The Oxford New Italian Dictionary
March 10, 2013
Series Oxford New Dictionary Series
Publisher Berkley Publishing Group
Publication Date 2007
Skill Level Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
This dictionary from Berkley Publishing Group was the perfect size and had the perfect binding and layout for my needs. As you can see from the photo, it got thoroughly thumbed—a sign of love. And usability!
To clarify what I mean about the binding: I’ve used small dictionaries where you practically had to break the spine to read what was in the inside margins; I hate that. The Oxford New Italian Dictionary had the right amount of bendability and also the right amount of white space everywhere so that you could read everything easily without wrestling the book to the floor.
One thing that you might not be used to: Italian is a phonetic language, very regular and reliable in how the combinations of letters you see on a printed page are pronounced. This dictionary gives you a simple page of pronunciation guidelines at the front and then, other than providing information on syllable stress, leaves you to your own devices in figuring out how to pronounce each listed word.
That is a radical difference from English dictionaries, which have to give you pronunciation advice for each individual word. Each word! Imagine—especially as a non-native speaker—trying to navigate the pronunciation of tough, through, though, thought, and trough without that help!
The Oxford New Italian Dictionary gives stress information for infinitives, but not individual verb conjugations. I would have liked help with the conjugations, too, but this is a compact dictionary, so that might be asking too much. However, if in a future edition someone wanted to add some stress indications to the verb tables in the back, I would not complain!