October 6, 2011

Dictionary Effects

What is a dictionary? Answer: It is a rather special book filled with words and explanation. Most dictionaries are arranged by the order of the alphabets, known as "Alphabetic order." Some dictionaries are small, thin, and colorful, while some others are large, thick and heavy. A smaller size dictionary is called "Pocket Dictionary" for the reason that you can just put it in your pocket…very portable (easy to carry with you). A thick and large size dictionary is generally known as Reference dictionary, Corpus, and Encyclopedia. These books provide larger information about words, history of words, meaning and definition,…etc.

What Can I Learn?

A good dictionary for general English learners could only be defined by individual learners depending on their preferences. Personally, I particularly like Oxford English Pocket Dictionary because I find many interesting input features (language items) in there that other dictionary would fail to offer. So, back the question "What I can learn from a dictionary?", I am going to the explain the details in the following lines. First I wish to start with the objectives/goals/purposes of using or needing a dictionary. Many language users share similar experience and goals of using a dictionary as they believe a dictionary is objectively used to define any particular words that they are not familiar with. Without objections, I would like to add more things that you can do or can learn from a dictionary.

  • To define words
  • To learn correct spellings for words
  • To practice correct pronunciation (You can always find phonetic column in a dictionary)
  • To denote (show) the grammatical functions of words such as v.(verb), n.(noun), adj.(adjective)….so on
  • To understand the historical meaning or origin of the words (whether the words are rooted from Greek, Latin, French, Spanish, Sanskrit, Saxon or Hebrew)
  • To seek out synonymous and antonymous words (You get more choices of words for your writing or speaking)
  • To visually experience the words in the form of pictures, diagram, graphs, or other illustrations

How to be a fast dictionary opener?

This question takes me back to the starting point of the my journey in learning English. I remember that I treat my beloved dictionary like someone or something special that I can turn to when I have problems with language learning. I took my dictionary to the many places I went to including schools, markets, home, and more places where I went and when my pockets are available. Back to 1998 when I was at Siem Riep middle school, many people would remember me as the fastest dictionary opener. It means I could get to the words more quickly than other learners. In this blog, I wish to share my personal secrets to be a fast dictionary opener.
  • Buy a dictionary that you find the most useful (The one that meets your needs in using). Look for the one that have darken marks for the alphabet order on the side edge. Get the one that share two or three columns on one page.
  • Develop affective connection (emotional) with your dictionary. How? Simply just, play with it. Personalize your dictionary by adding colors, hand writing text, picture and more of your preferences.
  • Be familiar with location of the alphabetic order of words (follow the darken marks)
  • Before opening, you need to quickly memorize the first syllable of the word in your head
  • Do not use finger to run through lists of words.
  • Once in a while, challenge your classmates to open dictionary
  • Involve in the opening dictionary competitions or Spelling Bee.
  • Set aside 5 minutes each day to practice opening a dictionary (Make it fun and cheerful)

Final thought

 Words are like weapons. It's better to master words, than to have a city for your own. One who could master words could express ideas, thoughts, and secrets of mind better than those who couldn't. Brighten your days by learning one new word a day. Within two years, can you imagine how many words you might have learned?


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