4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2001
There was a time when I wasn't very impressed by the Oxford Picture Dictionary, especially compared to the WORD BY WORD Picture Dictionary. As an English teacher I used to get free copies of it, but I'd actually go out and buy other versions because it wasn't as topical as Word By Word. Suddenly however, they seem to have caught on. My students LOVE this latest version (which has a black not blue cover and is much thicker.) In smaller less structured classes, I'll actually let them pick out chapters then base the grammar lesson I was going to teach on that theme and topic, that way insuring personal relevence. It also helps keep the classes in English... dictionaries can be valuable tools, but often they keep students from communicating with each other - - they sort of burry their heads in the dictionaries and the safety of their own langauge, but with the latest version of the Oxford Picture Dictionary, I'll find students of different nationalities hudling over the book, trying to get the point across. The pictures serve as a universal langauge that induces communication across cultures.
For this reason, I have to rank the latest version of the OPD as one of the greatest learning sources as an English teacher I've ever encountered. Its popular among the students, activity friendly and you can transfer the lesson objectives over from almost any book to meet the needs of your students.
As a word of advice, be sure to get the MONOLINGUAL version regardless of where you're teaching. This is a PICTURE dictionary. Have your student's native language in the book sabotages the purpose of getting them to think in English !
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2001
The Oxford Picture Dictionary is one of the best books I have ever seen. The authors classify their book to be based on beginning and lower intermediate level English. If you have studied English as a foreign language for several years, and put a mentionable number of words and verbs in your vocabulary in the fields that are related with your job and hobbies, you might at first think that this book will be too easy for you. However, I believe this is not the real case.
Imagine yourself in a hairdresser in America. How would you describe the way you want your hair to be cut or arranged. Or suppose you need to stay in America for sometime and you have some household problems, for example the roof is leaking, or the wall is cracked, or the faucet is dripping... How will you describe the problem on the phone to the related companies? You will find the way in the corresponding topics.
Some of the topics might be really very easy. But they just collect the related nouns and verbs together and give you a good chance to refresh your mind by seeing them all together. Especially the verbs, for each topic, are generally organised in a very logical manner and they describe most actions you might need to take in such a situation. Do this, and that, and then those...
As the easiest example, of which we are all familiar, I will give the topic 'A classrom'. On a very nice colorful picture which illustrates everything exeptionally well, you will see a number of 'numbers', which number the nouns, and below the picture you will see the corresponding names including: chalkboard, screen, student, overhead projector, teacher, desk, chair/seat, bookcase, globe, clock, cassette player, map, pencil sharpener, bulletin board, computer, chalk, pen, marker, pencil, textbook, workbook, binder/notebook, ruler, dictionary. On other pictures you will find the illustration of a list of verbs which are 'lettered' instead of numbered. And the corresponding explanations, with the verb in bold typeface, raise your hand, talk to the teacher, listen to a cassette, stand up, sit down/take a seat, point to the picture, write on the board, erase the board, open your book, close your book, take out your pencil, put away your pencil. This is only topic one, and there are 139 more topics.
Another topic which is about shoes and accessories, lists a number of words that might sound less familiar to a foreigner, for example sole, pumps, loafers, oxfords. But a picture is worth a thousand words! Now, I know what they mean.
Yet another topic, 'Symptoms and Injuries', besides many words which I already knew, like headache, toothache, etc, contains some others that I heard for the first time. For example: chills, bruise, blister. The related verbs were the things I learned once, but since I have not used them at all, I just forgot. I had the chance to see them all together and refresh my mind very easily. I can not find any words to explain how much I like the graphical illustrations in this book!
In my opinion, in this dictionary each picture has just enough number of items to be explained. If much more details are tried to be given, you might easily be overwhelmed. As an example I can give The Oxford-Duden Pictorial English Dictionary, which I bought some time ago, and which now I completely regret. It might be suitable for an extra-advanced native English speaker, I don't know. But I know quite well that it is not for an intermediate speaker for whom English is a foreign language. It contains many words which I don't know even in my native language and I don't think I will ever need to learn them.
As a conclusion, after these very long comments, I can say in short, "If you were searching for a very nice pictorial dictionary, you have already found one, just buy it and you will not regret. If somehow you find it very easy for yourself, or if you finish it in a very short time, give it to your children or your friends' children. They will 'enjoy' learning English with this book..."
As a last comment, this is a monolingual edition, so it is completely in English. If you are interested with other foreign languages, like Spanish, Polish, Chinese, etc, this series has bilingual editions, too. Therefore, I don't think it will be necessary to buy this monolingual edition, if you will buy one of those bilingual editions, which as far as I understand contain and teach both the corresponding language and English... Besides, the prices are very close to each other. So, think twice...
Even though I give this advice, I, myself, have already bought the monolingual edition and now, having realized the presence of the bilingual editions 'a little bit' late, am thinking about buying the Polish edition also. After buying it I will see if it really teaches English also, or what... You might find the answer to this question in my future comments for that book...
Aren't there any drawbacks of this book? Well, until now I could not find anything very important. Just as a small note I can mention the mistake on page 144, where item number one was called as CPU even though it is the computer case, not the CPU. The inside of the case is not seen in the picture and a CPU is for sure only one of the components inside a case. However I guess just one mistake in some thousands of words is not that important...