which dictionary is the best?

Discussions on tuition centres/enrichment services that specialise in English.

which dictionary is the best?

Postby karenmok » Fri Dec 05, 2014 12:42 am

In Kinokuniya, one is surrounded by dozens of dictionaries - Oxford, Cambridge, Chambers, Collins, Longman, Macmillan, and so on.

If I want to buy just 1 dictionary for DD (P6), which would that be? I want something that will last me for years and yet the kid will enjoy exploring.

Any suggestions, kiasu parents...

karenmok
BlueBelt
BlueBelt
 
Posts: 200
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:57 pm
Total Likes: 0


Re: which dictionary is the best?

Postby slmkhoo » Fri Dec 05, 2014 8:55 am

karenmok wrote:In Kinokuniya, one is surrounded by dozens of dictionaries - Oxford, Cambridge, Chambers, Collins, Longman, Macmillan, and so on.

If I want to buy just 1 dictionary for DD (P6), which would that be? I want something that will last me for years and yet the kid will enjoy exploring.

Any suggestions, kiasu parents...

I think your daughter may be ready for the "adult" level dictionaries now if she is a fairly advanced reader. At the minimum, something like an "Advanced Learners" dictionary would be appropriate. I have the Concise Oxford Dictionary which has stood me in good stead (I have replaced it at least once) since JC through BA and MA studies, so I feel it's a good all-purpose one that will be sufficient for a long time, but it may be a bit daunting for a sec 1 student. My kids use it too, but probably only began around sec 2. When I was younger, I used my parents' very old "Pocket" Oxford.

The main thing to look for is that it uses British spelling and grammar, and that it has at least around 50,000 entries/headwords. Anything less than that would probably not be sufficient past sec school. If you want simpler definitions, the "Learner" dictionaries usually make a point of using a limited vocabulary of 2500 to 300 words in the definitions. Other things like font, presentation etc. is mostly down to personal preference. I'm not familiar with other publishers as I've always used Oxford!

slmkhoo
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 8072
Joined: Wed Sep 15, 2010 2:16 pm
Total Likes: 173


Re: which dictionary is the best?

Postby Kate1 » Fri Dec 05, 2014 1:45 pm

I agree with slmkhoo--the publisher doesn't matter as much as the content. If you want a dictionary that will still be useful for your daughter for years and years, get a big, proper one for adults. If she's already in P6 she'll be able to make use of it without trouble.

You want at least 50 000 words. Each word should have a pronunciation guide using IPA (e.g. Interesting ˈɪnt(ə)rɪstɪŋ), grammar (e.g. whether it is an adjective, noun, etc.), and the definition, obviously. Really good dictionaries will have, at the back, a list of common English names (both first names and surnames), standard place names, common abbreviations, and sometimes guides for things like essay writing.

Not all of these features will be immediately useful to your daughter, of course, but if you want the dictionary to have the best chance of still being used several years in the future, they'll maximise the possibility.

I would shy away from those small dictionaries with big text written especially for younger children. They are fine for a year or so, but quickly become useless when the child's vocabulary and understanding of English grows. A long-tern dictionary needs to be at an adult level with as many features as possible.

I have the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (bought from Popular or Kinokunia--I forgot where, but it's pretty widely available), which has pronunciation guides for both American and British English, all those features I mentioned in the back plus many, many others (a writing tutor for CVs, emails, reports, etc., a vocabulary builder, etc.), example sentences for most words, and over 180 000 words in total. I would strongly suggest looking at getting this one. I know I'll never need another dictionary.

Kate1
YellowBelt
YellowBelt
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2014 8:14 am
Total Likes: 0


Re: which dictionary is the best?

Postby Imami » Fri Dec 05, 2014 5:51 pm

Is there any "harm" using a more advanced dictionary?

My son is young, going primary one next year. Have been looking for a suitable dictionary for lower primary kids for a while and in the mean time, he was using my advanced learner's dictionary.

My observation: for the first time, he got a shock, not knowing what to make out of those tiny fonts and lines after lines of information. I needed to explain the various terms, acronyms, symbols etc. I also needed to prompt him and guide him on how to find the word he was looking for.

After a few tries, he got the idea and figured things on his own.

He is getting quicker and better (at picking the right definition for those words with multiple meanings/usage). Should I let it be (ie continue to use my dictionary) or should I still look for one suitable for lower primary?

Imami
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 10839
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:04 pm
Total Likes: 36


Re: which dictionary is the best?

Postby manifits » Fri Dec 05, 2014 6:36 pm

slmkhoo wrote:
karenmok wrote:In Kinokuniya, one is surrounded by dozens of dictionaries - Oxford, Cambridge, Chambers, Collins, Longman, Macmillan, and so on.

If I want to buy just 1 dictionary for DD (P6), which would that be? I want something that will last me for years and yet the kid will enjoy exploring.

Any suggestions, kiasu parents...

I think your daughter may be ready for the "adult" level dictionaries now if she is a fairly advanced reader. At the minimum, something like an "Advanced Learners" dictionary would be appropriate. I have the Concise Oxford Dictionary which has stood me in good stead (I have replaced it at least once) since JC through BA and MA studies, so I feel it's a good all-purpose one that will be sufficient for a long time, but it may be a bit daunting for a sec 1 student. My kids use it too, but probably only began around sec 2. When I was younger, I used my parents' very old "Pocket" Oxford.

The main thing to look for is that it uses British spelling and grammar, and that it has at least around 50,000 entries/headwords. Anything less than that would probably not be sufficient past sec school. If you want simpler definitions, the "Learner" dictionaries usually make a point of using a limited vocabulary of 2500 to 300 words in the definitions. Other things like font, presentation etc. is mostly down to personal preference. I'm not familiar with other publishers as I've always used Oxford!

My DD school encourage them to use the Longman Dictionary :rahrah:

manifits
BlueBelt
BlueBelt
 
Posts: 205
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2014 2:08 pm
Total Likes: 0



Re: which dictionary is the best?

Postby slmkhoo » Sat Dec 06, 2014 9:54 am

Imami wrote:Is there any "harm" using a more advanced dictionary?

I don't think there is any harm except that some kids will be so turned off that they will stop trying. If your son is able to cope and willing to use it, then you probably don't need to get a simpler one. I grew up using a fairly complex (and tiny print) Oxford dictionary as it was the only one in the house. I think it dated back to my parents' university days!

slmkhoo
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 8072
Joined: Wed Sep 15, 2010 2:16 pm
Total Likes: 173


Re: which dictionary is the best?

Postby Imami » Sat Dec 06, 2014 9:59 am

slmkhoo wrote:
Imami wrote:Is there any "harm" using a more advanced dictionary?

I don't think there is any harm except that some kids will be so turned off that they will stop trying. If your son is able to cope and willing to use it, then you probably don't need to get a simpler one. I grew up using a fairly complex (and tiny print) Oxford dictionary as it was the only one in the house. I think it dated back to my parents' university days!

Ok, I will let him be. Anyway. My dictionary is underutilized. Might as well share with him. In any case, using my dictionary sort of gives it a "status". Knowing that it's "mummy's dictionary" seems to make my son accord more respect to the oxford :laugh:

Thanks slmkhoo!

Imami
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 10839
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:04 pm
Total Likes: 36



Return to English