Saturday, July 24, 2010

Choose a Good Dictionary about Vocabulary

Expanding your vocabulary
To develop one’s vocabulary is not as difficult as you first believe. A number of straightforward activities can facilitate familiarisation and understanding. Many strategies for learning vocabulary are also present in software products, such as those developed by Ultimate Vocabulary.
Expanding your vocabulary is no easy task. But you can make headway if you learn how to use a dictionary properly.
Let's say you have just read or heard a word unfamiliar to you. How do you use a dictionary to help you remember the new word?
Choose a Good Dictionary
In expanding your vocabulary, you first need a good dictionary. For Australian English, try the Macquarie Dictionary. For British English, try the Oxford English Dictionary. For US English, try Websters. Keep the dictionary close by, consult it carefully and often.
How NOT to Use the Dictionary
Most of us dictionaries unproductively. Assume you look up your dictionary for the meaning of a word. Of the various definitions the dictionary gives, you disregard all of them except the definition that makes sense of the word in the context in which you heard it or saw it, or which fits your preconception of the word's meaning. As the authors of The Century Vocabulary Builder say, "At best you have tided over a transitory need, or have verified a surmise." You have not really learned the word; you have not "so fixed it in memory that henceforth, night or day, you can take it up like a familiar tool. "Fixing a word in memory" involves effort and application. You must use a dictionary intelligently.
Choose Good Dictionary about Vocabulary

The Secret to Using a Dictionary
A big secret to using a dictionary to expand your vocabulary is finding the original meaning of the word. If the word comes from Old English or from a foreign language, look at the word's origin. You will find this information (called etymology) inside brackets or parentheses following the word or at the end of the list of definitions. For example, you may find the Latin, Greek, French, German, Italian, or other word that your word came from.
Having found your word's original meaning, get this original meaning into your head; the original meaning is one of the really significant things about the word and really helps in expanding your vocabulary.
Next,find the modern mea find the modern meaning of the word. Look through the modern definitions. Your word might have too many definitions, or the differences between the meanings might be too subtle, for you to keep all the meanings clearly in mind. But do not worry about this. Consider those different meanings, but focus mainly on the drift or the central meaning of the word.
You now know the original meaning of the word and its central meaning today. The two meanings might be the same or they might be completely different. But you should be able to see some sort of connection between the two meanings. When you have done this, you have mastered the word. From the two meanings you can work out the other meanings, wherever and whenever you find them, since the other meanings are just outgrowths and applications of the original meaning and the modern meaning. By using a dictionary in this way, you will expand your vocabulary.
Modern vocabulary-expanding tools
Similar ideas underlie modern vocabulary-expanding tools. For example, Ultimate Vocabulary hooks into online etymology databases, making it easy for you to see the original meaning and origin of a word. Ultimate Vocabulary also has a comprehensive dictionary that uses Princeton University's "WordNet" database for the software's backend.
Are you having difficulty learning English? Are you saying to yourself "If only I could learn English better, I could do so much more."? If you are answering yes to these questions, I'm sure you're wondering how you can do that. In this article, I would like to explain some problems many English learners face, and ways to improve your English that are simple and can be fun at the same time

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