Bantam New College Dictionaries
If you're a language lover (and if you're reading this, you most likely are), then you no doubt have a few language dictionaries. It is also almost as certain that you have a favourite brand of dictionary, the one that you feel is the most helpful, easiest to use, and maybe even the least expensive. For me, such a dictionary type is the "Bantam New College".
One of the first language dictionaries that I bought was a Bantam New College Italian & English one. Now it's worn from endless usage. It's edges are curling, the cover has little tears, the binding is cracked in several places, and the page edges have turned from a nice shade of brown to a light shade of black from endless thumbing as I tried to find the words I wanted. I've had it for at least 14 years, and it is still the best of my collection. I have since bought the same brand for Spanish, German, and French.
So, what makes them so special? First, they are bi-directional. That means, you can look up the words in English or in the other language, for example, Italian. Many dictionaries are like this, I know, but some aren't, and it's hard to know which is the case until you actually open it.
Second, the layout is very nice. Each entry has the word in bold, the part of speech and gender in italics, and the plural forms, when available, are shown in parentheses. For IPA lovers, the pronunciations are given in brackets using IPA standards. In some entries, examples of how a word is used in a sentence is given, or samples of idioms which the word is part of are listed (which is a great help when you are translating a larger piece of text).
Now, I know you are probably thinking that this should be normal for all dictionaries. I would say it's normal for good dictionaries, but I have a few dictionaries which aren't so complete.
The most endearing quality of these dictionaries is their depth of information regarding pronunciation, grammar, and verbs. Each one has a detailed guide to pronouncing the letters, as well as diphthongs. There are also grammatical tables displaying articles, pronouns, objects, and other basic rules. Lastly, there are conjugation tables, which lay down the rules for regular verbs and their tenses. Following that, there are listings of irregular verbs, which are also referred to from the word entries themselves. Once again, this is a great help to someone that is trying to translate a text, and has come across a verb form which they don't know. They don't need to have a separate book with grammar and verb forms to keep swapping into.
The Bantam New College dictionaries are self described as "The Best Low-Priced Dictionary You Can Own", and considering the wealth of knowledge that is packed into these small dictionaries for a mere $6 USD, I would definitely have to agree with them.
The International Dictionary - The Words You Need in 21 Languages
I have several multiple-language books, which contain words or phrases for more than two languages. These types of books are very good for looking at the similarities between languages, since you can select a single word and see it translated into multiple languages. This particular book has entries for English (which is the way the words are ordered by), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, and Ukrainian.
The downside of this type of book is the amount of data it can contain. If you pick up any normal dual-language dictionary, it is often composed of two different sections, each being organized according to one of the languages. These dictionaries are also thick due the extensive coverage. Now, in order to include listings for several other languages, such a dictionary must either be several times thicker or contain far fewer words. The International Dictionary reduces the number of words that a normal dictionary might contain (over 30 thousand) to a mere 1200.
The major part of the book contains numbered entries consisting of an English word, then a list of 20 languages with their version of the word and an abbreviation in italics for the word gender (if any). Most of the listings only give one word for the language, so don't expect to use this as a translating dictionary. It is for covering the basics only.
Each language then has its own listings, with words referring back to the number of the English word they correspond with. In this manner, you can cross reference from one language into another. For example, looking up the Finnish word "vesi" will give me the number 1080. In the English section, I look up word 1080, see that it means "water" in English, then look down the list to learn it's meaning in Turkish ("su").
The front of the book also includes a very basic pronunciation guide for each language, with the sounds being compared to English words. The listings also contain a very small section for some expressions, like "Good day," "What is this?," and the always grammatical "I look for a room."
I wish I knew the criteria that were used to decide what words were needed. Some of the words I can barely imagine using at any time in a conversation. While words like "man," "dog," and "bread" are obviously rather useful, would one need to know how to translate "tortoise," "mandolin" or "red currant"?
In general, I like the book, because it is fun to look at the words in direct comparison with other translations. However, I would not recommend this book for anyone that is trying to do translation work, or trying to learn a particular language; dual dictionaries are far better for that. I feel this book was written more for the neato effect: you pick it up, glance at it, say neato, then put it back on the shelf. You might spend some time amusing yourself looking at the differences between words for "dog" (yes… I did this), but it's not a book I would recommend for the serious student. I would rate it 2/5.
All images are Copyright - CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Share Alike) by their respective owners, except for Petey, which is Public Domain (PD) or unless otherwise noted.
