English Language SS1

Week 2

Topic: USE OF DICTIONARY

DICTIONARY

A dictionary is a collection of words in one or more specific languages, often listed alphabetically with usage of information, definitions, etymologies, phonetics, pronunciation, translation, and other information. It is also a book of words in one language with their equivalents in another, also known as a lexicon. It is a lexicographical product designed for utility and function, curated with selected data, presented in a way that shows inter-relationships among the data.

Dictionary is usually understood to refer to a monolingual general-purpose dictionary.

CATEGORIES OF DICTIONARY

  • General dictionary
  • Specialized dictionary

Specialized dictionary doesn’t contain information about words that are used by ordinary people in everyday situations. Lexical items that describe concepts in specific fields are usually called terms instead of words.

General dictionary is supposed to be semasiological, mapping word to definitions, while specialized dictionary is supposed to be onomasiological, first identifying concepts and then establishing the terms used to designate them. In practice, the two approaches are used for both types.

There are other types of dictionaries that don’t fit neatly in the above distinction, for instance bilingual (translation) dictionaries, dictionaries of synonyms (thesauri), or rhyming dictionaries, Encyclopedic dictionaries. The word dictionary (unqualified) is usually understood to refer to a monolingual general-purpose dictionary.

USES OF DICTIONARY

  1. It tells one the meaning of words
  2. It ensures that you learn how to spell new words
  3. It also helps you with the correct oral translation/pronunciation of words

A dictionary is essential for finding the meaning of words and it has the capacity of defining words and phrases including multiple meaning.

WHAT A DICTIONARY DOES

A dictionary will give you the following information about a word:

  1. How to spell the word and its special plural form
  2. Whether or not the word is capitalized or abbreviated
  3. How to break the word into syllables
  4. How to pronounce the word
  5. The part of speech of a word
  6. Different meanings that the word has, as well as synonyms (same meaning) and antonyms (opposite meaning)
  7. A sentence or expression with the word used correctly
  8. The meanings of important prefixes and suffixes
  9. The special uses of the word
  10. The history of the word
  11. Other words derived from the main word

Special sections in some dictionaries tell you about:

  1. Foreign words and phrases
  2. Abbreviations
  3. Addresses of colleges or government offices
  4. The population of cities and countries

Applying the following pointers will save time when you use a dictionary:

  1. Know and use proper alphabetical order
  2. Use guide words to save time
  3. Check all abbreviations and symbols in the special sections
  4. If at first you don’t succeed in finding the word, don’t give up. You might need to check several possible spellings before finding the word
  5. Substitute the meaning you find for the word in the sentence. Be sure you select the most appropriate meaning, not merely the first one you come to
  6. Try saying the word aloud after you look at the pronunciation key.

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