Monday, May 3, 2010

Good Dictionaries Should Be Heard As Well As Seen

The world's most popular online learner's dictionary now has audio.

Millions of users of Cambridge Dictionaries Online, the world's most popular online learner's dictionary site, now have access to over 40,000 audio pronunciations.

Cambridge University Press has launched the audio offering to help the vast number of English learners who use the dictionaries to conquer the sometimes tricky territory of English pronunciation. Access to thousands of pronunciations in both British and American English is now just a click away via a special icon.

With more than 2 million unique visitors every month, Cambridge Dictionaries Online (CDO) is not only the most visited learner's dictionary site, it is one of the most comprehensive and trusted dictionary sites in the world, providing easy-to-understand definitions and example sentences based on real English.

The audio feature is not the only new offering from CDO: as well as being able to hear the words they are trying to learn, English students can now bring up words accompanied by a thesaurus-style range of related terms.

This 'topic information', which has been added to most of the dictionary entries, is based on Cambridge's unique SMART Thesaurus. With more than 1,000 topics on offer, this new feature represents a tool that is unique in English language learning materials.

The Cambridge Dictionaries Online site also offers a facility to customise other websites with help options including a free dictionary search box and free double-click dictionary search. There are also options for schools, businesses and other institutions to customise the CDO dictionary look-up tools on their own websites with their organisation's branding.

The new features have been created after more than 20,000 Cambridge dictionary users worldwide responded to a survey about how they would like to see the dictionaries to develop.

Paul Heacock, Cambridge's Publishing Manager for ELT Dictionaries said customer direction-setting was vital and that the new features would keep coming:

"We are always looking for ways to make the dictionaries better than ever for our loyal users around the world but we don't operate in isolation: we always match developments to what our customers are telling us they want.

"We were delighted at the response to our recent survey and we hope our dictionary users will get in touch again and tell us what they think of the new features. Also – look out for more changes in the months ahead."

To listen to the audio samples, go to

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