American English learner's dictionary: which one?

Achab   Friday, April 30, 2004, 23:26 GMT

I would like to know what is my best choice for an American English learner’s dictionary.

I read that Collins COBUILD is probably the best dictionary around, but is it not mostly British English-focused? Which kind of English is it oriented to?

I think that, as an ESL learner who chose to stick to American English, I must pick up an all American dictionary. Could Longman Dictionary of American English fit for me? Other suggestions?

Let me also express my compliments to the two editors of this website. It is extremely content-rich.

M   Saturday, May 01, 2004, 05:16 GMT
Try Longman Advanced American Dictionary. It's an American version of Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.
Tom   Saturday, May 01, 2004, 10:29 GMT
I'd go with the COBUILD. It gives separate American and British transcriptions whenever the two pronunciations are different. I'd also get a Random House Webster or use as a supplement.

Consider getting the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English instead of the COBUILD, especially if you plan on getting a software dictionary. Longman's dictionaries have become really nice in the past few years.


Achab   Saturday, May 01, 2004, 16:17 GMT
Hello M and Tom, thank you for your answers.

M, why did you suggest to me the advanced Longman instead of the standard one?

Tom, are you sure the COBUILD suits me? I am a learner of American English and I think that my dictionary should be American English-focused not only in the pronunciation notes, but also in prose and examples, and to the best of my knowledge COBUILD is more British on that. At least this is what they told me, correct me if I am wrong. The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English is about British spoken English, so it doesn’t suit me.

I was thinking to buy the Longman Dictionary of American English both in paper and in CD-ROM (they sell the paper version with the CD-ROM attached).
Tom   Monday, May 03, 2004, 13:10 GMT
Actually, the COBUILD has examples from both British and American English. In most cases the origin of the example doesn't matter, as British and American English use very similar vocabulary. If you want to speak natural American English, you'll have to get real-life input anyway.

Why don't you take a look at both dictionaries and see which one you like better? With the COBUILD, you'll get nicer, friendlier explanations. Longman's dictionaries, in turn, tend to give slightly more accurate pronunciations.
Achab   Wednesday, May 05, 2004, 18:31 GMT
I went to the library to take a look. The Longman Dictionary of American English is too basic for me I think. I guess I will buy the Longman Advanced American Dictionary with its CD-Rom version attached.

COBUILD seemed wonderful, but I want a strictly American English work.

The thing I disliked in Longman Advanced American Dictionary is the encyclopedic entries. I don't need them in a dictionary, I can buy an encyclopedia for that. I don't think the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English has those encyclopedia stuff.