Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 11. Number3  September 2020                                       Pp. 537-548

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What to Choose Amongst Dictionaries for the Linguistics Student: A Review of The
American Heritage College Dictionary
 and the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary

Albatool Mohammed Abalkheel
Department of English Language and Translation,
College of Arabic Language and Social Studies
Qassim University, Saudi Arabia



This article compares and contrasts two dictionaries: The American Heritage College Dictionary and the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. This review is written to provide English language learners – and others – who are taking undergraduate-level courses in linguistics, with in-depth advice on how to best support and augment their previously assigned textbooks. Specifically, the author seeks to make a case for how these two dictionaries are the most constructive for students taking courses that focus on semantics and pragmatics. Both of these texts contain extensive and detailed knowledge for students majoring in English. The reviewer examines key aspects of the two volumes in this comparison, including: front and back matter, range of contents and illustrations, and the organization of the entries. Other areas that are explored are how each dictionary deals with connotational meaning, collocational information, expressions related to the headword, and controversial usage issues. The findings of this author reveal that both texts are valuable additions to the library of any undergraduate student studying linguistics and the English language. Each volume has its strong points, making both dictionaries beneficial and essential to students of English. However, these particular texts are strongly recommended for the student for whom English is not the native language.
Keywords: Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (CALD), connotational meanings, collocations, EFL learners, lexicography, pragmatics, semantics, The American Heritage College Dictionary (AHCD)

Cite as: Abalkheel, A. M. (2020). What to Choose Amongst Dictionaries for the Linguistics Student: A Review of The American Heritage College Dictionary and the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. Arab World English Journal11 (3) 537-548 .


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Albatool Abalkheel is an assistant professor of Linguistics at Qassim University. After getting
her BA in English in 2009, she moved to the USA to get her MA in English from Colorado State
University. She then got her Ph.D. in Linguistics from Tulane University, USA in 2017. Currently,
she is teaching at Qassim University.