16th June 2000 at 01:00

This is the sixth edition of a well-known language dictionary and the publishers are, justifiably, making a bit of a fuss about it. The millennial Harrap includes a very useful article on the internet (telling you how to say "at" and "dot" in French, for example), as well as a brief history of The Shorter itself.

North American pronunciation is now included, many examples are given of wordsin use and entries include more information on register and other aspects of language. Before 1991, for example, the sub-entry "bus route" did not help the user to distinguish between a bus service (ligne d'autobus) and the direction taken (parcours d'autobus) - now it does. In short, this new Shorter, with loads of slang, grammar sections, usage notes and so on, is touchingly eager to inform, help, advise and make itself agreeable.

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