The promotional blurb presents The Oxford Beginner s Russian Dictionary OBRD as a mould breaking new publication, but it is, in fact, nothing than a very slightly revised version of The Oxford Starter Russian Dictionary OSRD published back in 1997, with some rejigging of the contents and five brief new sections Of the 30 additional pages just ten have been developed expressly for it the remainder have been lifted, wholesale or with slight modifications, from other recently published OUP Russian dictionaries This fresh approach for first time learners , to quote the jacket copy, is thus a classic case of mutton dressed as lamb.Just how heavily derivative the OBRD is can be gauged from the fact that its A Z content i.e the dictionary proper runs to 278 pages, precisely matching that of the OSRD A less immediately obvious clue to the true age of the core content is the presence in example phrases of references to Mrs Thatcher and Prime Minister John Major p 219 A sprinkling of new vocabulary including bird flu , call centre , cell phone , email , Internet , IT , laptop , mobile phone , PIN , and SIM card is in evidence, but the translations are not always accurate and, in any case, one has to ask just how many of such buzzy new entries really merit inclusion in a beginner s dictionary, especially when far basic vocabulary e.g female , graduate and yoghurt is absent The selection of entries in general is highly idiosyncratic On precisely what basis, one wonders, has it been decided that beginners need to know Russian words like valtorna , sardelka and tolstovka , which barely register on the frequency scale, but not krupnyy or proizvodstvo , which are among the most common in the language The fact that the OBRD s development cost was clearly minimal may explain why the publisher felt it possible to incorporate a sturdier binding than in the revised editions of The Pocket Oxford Russian Dictionary PORD and The Oxford Russian Minidictionary ORM published earlier this year Within just days of reviewing it for this site in February, my copy of the former literally fell apart.Although well bound, the OBRD s typographical presentation leaves something to be desired Much of the body text is needlessly small This is particulary true of the new Russian words you must know and Phrasefinder sections It also lets the user down in failing to incorporate a thin vertical line in Russian headwords to indicate where the stem of a word ends and the numerous oblique forms begin This helpful device is employed in the Russian declensions and conjugations section at the end of the work, however.The standard of the work s proof reading also falls short of the mark slips noted include the unwarranted presence of a space immediately after the Russian letter f in the translations of the entries flag , flute , geography and shoe in the English Russian section.In contrast to the very recently republished ORM, the OBRD makes a conscious, and laudable, effort to include American English variants both as headwords in the English Russian section and as translations in the Russian English section Variant spellings are also given The absence of garbage and sidewalk as translations of the Russian musor and trotuar respectively is a clear indicator of a lack of editorial rigour in this regard, however.The OBRD s back matter includes a brief, but useful, guide to Russian pronunciation, but there is a complete lack of pronunciation guidance within the body of the dictionary itself an incomprehensible omission in a work aimed at beginners.Among numerous editorial oddities noted not all of the words added to the English Russian section e.g cell phone are mirrored in the Russian English section stool , the translation given for taburetka , is not in the English Russian section shapka is the only translation given for hat , when shlyapa is the usual, and often only correct, word radically different senses of words are sometimes listed without accompanying sense indicators see stress in the English Russian section inexplicably, the Russian alphabet has suffered the indignity of being consigned to the foot of one of the back pages p 300.I spoke earlier of the abitrariness of the OBRD s wordlist A possible clue to the Editor s interests and background lies in the fact that while users with an artistic, especially musical, bent will have no difficulty in enumerating the different instruments in an orchestra e.g cello, clarinet, double bass, flute, violin , those of a practical turn of mind will be unable to find the Russian for some basic tools e.g chisel, drill, screwdriver, spanner.Finally, some brief observations on the five new sections 1 The Russian words you must know no explanation is offered for the selection of the 1,000 or so words what s , they are listed in alphabetical order, when it would have been scientific, and surely far helpful to beginners, to list them in word frequency order 2 The Phrasefinder this has been recycled, virtually without change, from another OUP Russian title and much of the vocabulary in it is lacking in the main body of the dictionary 3 Dates for your diary why does it only list the dates of Russian public holidays, with no mention made of Bank holidays, Labor Day, Independence Day, Hallowe en, Thanksgiving, etc Whilst it is true that some of the public holidays listed are not uniquely Russian, beginners are surely likely to want to talk about their own experience, rather than ask for details of alien concepts, such as Constitution Day or Men s Day 4 Russian life and culture a useful miscellany, but little of it is of relevance to the average beginner 5 Social survival tips this section has some helpful and up to date information, but its range is terribly limited and duplicates what would be covered far thoroughly and, some would argue, appropriately in a good phrase book or travel guide.Despite the shortcomings pointed out above, the OBRD is a unique work which could be used to advantage by new learners of Russian. it contains important information that allows in the assistance of learning the russian language great with college courses perfect as a reference for just starting to learn this incredibly hard but awesome language Useful dictionary but very basic I have just started learning Russian so I was only looking for basic words but I couldn t find many of them. Meets my expectations set out in a way that makes it easy for the beginner ti extract the information they need This book is a great tool for beginners there are handy lists of advice for beginners It is well organized and is a great supplement in addition to the regular russian dictionary. Excellent dictionary for first year Russian students It takes the minimalist approach only the most commonly used words again for a first year student and just the right amount of info on each word entry It s simple and quick to use It also has very useful tables of info on verb and adjective endings, pronouns, etc A nice, concise little reference book in addition to beign a useful dictionary Note that it assumes some familiarity with the cyrillic alphabet but it is not hard to learn. I wish they had traded the large print for words but it has all the basics and their endings. The Oxford Beginner s Russian Dictionary is an innovative guide to learning Russian Designed specifically for English speaking adult learners who are either learning from scratch or refreshing lost language skills, it offers an easy to use dictionary, extra help with vocabulary, and essential information on living and interacting in the Russian speaking world The dictionary is exceptionally easy to use, because it moves away from the traditional dictionary layout All main translations are preceded by an equals sign so that they are instantly identifiable, and all parts of the entry are spelt out in full, avoiding confusing jargon and abbreviations Grammar and usage notes throughout the text warn of possible translation pitfalls, and thousands of example phrases show how the language is used in context Thepage Learning and Lifestyle kit gives key information on both the Russian language, with a list of the words you really need to know, grammar help, and verb tables, and on life in the Russian speaking world background information on lifestyle and culture, tips on etiquette and interaction in the language, and a phrasefinder for use when travelling The Oxford Beginner s Russian Dictionary is your essential companion to learning Russian It has been a great help in learning the words and with learning how to write in russian, very happy with this purchase.