TEACHER Magazine DECEMBER 2005
By STEVE HOLDEN
Searching for a particular word, meaning or spelling?
Chances are you used to consult a dictionary or thesaurus - remember them, big hardcover books that were usually a very dark blue?
These days you're more likely to be one of the huge majority of Australians who do more than ninety per cent of their writing, and much of their reading, on a computer, according to the information technology and telecommunications industries market intelligence and advisory firm, IDC. If that is you, or your students, you're likely to find some use for a resource like the Macquarie Word-Genius Reference Library, developed by Eurofield Information Solutions (EIS).
WordGenius contains the unabridged Australian Macquarie Dictionary, Thesaurus and Spellchecker.
Because WordGenius uses eComPress compression technology from EIS, it's permanently available on the hard drive of a computer or notebook - all 2,248 pages compressed to less than 10Mb. EComPress also means it's extremely fast, which makes it ideal for rollout to all the units on a network.
What you get:
WordGenius provides more than 110,000 headwords, 30,000 subsidiary headwords and 200,000 definitions,which makes it quite a collection of Australian word entries and their meanings.
According to Sue Butler, Editor and Publisher of the Macquarie Dictionary, it's easily the most comprehensive account of Australian English ever produced. It also addresses a need, Butler points out, since there's a constant battle between the standard and actual practice of our English language.
'So a language tool like WordGenius, that makes it so much easier to check the spelling of a word, is vital to the maintenance of the standard variety of English in our country,' Butler says.
'WordGenius provides the most up-to-date account of our language, including scientific and technical terms, and innovations of world English.'
Do you really need a software version?
According to Butler, 'The book appeals to those who see the dictionary as an icon of our culture. In leafing through the pages of the book it is possible to get a sense of the nature of Australian English. But the dictionary is also a language tool for those who need to check a spelling or a meaning.
WordGenius allows the user to have the dictionary immediately to hand in their reading and writing on the computer. Access is swift, problems are solved immediately.' Okay, software offers a great tool, but why not just go online?
For starters, a resource like WordGenius has done most of the filtering for you, and the emphasis is on language for Australian users. It can also be a pain shuffling onto the net every other minute. 'Having Word-Genius helps the reader and writer to get the surface irritations of spelling and meaning out of the way fast enough to keep their interest and enthusiasm for the fundamental process,' Butler says.
According to Emeritus Professor Arthur Delbridge, Founding Director of the Dictionary Research Centre at Macquarie University, and the first chair of the original Editorial Committee, WordGenius will benefit everybody who writes on a computer screen. 'You're in the midst of writing and wonder about the spelling or meaning of a word, or you ask yourself if there is a better word you can use,' Delbridge says. 'Effective writers constantly ask themselvesthese questions.'