The New Oxford Spanish Picture Dictionary by E. C. Parnwell

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Reviewed by Alan Cogan

Cogan’s Reviews

I must confess I had never seen or heard of this volume until very recently and I was rather surprised to see the publication date on it – 1989. Obviously it has been around along time.

The Dictionary is based on a rather neat and simple idea to help us learn new words in Spanish and for providing us with the names of hundreds of everyday products and articles.

The book is made up of 102 full color pages illustrating articles and objects that we’re all familiar with and also with showing people engaged in a broad variety of activities such as cooking, driving, visiting the library, visiting the doctor, doing the laundry and so on. In each full page color illustration everything is clearly identified in Spanish. Thus, when you look at a picture of a young couple relaxing in a garden setting every object and aspect of the picture is named, including the lawnmower, barbecue, spade, rake, drainpipe, window, tv antenna and so on. In that particular page there are 32 such namings and, thus, 32 new words you can learn. In total, there are 2,400 such words in the dictionary.

Look at the office activities page and you’ll see the Spanish names for copiers, typewriters, message pads, paper clips, calendars, switchboard, in-box, pencil sharpener, file cabinet… and so on.

The words are grouped under 82 different topics. The topics range from golfing to working in an office; from driving a car to going to the dentist; from visiting the supermarket to showing what goes on in the space program; from spending a day at the beach to studying a map of the world. Whether you are going to bed or going to court the activity is covered here. Whether you’re going to the beach, to the races or to the theater – here it is.

The volume also includes two indexes – one in Spanish, the other in English, which is an interesting way of challenging your language skills. Also, there’s a handy pronunciation guide.

Personally, I found it almost impossible to just lightly browse through this useful book and not learn a few new words or satisfy my curiosity about the names of various objects.

In my humble O: If you’re interested in boosting your Spanish vocabulary here’s a very valuable and entertaining tool to have at your disposal.

The New Oxford Spanish Picture Dictionary
by E.C.Parnwell
Oxford University Press. 1989. Paperback, large format.

Available from Amazon Books: Paperback – also in CD format

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Published or Updated on: October 15, 2004 by Alan Cogan © 2008
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