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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very helpful dictionary for English learners, 12 April 2005
This review is from: Collins Cobuild - Learner's Dictionary (Collins Cobuild dictionaries) (Paperback)
A friend recommended it to me last year. I am very grateful for his recommendation. It was such a wonderful dictionary; I particularly like its definitions and sentence examples, which sound a little bit wordy; however they can give a foreigner a very fine, deep, and accurate understanding of the word and the situations the word can be used and how. That is exactly what a foreign language learner need but rarely get from other sources¡™for example, a dictionary for native speakers. I am surprised that this dictionary is not widely used. I hope more English learners can benefit from it. I very appreciate the editors who made this dictionary.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's English Dictionary, 31 Dec 2004
This review is from: Collins Cobuild - Learner's Dictionary (Collins Cobuild dictionaries) (Paperback)
The Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's English Dictionary (4th edition) is the latest dictionary for learners from HarperCollins Publishers. The name COBUILD stands for "Collins Birmingham University International Language Database". It means that the dictionary is based on a "corpus" - a collection of British and American newspapers, books, TV programs, real-life conversations, etc.
Probably the most interesting thing about the Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's English Dictionary are its definitions. They are full sentences, not phrases. For example: 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 you a lot of information. It shows that fruition is usually used in the phrase "come to fruition". The definitions in the CCED do not simply tell you what a word means, they tell you how to use it - in what phrases, in what grammar structures, in what context. At the same time, you can understand them easily. The definitions are also very "natural". They are sentences that could be said by any native speaker of English. The Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's English Dictionary has at least one example sentence for almost every meaning of every word. The number of examples per definition is about the same as in other modern dictionaries for learners. the example sentences in the CCED show how a word is really used by speakers of English. They are not invented by an editor; they are natural. Just like the definitions, the examples focus on the most important phrases, grammar structures, contexts, etc. which contain the word.
Phonetic transcriptions in the CCED are based on A.C. Gimson's phonemic system, which uses symbols of the IPA to represent English phonemes. Gimson's system was first used in 1967 in the English Pronouncing Dictionary, and is now used by most dictionary publishers. The dictionary tries to represent both British and American English with one transcription. The transcriptions use mostly British phoneme symbols and the dictionary gives rules for "converting" these symbols into American sounds.
The dictionary gives information on word frequency. The most frequently used English words are labeled with 1 to 3 "diamonds" ( to ). These are words which occur most frequently in the COBUILD corpus. Grammatical information - for example, whether a noun is countable or uncountable - is given in a separate column. It is not mixed with the definition, as in most dictionaries. Because of this, the definitions are easier to read. The CCED has a 30-page "Access to English" section which provides useful example sentences and phrases that you can "steal" when writing essays, giving presentations, telephoning, writing business correspondence, and applying for a job (there is a chapter for each of these activities). Reading such sentences is a great way to build your English writing/speaking skills in a short time. Many uses of words need more than a statement of meaning to be properly explained. People used words to do many thing: to make invitations, to express their feelings, to emphasize what they are saying, and so on. This corpus gives us evidence for such uses that are difficult to get from any other source, because we only notice them when we see many examples of them gathered together. The study and description of the way in which people use language to do things is called pragmatics. This aspect of language is very important, and easy to miss. This is where the language is giving added meaning. COBUILD has always had a lot of information on pragmatics in its pages, but in this new edition compilers frequency use a 'pragmatic' sign in the extra column.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Dictionary for Idioms, 26 Aug 2002
Of all dictionaries that I have used, this is one of the best for finding all those idioms and what they mean from a normal idiom dictionary.
This dictionary has never failed me yet on clearing the meanings of idioms, it is like a bible to me.
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Collins Cobuild - Learner's Dictionary (Collins Cobuild dictionaries)
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