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Dictionary Training It is a necessity for students to learn
It is a necessity for students to learn how to use a dictionary. Everybody owns one and requires to use one at a point in time. A dictionary is defined as 'a handy all-in-one reference book that provides up-to-date and accessible information on the core vocabulary of current English' (Soanes, vi). Some dictionaries contain encyclopedia information describing important people, places, and historical events. 'Its priorities are clear explanations of meaning, informative encyclopedia entries, and help with spelling pronunciation and usage' (vi). The dictionary text is up to date verification of how the language is used in the present day; these words are based on thousands of English words conceded. The explanation for the terminology is offered in an understandable and direct way. As a teacher, students are taught how to use a dictionary in an efficient and appropriate way.
'A dictionary is a book that lists words of a language and gives their meaning, or their equivalent in a different language' (vi). The book's layout is in an alphabetical order and is made so that the first letter of the word is found through this sequence. Then the next letter is searched by the alphabetical order; followed by the rest of the letters of the word until the word is found on the page. At the top of each page, there consists a page number and two words. The first word is the beginning body of the descending letter order and the second word is the last word on the page. This is used to help scan for words; for example, aaa aab aac aad etc., and again aba abb abc abd.
The definitions focus on the central meaning of words avoiding the use of difficult and over technical vocabulary. Within the text, it gives a clear guidance in parts of speech, verb inflections, pronunciations, homonym numbers which are the number of different words with the same spelling, grammatical information, typical patterns, variant spelling, derivatives, and origins. Furthermore, there are labels that state extra information such as regional distribution, currency, level of formality, and the subject label which is an abbreviation given by a dictionary. Using bathe and buck as examples to explain; bathe /bayth/ *v. (bathes, bathing, bathed) 1 Wash by immersing one's body in water. 2Brit. Take a swim. 3 Soak or wipe gently with liquid to clean or soothe *n. a swim. -DERIVATIVES bather n. -ORIGIN Old English (64) buck1 *n. 1 The male of some animals e.g. deer and rabbits. 2 a vertical jump performed by a horse. 3 archaic a fashionable young man *v. 1 (of a horse) perform a buck. 2 go against: the shares bucked at the market trend. 3 (buck up) informal make or become more cheerful. -ORIGIN Old English buck2 *n. N.Amer. &. Austral./NZ informal a dollar. -ORIGIN Unknown (105). Bathe is stated; the pronunciation 'bayth' is given. Parts of speech, *v bathes, etc., and *n a swim, is used. Verbal inflection is also used as part of *v stated as bathes, bathing, and bathed. Next, the three different definitions are given to explain the word bathe. Regional distribution, Brit., and the derivative are expressed in this example. In the second example, differences are seen between the bathe and buck. Buck has homonym numbers, a typical pattern i.e. buck up, abbreviated location that explains where the word is used i.e. North America, currency, and informal level of formality.
Students should learn to use a dictionary for many reasons. There is a positive correlation between dictionary use and test results (Tono). Therefore it is important for them to learn to use a dictionary not for the sake of practical use in the real world but also for better test results in higher education. In addition, a dictionary is a handy tool to improve language skills and to communicate with others. Word misunderstandings arise between people; however, a dictionary clarifies these errors. Lastly, dictionary usage assists with comprehension of reading for both native speakers and non-native speakers.
An average fluent speaker knows about fifteen thousand to twenty thousand words. Can one imagine if a person learns ten words a day from a dictionary how many words he/she will know in his/her lifetime'
Soanes, Catherine. Oxford English Dictionary. 5th ed. 2002.
Tono, Yukio. "Can a Dictionary Help You Read Better'" on the
Relationship between EFL Learners´ Dictionary Reference Skills
and Reading Comprehension. 1989.