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Phonetic Keywords in Learner’s dictionaries

Phonetic keywords found in the pronunciation guides to five monolingual learners’ dictionaries of English (OALDCE4, LDOCE3, COBUILD1, CIDE and CHAMBERS) are evaluated with respect to their familiarity, phonetic difficulty and textual frequency. It is shown that while they are more or less equivalent on the first two scores (with OALDCE4 and CIDE listing words slightly easier to pronounce than the other three dictionaries), OALDCE4’s words are almost twice as frequent in running English as those of CHAMBERS. Appeal is made for more research into the phonetic structure and choice of keywords, which are supposed to assist the dictionary user in the difficult task of phonetic look-up.

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