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|5 Funny Words In Afrikaans From My Perspective|
|At the Cinema - Everybody's Famous!|
|Word on the Streets - Why Writers are Important|
|Words in Your Mouth - Milk|
|Where Are You?|
Find previous issues in the archives.
Letter From The Editor - No Politics • Make Your Own Language Group • A History of Research in Study Abroad • Parrot Time on Patreon • Languages in Peril - Sayonara, Ainu • At the Cinema - La Coppia dei Campioni • Where Are You? • Book Look - The Bible of the Language Learners and Polyglots • Basic Guide to Romanian • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - Hope and Failing • Six Ways To Choose Which Languages To Learn • Learning Spanish - The trials, the tribulations and one triumphant learning hack • At the Cinema - The Last King (Birkebeinerne) • Celebrations - Birkebeinerrennet • Where Are You? • Book Look - Langenscheidt Dictionaries • Basic Guide to Swedish • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - Culture and Language, Again • Learning A Language Is Learning Its Culture • Revisited - Early Bardic Literature in Ireland • Languages in Peril - Save Medan Hokkien! • In Others' Words - Ulrike and Peter Rettig • At the Cinema - Monster Hunt • Where Are You? • Book Look - Language Alter Ego • Basic Guide to Italian • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - A Kind Word • Language and Power: The Hidden Struggle • 4 Ways To Learn Through Reading • Language Learning is for everyone! • Languages in Peril - The Decline of Sicilian • At the Cinema - The Host • Where Are You? • Book Look - Italian Short Stories for Beginners • Basic Guide to Hungarian • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - Making it Happen • Motivation - Expressing oneself and the expression of oneself in language learning • Motivation Killers in Learning a Language • Mixing Languages and Relationships • In Others' Words - Brian Powers • At the Cinema - Cutting Room Floor • Languages in Peril - Cyprus' Language Revival Approach Problem • Where Are You? • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - The Importance of Travel • Broadening The Mind Travels The World • The Secret Life of Diacritics • There Are No Wrong And Right Gestures, Only Cultural Differences • Google Translate Exposed: - The Truth Behind Everyone's Favorite Translator • At the Cinema - Queen • Book Look - The A to Z of Learning German • Where Are You? • Basic Guide to Papiamentu • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - Free Things • The Cost of Free Language Resources • Review of Polyglot Workshops: Brazil • Easier Way to Learn Languages Fast • Dream, decide, do - tips from a polyglot • At the Cinema - Cambio de Ruta • Languages in Peril - Talysh • Where Are You? • App Rev - Tandem • Book Look - Language Master Key • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - Studying in Summer • Polyglot Events All Around The World - You Are Not Alone • Playing Games with Language • Spanish E-training – The 'Big Bang' Investment • Can a Language Die? • At the Cinema - La Casa del Fin de los Tiempos • Languages in Peril - Scottish Gaelic • Words in Your Mouth - Apple • Celebrations - Nag Panchami • Where Are You? • Book Look - Fluency Made Achievable: The Fluent Guide to Core Language Skills • At A Glance
Letter From The Editor - Sounds Like • How Do You Say It? - A look at sound notation systems • Of Pidgins and Creoles - A look at how some languages are born • Who Are You To Learn A Language? • At the Cinema - Dil Chahta Hai • Languages in Peril - Yumans on the Edge • Words in Your Mouth - Egg • Where Are You? • Book Look
Letter From The Editor - Breaking with Tradition • Are You Wasting Your Money on Language Classes? • Chatting in Languages Online - Part 2: Voice Chats • Why English Is Different Than Any Other Language • The Digital Language Collective • At the Cinema - Viva La Libertà • Languages in Peril - The Tribes of the Tamil-Kannada • Words in Your Mouth - Rice • Where Are You? • Book Look
Letter From The Editor - Thirteen • Chatting in Languages Online - Part 1: Text Chats • Why Do People Learn Languages? • The Question Of Practice - An International Language Is Possible • At the Cinema - Chinese Puzzle • Celebrations - Fastelavn • Words in Your Mouth - Cheese • Where Are You? • Book Look
Letter From The Editor - Over Time • Which Language Is...? • The Ultimate Fate of Language Learning • 5 Funny Words In Afrikaans From My Perspective • At the Cinema - Everybody's Famous! • Word on the Streets - Why Writers are Important • Words in Your Mouth - Milk • Where Are You? • Book Look
