of the Franklin Spanish Professor: Model BES-1840
yourself strolling through Madrid's Retiro Park, craving some
popcorn. Rather than extracting a bulky English-Spanish dictionary
from your backpack to ask the vendor the cost of a bag of palomitas
de ma’z, you pluck out the Bookman II, an electronic dictionary
that fits into one's hand, to find out, not only how to place
your order, but to convert the Spanish peseta to the U.S dollar
as well. Now imagine yourself leaving the park and wondering about
the pockmarks in the Puerta de Alcala, where you hear a word that
you have never encountered. You enter the word-as you think you
heard it-into the Bookman II and the machine returns a series
of terms that comes close to your typed version. After choosing
the desired word, you could press a button and a human voice clearly
enunciates it. The only drawback with this feature is that the
machine's voice sometimes has trouble with certain sounds-including
the "rr" and the "n"-and occasionally places
the stress on the incorrect syllable.
For travelers and for students studying Spanish or English as
a Second Language, the Bookman II is a convenient, hand-held machine
with a variety of features not found on other electronic Spanish-English
dictionaries. For example, the grammar guide describes the functions
of adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, negative sentences, nouns,
prepositions, pronouns, questions, and verbs. Each grammar section
includes a superficial explanation of the topic as well as numerous
examples to help elucidate the concept.
The machine also includes the conjugation of verbs. For instance,
if you type in "live," the Bookman II gives the user
a choice between using the word as a verb and as an adjective.
Once the verb choice is selected, the electronic dictionary provides
you with four different Spanish verbs from which to choose. After
making your selection, you receive the verb in the simple present,
the preterite (the past), the present progressive (I am proving),
and the participle forms (have lived, had lived). Unfortunately,
the subjunctive moods as well as the indicative imperfect tense
(I lived; I used to live) are not included.
Bookman II is perhaps most valuable for the traveler because it
includes practical phrases in the following settings or situations:
emergencies, business communications, telecommunications, travel,
hotel, restaurants, health, shopping, and sightseeing. Each phrase
includes the Spanish and English translations as well as a recording
of each statement. I envision travelers who through traditional
means cannot articulate a message, finding a particular expression
and playing back the recording.
For the traveler on the go who knows no Spanish, I highly recommend
the Bookman II. For serious students studying Spanish and ESL,
I would not recommend replacing a printed dictionary or other
reference materials with any electronic dictionary. But the Bookman
II is certainly better than any other electronic dictionary I
have encountered, perhaps because I encountered fewer errors than
I had found in other hand-held electronic dictionaries. (Note
that printed dictionaries-especially second printings, and beyond-contain
far fewer errors than their electronic counterparts) The Bookman
II is more than just a gimmicky electronic toy. It is a tool worthy
to be in one's language-learning arsenal.
Sugerman has lived and studied in Madrid and Buenos Aires. His
extensive travels have included most of South America as well
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