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Language bestsellers

Spotlight - Focus on English

Das Spotlight-Team stellt im aktuellen Spotlight Magazin klassische Sprachprodukte für Englischfans vor - sechs Bestseller zum Lernen und Lachen, Lesen und Hören, Büffeln und Nachschlagen.

Spotlight Einzelheft 08/17

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Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner’s Dictionary

TheCollins COBUILD was first published 30 years ago and has since become a firm favourite among advanced students of English. Why? Because it doesn’t just tell you what words mean, but also how to use them. Each entry comes with example sentences that show the grammatical patterns in which a word is commonly used, and there are plenty of additional features to help you find the right collocations for the right context. Let’s take a look at a randomly selected page under the letter “B”. The entry for “barn” comes with a dictionary picture illustrating words connected with life on a farm (“henhouse”, “orchard”, “livestock”). Look up “bargepole”, and you’ll see that Brits might not “touch you with a bargepole”, whereas Americans call the same thing a “ten-foot pole”. Or check “barren” to find a list of synonyms (“desolate”, “empty”, “infertile”) and antonyms (“lush”, “fertile”, “rich”). And those are just three entries from about 2,000 pages’ worth of words. TheCollins COBUILD isn’t just a dictionary. It’s at least five books wrapped into one. Look up a word and, before you know it, you will have learned ten more and a couple of idiomatic phrases, too. It’s perfect for people who love big, thick books and don’t mind getting totally lost in them.

Petra Daniell, language editor

English Grammar in Use

When I first picked up a copy of English Grammar in Use (EGU) in 1985, I immediately thought: “How simple and useful!”, and then: “Why didn’t I come up with this idea?”
At the time, I was working as an English teacher, and Raymond Murphy’s grammar bible felt like a godsend. In short chapters — one page of explanations followed
by one page of exercises — English Grammar in Use presents all the main grammar points that an intermediate language learner needs to cover. The language
is simple, and the example sentences are timeless. Best of all, the content can be navigated and absorbed by students at home without the help of a teacher.
Over the years, I tried out other grammar books with my students, and although many books worked well, Murphy’s is still the most effective publication in this
category. EGU has spawned a whole series of grammar and vocabulary books at different levels, each as well designed and practical as the first. Whether you are an
on-off student of English, a language enthusiast or just trying to manoeuvre your unwilling teenager through the English part of the Abitur, a copy of English Grammar
in Use should always be close at hand. Inez Sharp,



A Joke a Day

Have you heard the joke about the man who stole a calendar? He got 12 months! When you buy Langenscheidt’s
Sprachkalender 2018: A Joke a Day, not only will you get 12 months, you will also get hundreds of jokes, one-liners,cartoons and puns. And that’s no joke! Each tear-off
page includes the date and a joke, illustrated with a cute cartoon or sketch. Also on each page is a yellow box containing a word taken from the joke. Overleaf, you will find the same word, this time with its German equivalent below, as well as the German translation of the joke. So there is no excuse for not understanding it. Technically then, this is a “joke-and-word-a-day calendar”. The words that are highlighted are not the obscure, show-off words you often find in word-of-the-day apps and e-mails. They are high-frequency words that are well worth adding to your active vocabulary. You can immediately use the word in context by simply retelling the joke to English-speaking colleagues or family members. This is a great desktop accessory for anyone who loves English and wants to have fun maintaining his or her language level with little effort. What better way to start the day than with a little chuckle or a smile?

Dagmar Taylor, language author


The Murderer Next Door

The Murderer Next Door is the bestselling book in Compact Verlag’s Lernkrimi series. And who doesn’t like crime stories? This publication gives you three, each with language tips, exercises and translated words.The first story, from which the book takes its title, is about the murder of a London banker. The second, “Dangerous Deal”, is about a break-in. “Mission to Kill”, the third crime story, starts with a fight in an English prison. A guard, Joanna, rushes to stop the conflict. But wait: let’s review the vocabulary. The list of translated words explains that a female “prison guard” is a Gefängniswärterin, and that “to fight like cat and dog” means sich vertragen wie Hund und Katze. The fight is over, night falls and the prisoners go to bed. One of them tells Joanna that she is hungry and can’t sleep. Here, the reader is asked to complete the verbs so that the story can proceed: “Joanna (go) ________ to the cafeteria.” After six such sentences, the vaction continues as you would expect — until the next exercise appears. There are more than 40 such exercises within the stories, and the answers (in the example, “goes”) are given at the end of the book with a full glossary and final test.

Claudine Weber-Hof, deputy editor


Tales of the Unexpected

British author Roald Dahl wrote some of the best-loved children’s stories of the modern age. His most famous books include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and The BFG. In addition, Dahl wrote short stories for adults, which usually feature macabre subject matter.
Four of these stories appear in Tales of the Unexpected, the most popular interactive audio book from Digital Publishing (an imprint of Hueber Verlag). In the stories, we meet a landlady with a dark secret, discover the consequences of making the wrong bet, get lost in the imagination of a child and take part in a very special wine tasting. Surprising and blackly comic, these tales are a perfect introduction to the wonderfully disturbing world of Roald Dahl. On the 65-minute audio CD, the four stories are read in full by Spotlight Audio’s own David Creedon. You can follow the stories or read them separately with the booklet, where difficult vocabulary is translated into German. Also included is a CD-ROM (only for Windows systems). With this, you can listen to the tales, follow the text word for word, find the translations and even slow down or speed up the speech.

Owen Connors, audio editor


Typisch Englisch

Is it possible to take a trip to Britain without even leaving your living room? We think so. Spend the afternoon with Typisch Englisch, and you may very well find yourself feeling as if you were on a very British holiday. This puzzle book is packed with just the right amount of useful and interesting information about the British Isles. You’ll find segments on history, culture, climate and travel presented in an easy-to-understand and playful manner. Learn about the Land of Song, meet the royals, bake your own Cornish pasty, speak some Cockney and read about pub culture. These are only a few of the topics covered. Each section begins with a brief overview and then provides some “Did you know?” facts. After reading them, turn the page and get ready for quiz time. You’ll have so much fun you won’t even notice that you’re learning in the process. Be sure to read the notes in the margin, as they’ll help you along. If you get stuck with a word, there’s a handy glossary at the back. Although this book is at A2–B2 level, advanced learners may also be interested in reading it and enjoying the quiz fun. Even as a native speaker, I feel I’ve learned quite a bit after reading this publication.

Julia Howard, plus author



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