Longman language activator

Longman language activator

REVIEWS 253 computer screen, are they perhaps cyberspace objects or even pure imagination on the part of the writing subject just to stimulate his o...

186KB Sizes 356 Downloads 4800 Views

REVIEWS

253

computer screen, are they perhaps cyberspace objects or even pure imagination on the part of the writing subject just to stimulate his own creativity? A teacher should know this before he/she starts to work with such objects. Tonfoni's approach seems to belong to some kind of fringe methodology. Like for all these methodologies, two conditions have to be met for their successful application: Learners must join in with the game and give free play to their creativity, and the teacher must be a charismatic person able to fill his/her students with enthusiasm. Graziella Tonfoni seems to be such a person who has managed even to impress Marvin Minsky from MIT, who has written a brilliant foreword for her. In my opinion it is the best part of the book. Acknowledgement--I wish to thank Juliane House for revising my English.

REFERENCES HAYES, J. R. and FLOWER, L. A. (1980) Identifying the organization of writing processes. In Gregg, W. L. and Steinberg, E. R. (eds) Cognitive Processes in Writing. Hillsdale: N.J., Earlbaum, pp. 3-30. KRINGS, H. P. (1992) Empirische Untersuchungen xu fremdsprachlichen Schreibprozessen. Ein Forschungstiberblick. In BOrner, W. and Vogel, K. (eds) Schreiben in der Fremdsprache. Prozel3und Text, Lehren und Lernen. Bochum: AKS-Verlag, pp. 47-77. KROLL, B. (ed.) (1990) Second Language Writing. Research Insights for the Classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. WILLIAMS, N. and HOLT, P. (eds) (1989) Computers and Writing. Models and Tools, Oxford: BSP. Wolfgang BOmer University of Hamburg Zentrales Fremdsprachen-Institut Von-Melle-Park 5 D-20146 Hamburg Federal Republic of Germany

System, Vol. 23, No. 2, pp. 253-255, 1995 Elsevier Science Ltd Printed in Great Britain

SUMMERS, DELLA (ed. dir.) (1993/19942). Longman Language Activator. Harlow: Longman, 1587 pp. This innovative dictionary of English was compiled by a large editorial staff from the Longman Group, aided by outside readers and advisors. The project was directed by Della Summers. This dictionary groups words and phrases that are related in meaning. These items, defined and illustrated by examples, are grouped in 1052 "concepts" or "Key Words", listed on pages B l - B 4 of the Appendix. For example, indictment is given under the Key Word accuse; be up and about is given under better/recovered; run rings around is given under better; lay it on the line is given under clear/easy to understand, etc. The Activator is similar to a thesaurus in that it groups words and phrases by ideas.

254

REVIEWS

The structure of the dictionary is complex. An "Alphabetical Word List" runs throughout the Activator. The words belonging to the List are highlighted by a gray line at the left margin of the

page. This List consists of words and phrases treated under the Key Words. Interspersed in the List are Access Maps designed to help the reader decide which Key Word should be consulted. For example, the Access Map at careless asks which meaning?, then lists as the first possible meaning "careless" and refers to the Key Word careless. The second possible meaning given is "doing things that are not sensible," which refers the reader to the Key Word stupid~not sensible. The third possible meaning given is "not thinking before doing something", which refers the reader to the Key Word, think about. The Key Word entry (indicated by a solid, gray circle) begins with a Meaning Menu, listing the major senses of the Key Word. Thus, for the Key Word careless we find first a general definition "not doing things properly or safely and therefore making mistakes or causing danger". Then the Meaning Menu lists by number the various senses of the Key Word. In the Meaning Menu for careless we find: (1) paying too little attention to what you are doing, so that you make mistakes and do things badly (2) taking too little care in situations that involve danger or risk, so that accidents happen (3) done or made in a careless way, etc. After the listing of the various senses of the Key Word, the dictionary proceeds to provide Numbered sections, each of which is devoted to a sense of the Key Word. For meaning (1) of the Meaning Menu given above we find in Numbered section (1) a repetition of the sense listed in the Meaning Menu and then the Menu of words and phrases. This Menu lists closely related words or phrases: "careless, not take care, negligent, slack, lax, remiss". After the Menu of words and phrases comes the part of the Activator that resembles an ordinary, monolingual dictionary. These words and phrases are defined and illustrated. First, careless, then not take care, then negligent, etc. Each of the words and phrases is supplied with a phonetic transcription (reflecting Received Pronounciation, RP), grammatical information, and illustrative examples, often including collocations. The Activator is to be welcomed by teachers and advanced learners of English and by lexicographers.

It provides a storehouse of information for advanced learners of English who must encode their ideas. The Activator has been prepared carefully by capable lexicographers. The definitions have been written precisely, in clear language. Stylistic notes are given consistently. Adequate examples of usage and grammatical information are provided in each entry. The Activator can be a powerful tool in the hands of serious students who wish to achieve advanced active proficiency in English. Several critical remarks are offered here in the hope that they may be helpful for the next edition. First, the treatment of varietal differences should be checked. In most instances, British and American words and phrases are identified properly. Examples are apartment, what's up and a collect call, marked as American English;fiat, set somebody a test and be the right way round, marked as British English. However, some mistakes have crept in. In a few instances, British English items are not identified as such: chat up, keen to do something, take exercise, be off("leave") be on ("to be happening"),

REVIEWS

255

etc. In other instances, the dictionary indicates that items are characteristic of British English when in fact they are Common English: lodge a complaint, reverse the charges, undergraduate, etc. The definition of professor in its American setting (page 1379) is misleading and incorrect. The definition reads: " . . . in the United States, any university teacher who has a second degree". But, what about the American terminology for teaching ranks at colleges and universities such as instructor, lecturer, assistant professor, associate professor, full professor, etc.? These terms demonstrate the inadequacy of the definition in the Activator. Second, although many collocations are given, important ones are not provided. The Activator gives a bitter controversy, a gross exaggeration, a leading question, but not innate ability, an outstanding achievement, a heated controversy, etc. The Activator gives draw a parallel and commit perjury, but not draw a conclusion and perform an act, etc. Lastly, the structure of the Activator is intricate. We have seen that the dictionary includes an Alphabetical Word List, Access Maps, Key Words, Meaning Menus, Numbered sections, Menus of words and phrases, and lastly, defined words and phrases that look like parts of an ordinary monolingual dictionary. Many users will find it difficult to work with such a complicated structure. The placing of multiword phrases in the Alphabetical Word List is not made clear in the Introduction and is at times impossible to comprehend. For example, not now is listed under now, but not sure is listed under not. Make a bee line for is listed under make, but make your mouth water is listed under mouth. Man~woman of few words is listed under words, but man~woman in the street is listed under man, etc. These remarks do not change the overall conclusion that the Activator is a valuable addition to our stock of specialized dictionaries of English. Serious readers will somehow cope with the complex structure and will find much excellent material. The appearance of the Activator is to be greeted with pleasure. Morton Benson Department of Slavic Languages University of Pennsylvania Williams Hall Philadelphia, PA 19104 USA

System, Vol. 23, No. 2, pp. 255-260, 1995 Elsevier Science Ltd Printed in Great Britain

DOYt~, PETER, ed., Groflbritannien. Seine Darstellung in deutschen Schulbtichem ftir den Englischunterricht. Frankfurt: Diesterweg, 1991. 248 pp. (Studien zur Internationalen Schulbuchforschung, Schriftenreihe des Georg-Eckert-Instituts, Band 72)...