"Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary"

Ameer   Saturday, March 20, 2004, 21:27 GMT
What are your opinions guys about "Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary" the latest version with CD-Rom inside it? Is it really worth buying?
Tom   Saturday, March 20, 2004, 23:17 GMT
The dictionary is nothing special, which is why I chose not to review it. You'd be better off buying the Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's Dictionary or the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English. Those are the two best English dictionaries for learners.
Jarec   Saturday, March 20, 2004, 23:26 GMT
I bought that version with CD-Rom and it was worth it. I don't use the book much, but the PC Dictionary is great, it has both BE and AE pronunciation and sounds are not synthesised but recorded.
I have the paperback book and the main disadvantage is that it's edges curl up. But there is also hardback version.
Jarec   Sunday, March 21, 2004, 11:32 GMT
I have installed both Longman and Cambridge PC dictionaries.
Here is a quick comparison:

+ looks nice
+ more exercices (Dictation, Articles - not present in Cambridge)
+ lists synonyms of hundreds predefined words in "Activator function"
+ more example sentences
+ shows nice pictures next to some words like "pastry", makes me drool hehe
- it is slower than Cambridge (switching between Dictionary, Activator and Exercises is too slow)
- exercices are mostly not randomly generated
- flawed copy/paste function! It doesn't preserve font size/type/colour and pastes some mess into microsoft word 2000 (I don't have XP, so I can't tell if it works in it), so it's pretty useless.

+ displays all words in the dictionary (Longman can't display them all)
+ copy/paste works almost perfectly here, preserves font colour/size/type. Sometimes it is necessary to click on Copy button twice. I use this feature a lot.
+ output is well organised. When user searches for the word "use" (verb), it explains the meaning of the word "use" by giving definition and example sentences and when user scrolls down, there is "use" as noun, some phrases, "usable", "usage", "useful", "usefully" etc. Copy/paste copies not just the definion of the verb but also of the noun, adjective etc.
+ shows phonetic transcription next to the word, user can play the sound by clicking on small red/blue speaker representing BE/AE. So sounds can be played by single click instead of double click in Longman (unless auto play is on). Saves mouse clicks.
+ smart thesaurus - displays related words. You can also browse smart thesaurus where you can find words grouped in categories.
+ exercises are randomly generated
- only few exercises
- doesn't list synonyms, smart thesaurus can be used to find synonyms but user needs to filter out the wrong words.
- less example sentences than Longman

Longman has more functions and looks better, it's main disadvantage is flawed copy/paste. But besides this flaw, it's really good.
Cambridge is simpler, copy/paste works and the output of copy/paste is well organised.
I've been using Longman dictionary for just few hours so there might be some functions I might have overlooked.
Tom   Sunday, March 21, 2004, 15:16 GMT
Jarec -- thanks for your review!

I would add that the Longman has better transcriptions. The ones in the Cambridge are weird sometimes (esp. American transcriptions). The Longman probably also has more entries.

In your message it looks like the Cambridge has a lot of plusses, but they're actually quite minor. The Longman is better at the important stuff --good pronunciations and lots of example sentences.
Jarec   Sunday, March 21, 2004, 18:02 GMT
Yeah, Longman has problably more words.
Longman is definitely better for a beginner/intermediate learner because of its variety of functions. (Those stated + Phrase bank, Examples bank, Word origin - Cambridge lacks them) Its minus is that you don't see the IPA transcription next to the word but you have to click on that tiny speaker first. If you want to play the sound, you need to click again :( Problems with copy/paste are a big minus, but I hope they'll solve them in a later version.
Cambridge is good when you want to find a word quickly and don't need many example sentences to understand its meaning. I use Cambridge because I do lot of copying/pasting and because I got it earlier and I'm alredy used to it.
Cambridge has lot of plusses in my message because I've been using it for about 10 months while Longman for just few hours.
Tom   Sunday, March 21, 2004, 22:53 GMT
You sure you can't make LDOCE display transcriptions?
Ameer   Monday, March 22, 2004, 01:30 GMT
Can you give me please an example about what you think are strange transcriptions in the Cambridge Dictionary, and why do you think so? Is it wrong to follow those transcriptions? Or you just mean that it is rare transcriptions?
And if I cannot get the Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's Dictionary or the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English in my country can I depend on the Oxford Advanced learner's Dictionary (the latest version with CD) along with Cambridge in both transcriptions and meanings? Are those dictionaries will give me problems in my learning process sooner or later?
I need you advice urgently because I want to begin my first collection in supermemo and I don’t know what to do.
Thank you very very much and forgive me Tom!!!
Jarec   Monday, March 22, 2004, 10:19 GMT
I just made it display IPA transcriptions - settings->Show pronunciation. Now it's much more confortable to work with it :)
Jarec   Monday, March 22, 2004, 10:22 GMT