I would like to talk about the culture dictionary, more specifically about the Oxford Guide to British and American Culture. The importance of such dictionaries became unquestionable when the culturological approach to the study of languages appeared. This approach means the unity of the language and culture. To acquire a language, a person should have the knowledge of special features of communication, behavior, people’s mind, habits, values, traditions in the country which language he/she learns. Surely, the history and specific features of the particular country are embodied in its language. A language is a part of a culture.
So the more you know culture of a particular country, the more you understand its language. In the most of dictionaries you can find cultural information and culture words. For example, “Whitehall” and “fly-fishing” in the Macmillan Dictionary and Thesaurus online, “Big Ben” in the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English online. Картинки картинки….. But if we compare these words with the same words in the Oxford Guide to British and American Culture, we will see that the second dictionary gives us more information and explanations about particular words and even gives us a lot of illustrations.
So I would like to talk about this dictionary. It is published by the Oxford university press. This is the most up-to-date Guide to British and American culture that gives us an insight into what’s important in both countries today, what’s popular, and what people feel strongly about. It’s written for learners of English, in language that’s easy to understand. This Guide includes 10 000 entries of such areas as history, monuments, legends, festivals, music, food, shopping, literature and so on. It also includes special entries with extra vocabulary on topics such as advertising, football, beer and soap operas.
This vocabulary is highlighted in dark type. So let’s look at entries of this dictionary and find out what information we can find there. Entry words or phrases are in dark type. Almost Each entry has grammar information. ( a part of speech, if it is a noun (countable or uncountable, plural or single, if it is a verb, transitive or intransitive), information about the usage of this word or phrase. Many words have the derivatives section which is marked by the special symbol. Many words have a transcription and in some entries we can see both British and American pronunciation. And we can see the information bout a stress.
Many words have subject, regional or stylistic labels. If we look at some entries we can see the number in round brackets. It indicates what sense this meaning refers to. For example, the word Manhattan in this entry has the number one. It means that this word is given in the first sense. Many entries have words that are marked by the special symbol ( a star). It indicates an item with its own entry. In this dictionary there are special notes that can help to find out not only the meaning of a particular word but also offer the vocabulary on this topic. The vocabulary is highlighted in dark type.
Above some head words we can see numbers. They distinguish separate entries for people, places, etc with the same name. In entries that give the information about people we can see numbers in round brackets that indicate birth and death dates or birth of a living person. In this dictionary there are a lot of “dummy” entries referring to main entries elsewhere. It can help to find a particular word if you know only its abbreviation. Also the entry gives information about an abbreviation. In some entries there are variants of head words (entry words) and explanations of uncommon words used in entry.
There are a lot of examples of their usage in italic type. Many words have many senses. So in entries we can see separate numbered parts. In entries there are cross-references to contrasted entries and related entries. Also this dictionary is very good because it has a lot of illustrations and well-known quotations associated with a character or a person and extracts of famous poems. In this Guide there are boxes with additional information. In entries we can see cultural connotations. Inside front cover we can find information about abbreviations, symbols and labels used in the Guide.
Inside back cover there is information about pronunciation and phonetic symbols. In this Guide there are colour pages on history and institutions of Britain and the USA (Maps, history, political parties, education, the Legal System and so on) Using this Guide you can get ideas of what to read. You can choose from lists of books that won the Booker and other prizes plus suggestions for further reading. In conclusion, Id like to say that the Oxford Guide to British and American Culture is a great choice for people who want to find out as much as possible about the culture of Great Britain and the USA without visiting these countries.
Courtney from Study Moose
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