Customer Review

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars IPA (Not) For Dummies, December 11, 2004
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This review is from: Berlitz Danish-English Dictionary (Berlitz Bilingual Dictionaries) (Paperback)
As other reviewers have pointed out, this little book doesn't have much competition. This is a reasonably useful little dictionary, and is worth its retail price.

Complaint: The English-Danish section gives the reader a pronunciation guide using the IPA. Thus, a Danish speaker has a reasonable idea of exactly how to pronounce the English words. The Danish-English section gives the reader what purports to be a "phonetic transcription," but instead of using the clear and unambiguous IPA, the editors have chosen to saddle the English speaker with a silly, dumbed-down homebrew of an approximate guide to pronunciation. This is NOT a "phonetic transcription," this is a rough guide. Danish orthography, like English orthography, can be tricky and misleading sometimes. Apparently, the editors feel that the big, scary IPA is too much for us anglophones to wrap our pretty little heads around, and that we'll be happy with only a vague idea how to pronounce those dreadful Danish words. "Overraskelse" (surprise)? Just say "o(oo)-o-rahss-gerl-ser." I suppose that's close enough to make me understood, but a "phonetic transcription?" Nope.

Still, this dictionary is better than no dictionary at all, and serves its purpose well enough. The fact that the IPA is OK for Danes but not for anglophones is insulting and annoying, but (oh, well) this is a Berlitz product, after all.
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