Macmillan Study Dictionary

Michael Rundell, Ed. (Macmillan 2009)
ISBN 9-780-230-03713-7; CD Rom 9-781-405-05710-3

The Macmillan Study Dictionary follows in the wake of the successful Macmillan Schools Dictionary (2008, ISBN: 9-783- 425 -710 01-3), but is aimed at secondary school pupils whose curriculum subjects are taught through the medium of English. This particular volume is specifically targeted at the African secondary school market and includes a 72 page section at the end, with both study skills such as letter writing and interpreting data and a reference section with a detailed History of Africa, list of independence dates and coloured diagrams of the solar system and maps of Africa and the world, amongst much else.

The dictionary is contemporary, user-friendly and, on a practical note, a good size for students to carry. Its unique feature, however, is that it is curriculum specific and directly geared to the needs of the classroom. Amongst over 100,000 words, meanings and phrases cited are some 10,000 subject specific words for 27 subject areas ranging from agriculture, computing, health, sports and tourism. Red subject labels identify the area and the definitions of these specialist words are very clearly explained in language which would be easily understood by a secondary student. This is a rare feat for technical and scientific concepts, making it a useful resource not only for secondary students but also for university students studying ESP.

Students can expand their vocabulary through the ‘usage boxes’, which contain information about synonyms and word families, as well as by looking at the words in bold and diagrams linked to the topic The book is very well endowed with pictures, diagrams and full-page illustrations.

The spacious layout and use of red and black text with many drop-down menus, make the book appealing to the eye and easy to access. I would have no hesitation in recommending this dictionary. It is, in many ways, more than just a dictionary – it is also a cornucopia of facts, not just about 27 subject areas but also about Africa.
Lucy Bradley
Adam Smith College