Letter From The Editor - World Ambassadors • Coming Home to Faroese - The Why and How of Learning a Small Language • Danish and Faroese: A Biography • At the Cinema - Ludo • Basic Guide to Faroese • Celebrations - The Faroese Festival Summer • Revisted - The Faroe Islands • Word on the Streets - Famous Faroe Islanders • Where Are You? • The Grind: Why the Faroese Hunt Whales • The Legend of the Scottish Princess • Faroese Ballads - Nornagest Ríma and Ormurin Langi
Letter From The Editor - Expansion • Religion in Culture • Languages in Peril - Decline of the Gallo-Italics • Language Learning and Translation • Word on the Streets - Italian Greats • Book Look • At the Cinema - Xingu • Celebrations - Hangul Day • Where Are You? • Words in Your Mouth - Bread
Letter From The Editor - Tracing Words • Constructed Languages - Making It All Up • Language Conflicts - Flemish vs. Walloon • Rohonc Codex - Hungarian Enigma • At the Cinema - Il Comandante e la Cicogna - Garibaldi's Lovers • Where Are You? • Words in Your Mouth - Sausage • Book Look • GlobTech - Using Locale
Letter From The Editor - Globalization • Speaking with Aliens • Celebrations - Esala Perahera - The Festival of the Tooth • Language Conflicts - Bokmål vs. Nynorsk • At the Cinema - Pane e Tulipani - Bread and Tulips • Revisited - Words Which Have Changed Their Meaning • Languages in Peril - Keeping Up With The Kartvelians • Where Are You? • Sections - Reviews • Word on the Streets - Indonesian Innovators • GlobTech - Google Translate Section
Letter From The Editor - The Highlander Condition • When Languages Meet • At the Cinema - Mal Día Para Pescar - Bad Day to Go Fishing • Celebrations - Tanabata - The Star Festival • Languages in Peril - The Romanian Relatives • Revisited - Words Made By Great Writers • Where Are You? • Language Learning Methods - Immersion • Sections - Links
Letter From The Editor - Price of Fame • Liber Linteus - Mummified Language • Pencak Silat • At the Cinema - Bombay • Celebrations - Inti Raymi - Festival of the Sun • Cracking the Code • Languages in Peril - The Chibchan Family • Revisited - Words From The Names Of Animals • Word on the Streets - Great German Authors • Where Are You? • Language Learning Methods - Internet • Sections - Neighborhood
Letter From The Editor - Why Polynesian? • Rongorongo - Island Chants • Otto Dempwolff - Islands of Language • At the Cinema - Whale Rider • Celebrations - Pasifika Festival • Special Feature - Avoiuli • Languages in Peril - The Island Invasion • Revisited - Legends of Maui - Maui's Home • Word on the Streets - Malay Masters • Where Are You? • Revisited - Legends of Maui - Maui Snaring the Sun
Letter From The Editor - Linguist or Polyglot • The Phaistos Disc - Puzzle of Crete • Otto Jespersen - Progress of Language • At the Cinema - Kukushka - The Cuckoo • Celebrations - Carnival • Languages in Peril - The Salish Tragedy • Word on the Streets - Kannada Writers • Where Are You? • Revisited - Stories In The Names Of Places • New Souls • Language Learning Methods - Software • Sections - Parleremo YouTube
Letter From The Editor - Freaking Out • The Voynich Script - Cryptic Codex • Benjamin Whorf - Relativity of Language • At the Cinema - Lost in Translation • Languages in Peril - The Polish Connection • Word on the Streets - Romanian Poets • Where Are You? • Celebrations - Holi • A Language Dream • Revisited - Words From National Character • Language Learning Methods - Classes • Sections - Language Exchange
Letter From The Editor - Truth in Advertising • Linear A & Linear B - Lost Minoan • Edward Sapir - Patterns of Language • At the Cinema - Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner • Word on the Streets - Norwegian Notables • Where Are You? • Celebrations - Valentine's Day • Languages in Peril - The Rhaeto-Romance Trio • Revisited - Proverbs • Linguistics Love Song • Language Learning Methods - Books • Sections - Recordings
Letter From The Editor - A New Parrot Time • The Rosetta Stone - Triple Cypher • Ferdinand de Saussure - Signs of Language • At the Cinema - L'auberge Espagnole • Languages in Peril - The Finno-Ugrics • Word on the Streets - The Russian Zone • Where Are You? • Celebrations - Day of the Dead • Revisited - Slang • We Are The Linguists • Language Learning Methods - Audio • Sections - Journals
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