Houghton Mifflin's The American Heritage Spanish Dictionary is the most innovative, and the most imitated, of American dictionaries to be published in recent decades. Its overwhelming critical and popular success has been testimony to the achievement of its principal goal of faithfully recording modern American English in an accessible and understandable way.
In the Spanish-speaking world, the name of Larousse has long enjoyed special distinction due to the recognized authority and wide circulation of its Peque?o Larousse ilustrado. Thoroughly revised and updated in recent years, this work is particularly noted for the currency of its lexicon and for the extensive inclusion of Latin American vocabulary and usage.
Now Houghton Mifflin has brought these two traditions together in the first major new bilingual dictionary in many years. Originally published as The American Heritage Larousse Spanish Dictionary, this innovative work is based directly on the extensive American Heritage and Larousse lexicons.
The American Heritage Spanish Dictionary is distinguished from others of its kind in several ways. The English usage on both sides is that of the United States, with careful indication of the various levels of propriety. Peculiarly British forms and senses (always so noted) that the average reader is likely to encounter are also included. On the Spanish side, a corresponding effort has been made to represent both "pan-Hispanic" usage and the diverse special forms and senses found in Latin America.
It would be rash to claim that any dictionary is without error. Nevertheless, in compiling The American Heritage Spanish Dictionary the lexicographers have been at some pains to correct errors that have been passed down from one generation of dictionaries to another. And because the ease with which a dictionary is used depends not only on the words it contains but on those it omits, the compilers have generally omitted words that are not more or less current, and the space vacated by such obsolete forms is filled with a generous quota of technical and commercial words more serviceable in the contemporary world.
Because accuracy depends as much on the user of the dictionary as on its compilers, in multiple-sense entries synonyms for each sense are given in the language of the entry word. Entries are keyed to appropriate grammar references in the introductory matter, all entries are syllabicated, and the gender of Spanish nouns is noted on the English side.
In sum, Houghton Mifflin offers here a new lexical base, an emphasis on U.S. and Latin American usage, greater accuracy, up-to-dateness, and a sensitivity to the practical needs of the user.
Preface to the Second Edition
The explosive growth of new technologies--in the home, the workplace, the classroom, and almost everywhere in between--has created an abundance of new vocabulary in both English and Spanish since The American Heritage Spanish Dictionary was published in 1986. This same period has seen an increasing contact between the peoples and cultures of Latin America and the United States, whether in the form of immigration, tourism, study, or just browsing on the Internet.
The editors of the Second Edition have taken both these developments into account in bringing this acclaimed Dictionary up to date for the 21st century. Among the words that have been added for this edition are biodiversity, cell phone, ecotourism, laptop, and nanotube, as well as afrocubano, buscapersonas, huitlacoche, parapente, and videojuego. Other terms have come from such fields as medicine, sports, business, politics, and recreation--more than 2,500 new words and phrases in all.
Of course, the features that have made the first edition so popular have been preserved in the second. The emphasis remains on American English and Latin American Spanish, and the different meanings of multisense words are always clearly distinguished to eliminate guesswork in locating the appropriate translation. We are confident that this Second Edition of The American Heritage Spanish Dictionary will continue to meet the needs of students, teachers, translators, and language lovers as successfully as its predecessor.