and is bound with a soft vinyl cover which should resist frequent use.
Useful and Versatile Reference for Spanish Speaking English Students
Like many modern dictionaries it uses a clear typography based on a bold san-serif face for the word. The detailed entry is in a small serif face for readability. The heading word is in blue which makes for a highly readable format and invites use. It is available with an electronic version of the dictionary on CD.
Dictionary and Grammar
The Cambridge Pocket English-Spanish Dictionary is not just a dictionary as it is designed to be a tool for a student of English. It therefore has tables in the English to Spanish section explaining the grammar. For example on the page opposite the word “irregular” is a table spanning nearly four pages of English irregular verbs with their infinitive, past simple and past participle forms.
A similar approach is adopted for many aspects of grammar and English usage including a table of “false friends” – words that are similar to the Spanish but with a very different meaning. Useful as all students of a second language will have fallen into the false friend trap often with embarrassing consequences. It should be noted that the guidance is aimed at guiding the student around the pitfalls that are common to the Hispanic learner of English.
There are also occasional illustrations but Cambridge Pocket English-Spanish Dictionary is not an illustrated dictionary. At least the main body is not illustrated.
Additional Illustrated Sections
There are two illustrated sections. The first uses full colour illustrations and photographs shows the English words for common needs including amongst others:
- Food and Meals
- Body and Illness
- Opposites such as open and closed.
The second section is a conversation guide or phrase book and illustrates common scenarios. It is illustrated with drawings and provides useful phrases covering situations such as:
- Airport and Travel
- Introductions and Greetings
- Asking and Giving Directions
- Buying Food, Drink and Clothes
The conversation guide also provides other useful phrases for apologising, telling the tim, telephoning and writing letters both formal and informal.
Electronic Dictionary and English Pronunciation Guide
Cambridge Pocket English-Spanish Dictionary comes with a CD that has installation scripts for Windows, Mac OS and Linux. It uses a VB script and so internet security software may prevent it running; for the review the virus and other security software had to be briefly switched off. It then loaded and put an icon on the Windows desktop.
It provides a bilingual dictionary with the same content as the printed dictionary which is particularly useful now most students will carry a laptop. For the English words it also provides the spoken word through the computer speakers or headset with a choice of UK or US pronunciation. It provides a useful additional help for the learner of English.
Classic Bilingual Dictionary
Otherwise Cambridge Pocket English-Spanish Dictionary is a classic bilingual dictionary. The first half is English to Spanish and the second part is Spanish to English. This is usch a well proven format there is nothing to add except that it is clear and well laid out including the usual phonetic guide to pronunciation.
All the instructions and guidance notes are in Spanish as this dictionary is aimed at the Spanish speaking student of English. It has the advantage that for general use the student user of Cambridge Pocket English-Spanish Dictionary will not need to carry a grammar guide as well.
Cambridge Pocket English-Spanish Dictionary or Diccionario Bilingue Cambridge Pocket, Spanish-English (2008, ISBN: 978-84-8323-476-1) is published in soft back with a CD-ROM by Cambridge University Press at £16.65.
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