Ditch The Dictionary - Communicate School

Ditch The Dictionary

study English in Manchester

When was the last time you looked up a word in a dictionary or translated a word using your mobile phone? Having worked as a teacher, I’ve noticed that students do it in every class so, for argument’s sake, let’s assume it was yesterday.

What was the last word you looked up in the dictionary? Can you remember the meaning? Can you remember the word? I’d wager a guess that you can’t remember without having to think about it. Sound true? So, what does that tell you about the way you use dictionaries or translators? 

I think they give you the immediate satisfaction that you know the word and can continue with the listening or reading text you were looking at or listening to. However, did you actually learn the word? Could you remember it? Can you use it in a sentence now? Maybe not. 

Are you using dictionaries correctly? Did you take a note of the word or its uses before moving on? Could you have understood the word from the context if you had continued with the text? Sometimes people can deduce meaning from context and understand unknown words from what the rest of the text is saying. You are more likely to remember the word if you tried to figure it out yourself. Next time scrap the translator and let your language knowledge work it out, but, if you must use a translator, takes notes of examples, collocation, translations, and meaning otherwise you are not actually learning the language. 

Ditch the dictionary (or use it properly). 

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