Three English dictionaries published recently all lay claim to possessing a “ne w” feature. The BBC English Dictionary contains background information on 1,000 people and places prominent in the news since 1988; the Oxford Advanced Learner ’s Dictionary: Encyclopedic Edition is the OALD plus encyclopedic entries; the L ongman Dictionary of English Language and Culture is the LDOCE plus cultural inf ormation.
The key fact is that all three dictionaries can be seen to have a distinctly “c ultural” as well as language learning content. That being said, the way in whic h they approach the cultural element is not identical, making direct comparisons between the three difficult.
While there is some common ground between the encyclopedic/cultural entries for the Oxford and Longman dictionaries, there is a clear difference. Oxford lays cl aim to being encyclopedic on content whereas Longman distinctly concentrates on the language and culture of the Englishspeaking world. The Oxford dictionary c an therefore stand more vigorous scrutiny for cultural bias than the Longman pub lication because the latter does not hesitate about viewing the rest of the worl d from the cultural perspectives of the Englishspeaking world. The cultural ob jectives of the BBC dictionary are in turn more distinct still. Based on an anal ysis of over 70 million words recorded from the BBC World Service and National P ublic Radio of Washington over a period of four years, their 1,000 brief encyclo pedic entries are based on people and places that have featured in the news rece ntly. The intended user they have in mind is a regular listener to the World Ser vice who will have a reasonable standard of English and a developed skill in list ening comprehension.
In reality, though, the BBC dictionary will be purchased by a far wider range of language learners, as will the other two dictionaries. We will be faced with a situation where many of the users of these dictionaries will at the very least h ave distinct sociocultural perspectives and may have world views which are tot ally opposed and even hostile to those of the West. Advanced learners form this kind of background will not only evaluate a dictionary on how userfriendly it is but will also have definite views about the scope and appropriateness of the various sociocultural entries.
1. What feature sets apart the three dictionaries discussed in the passage from traditional ones?
A. The combination of two dictionaries into one.
B. The new approach to defining words.
C. The inclusion of cultural content.
D. The increase in the number of entries.
2. The Longman dictionary is more likely to be criticized for cultural prejudice because ______.
A. its scope of cultural entries goes beyond the culture of the Englishspeaking world
B. it pays little attention to the cultural content of the nonEnglishspeaking countries
C. it views the world purely from the standpoint of the Englishspeaking people
D. it fails to distinguish language from culture in its encyclopedic entries
3. It is implied in the last paragraph that, in approaching sociocultural content in a dictionary,social thought should be given to ___ ___.
A. the language levels of its users
B. the number of its prospective purchasers
C. the different tastes of its users
D. the various cultural backgrounds of its users