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What Spanish dictionary for UK English-speakers?   You are logged in as Guest
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Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1762
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

What Spanish dictionary for UK Engli... 

My trusty old Cassells dictionary was published in 1978 and I figure I need a new one. However, a quick perusal of Amazon indicates that the Cassells hasn’t been updated in decades.

I considered the Oxford, but apparently it’s aimed (rather strangely for a UK publication, I thought) at speakers of US English: for instance, if you look up mouldy, it’s not there; you have to look under moldy.

So now I’m looking at the Collins, which was updated in 2011. Apparently the Kindle version sucks, but I’ll be getting the hardback.

Has anyone any opinion on this dictionary, or any other recommendation?

I should say that this is for reading books at home, not for taking on holiday; so thoroughness is the criterion, not weight.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 5 2013 17:00:13
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3218
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: What Spanish dictionary for UK E... (in reply to Paul Magnussen

After a period of several decades using two or three different weighty tomes, I have gone over almost completely to the website www.spanishdict.com. It puts up definitions from as many as three different dictionaries, and it translates phrases from Spanish to English. I haven't tried more extended passages.

I learned Spanish as a child, and have spent much of my life in areas where Spanish is either the most used language, or the second most used, so more often than not I don't need to refer to a dictionary--for example, I don't remember looking up stuff more than a time or two wading through the lengthy Spanish biography of Segovia by Alberto Lopez Poveda. On the other hand, I bogged down frequently in the prize winning "Viaje a la Alcarria" by Camilo Jose Cela when I tackled it years ago, but my impression was that Cela was consciously being "artistic", and flaunting his extensive vocabulary a bit.

I tried www.spanishdict.com with "mouldy" and "colour" and it worked OK, but I can't testify to comprehensive UK coverage.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 5 2013 19:46:12

C. Vega

 

Posts: 379
Joined: Jan. 16 2004
 

RE: What Spanish dictionary for UK E... (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

On the other hand, I bogged down frequently in the prize winning "Viaje a la Alcarria" by Camilo Jose Cela when I tackled it years ago, but my impression was that Cela was consciously being "artistic", and flaunting his extensive vocabulary a bit.




There are some people here who seem to like doing that as well.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2013 1:54:37
 
Morante

 

Posts: 1904
Joined: Nov. 21 2010
 

RE: What Spanish dictionary for UK E... (in reply to Paul Magnussen

quote:

I considered the Oxford, but apparently it’s aimed (rather strangely for a UK publication, I thought) at speakers of US English: for instance, if you look up mouldy, it’s not there; you have to look under moldy.


Strange: my Oxford is 6th edition, 2000 and gives both American and English versions.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2013 8:37:36
 
NormanKliman

Posts: 1143
Joined: Sep. 1 2007
 

RE: What Spanish dictionary for UK E... (in reply to Paul Magnussen

I haven't seen newer editions, but my impression about 10 years ago was that the Oxford dictionary was much better than that of Collins. As a means of gauging quality, you might want to look for some of the more obscure false cognates (condescending/condescendiente, for example). In any case, I've yet to see a flawless bilingual dictionary. The best strategy is to work with two monolingual dictionaries and come up with your own translation.

For Spanish, I suggest the two-volume "Diccionario del español actual," commonly known as the "Seco" in reference to editor Manuel Seco. Another one known as the "María Moliner" is a long-standing alternative to the dictionary of the RAE. As Lionel has pointed out, there's an online version of the RAE dictionary here: http://www.rae.es/rae.html. I use it on a daily basis, along with the Cambridge online dictionary (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/). In hardcover, there's also an interesting "Diccionario panhispánico de dudas," published or endorsed by the RAE, that not only includes regional variations but thoroughly clarifes common doubts (aun/aún, porque/porqué/por que/por qué, correct use of "le" and "lo," etc.)

You probably already know this, but, if it's to be used at home, as you've indicated, don't even waste your time with paperback and similarly slimmer editions.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2013 9:54:32
 
frhout

 

Posts: 451
Joined: Apr. 28 2005
From: France

RE: What Spanish dictionary for UK E... (in reply to Paul Magnussen

I have the Collins Spanish Dictionary Eighth Edition published in 2005. It's served me fine.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2013 16:33:49
 
rogeliocan

Posts: 811
Joined: Nov. 23 2009
From: Canada

RE: What Spanish dictionary for UK E... (in reply to Paul Magnussen

You should know that the Spanish won't change whether you are from the UK or the US.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2013 21:05:01
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1762
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: What Spanish dictionary for UK E... (in reply to rogeliocan

quote:

You should know that the Spanish won't change whether you are from the UK or the US.


Not so, in my experience: UK dictionaries tend to concentrate on national Spanish, US ones on Latin American versions. At least, that‘s the case with the ones I’ve got.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2013 22:45:13
 
rogeliocan

Posts: 811
Joined: Nov. 23 2009
From: Canada

RE: What Spanish dictionary for UK E... (in reply to Paul Magnussen

hmm, and I had written that as a joke.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2013 23:10:37
 
NormanKliman

Posts: 1143
Joined: Sep. 1 2007
 

RE: What Spanish dictionary for UK E... (in reply to Paul Magnussen

quote:

UK dictionaries tend to concentrate on national Spanish, US ones on Latin American versions.


Another reason not to rely on a single source. Also, the RAE has made some big changes in recent years: The letter "erre" (rr) is now considered to be two r's, the word "sólo" (solamente) can now be written without an accent, etc.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 7 2013 6:55:25
 
Donald

 

Posts: 101
Joined: Jun. 28 2004
 

RE: What Spanish dictionary for UK E... (in reply to NormanKliman

The Collins ones are fine. The second biggest one is described as Concise but its anything but. The next one down would be best.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 12 2013 18:47:16
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