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Review of Oxford Business English Dictionary for learners of English


Oxford University Press, 2005

Edited by Dilys Parkinson

Assisted by Joseph Noble

ISBN-13 978 019 4315845


The book attracts the readers attention instantly as soon as one opens it. As an English language teacher, I was amazed at the number of opportunities it offers to a user. This brand new dictionary has been specially written for those who are involved in business: experienced business people, students and teachers of business concepts and/or Business English. It can be widely used for teaching and learning Business English for non-native speakers of English of intermediate or advanced level.

The dictionary is based on a new corpus collection of nearly 50 million words of text compiled from written and spoken British and American sources, embracing such materials as business sections of newspapers, business textbooks and journals and interviews with business people. Therefore, a teacher can rely on the dictionary while producing his or her own materials or selecting and using up-to-date business data.

It includes terms from 17 particular business areas, such as Commerce, Marketing, Human Resources, Accounting, Information Technology, Production, Property, Stock Exchange, E-commerce, Economics, Finance, Insurance, Law, Manufacturing, Trade, Technical (scientific, mathematical and statistical terms) and Transport. Consequently, a trainer of Business English can use this dictionary in accordance with the specialism of his or her trainee.

The appendices of the dictionary offer some useful information that can be used in or out of class while studying specific features of business idioms, terms, connected with the Internet and computers, incoterms, layout and features of business letters, emails and memos, CVs and resumes, language that is used for graphs description and stages of business development.

This dictionary is an excellent tool for vocabulary building. It indicates idiomatic expressions and phrasal verbs, common phrases and patterns. It is possible to find meanings of related words, pictures illustrating the word and word derivatives, synonyms and opposites. The authors have specified words that are used only in British English using geography labels. Many business concepts are presented in forms of graphs, charts, tables that maximise efficiency for their understanding and retention.

Knowledge of business collocations is part and parcel of business communication. They help learners of Business English to observe word partnerships. This may add to their linguistic and cultural competences. Their introduction in the dictionary turns it into a must-have for business people, learners and teachers of Business English. Examples of business collocations presented in Oxford Business English Dictionary can be the following: organizational culture, memorandum of understanding, emotional intelligence. In fact these authors have treated these as compounds in the dictionary, not collocates. Collocates are a very important feature of the dictionary and have been placed in special sections at the end of an entry or a sense, as in the example of business plan which is referred to later on in this review.

Labels of the dictionary also help to identify:

 register of the words and phrases formal (e.g. a beverage) or informal (e.g. a loan shark, to mothball, to ink);

 peculiarities of usage e.g. attn only used in written English; connection (BrE spelling also connexion, less frequent); common 'stock (BrE also ordinary 'stock, less frequent);

 spelling variations e.g. buy-back (also spelled buyback); dotcom (also spelled dot-com, dot.com).

Entries which need contextualization are provided not only with comprehensive and user-friendly definitions, but also with authentic examples, Which word and More about boxes that aid understanding. This additional information can elucidate those minutiae that are not covered in other dictionaries. A trainer can successfully apply these details in class and out of class activities as well as in development of materials.

The authors have also presented both some typical grammar and phonetic information i.e. irregular forms of verbs, irregular plural nouns, information on the use of adjectives (their position in the sentence), superlative and comparative degrees of adjectives and some additional information on expressing percentages in special Grammar points boxes. Pronunciation is covered in Pronunciation and phonetic syllables. The authors display American pronunciation in cases when it is different from British English pronunciation. Stress mark show stress on phrases.

The text is user-friendly because the authors follow the conventional practice of putting the headword in bold type. This stands out well from the definitions which follow after. A typical entry looks like this:

'business plan noun [C]

(Finance) a written document that states what a company, or a part of a company, aims to do to sell its products, develop new products, etc. within a particular period, and how it will get the money it needs: They spent a month preparing a business plan to present it to the board.

+ To draft/draw up/develop/put together/prepare/write a business plan

The Oxford Business English Dictionary for learners of English is an excellent and useful tool for a teacher or a learner of Business English. The main focus of the Oxford Business English Dictionary can not only assist its users in finding definitions but also in providing opportunities for vocabulary building and motivating them for self-study activities. The dictionary is also available with CD-ROM, and this is yet another unique selling point of this publication.


Reviewed by: Elena Maltseva, Lecturer in English for Specific Purposes, University of Central Asia, Tekeli Campus, Kazakhstan email: elena_tal_80@mail.ru or elena_tal_80@yahoo.com