Things to check out for when buying a dictionary
Table of Contents
Dictionary is one of the most essential things a person should have. Specifically for those that would love to increase their vocabulary. It enhances the competency of a language by a learner. It is used in schools, offices, homes, etc. They come in different forms and editions..
It is a book that gives the meaning of words. A dictionary covers all the levels of language phonology, morphology, semantics, and syntax. It takes the work of a phonologist, morphologist, semanticists, statisticians, grammarians, orthographers and etymologists to write a dictionary.
Types of Dictionary
There are four types of dictionaries.
1. Monolingual Dictionaries: Monolingual dictionaries are dictionaries that are written in one language. Languages that have a higher number of speakers like the English language. Examples of monolingual dictionaries are English dictionaries, French dictionaries, German dictionaries, Yoruba dictionaries, etc.
A language with a developed orthographic system can have a monolingual dictionary. This dictionary helps the learner or user in developing competence and fluency in a language, especially in spoken form.
2. Bilingual Dictionaries: Bi means two. Bilingual dictionaries as the name implies are written in two languages. A bilingual dictionary gives the translation of a word in a language. Mostly, the word is given in a language and the translation of the word is given in English.
For this reason, bilingual dictionaries are referred to as translation dictionaries. Sentences are not translated, only single words are translated. This dictionary type has its limitations because most things like idioms, transcription, synonyms, etc are not included. Examples of bilingual dictionaries are Ibibio-English dictionary, English-French dictionary, Spanish-English dictionary, Yoruba-English dictionary, Hausa-English dictionary.
3. Subject or Specialised Dictionary: These dictionaries are written and compiled for a particular subject, discipline or profession. All the words are defined as it suits the subject targeted.
Examples are the Nursing dictionary, Chemistry dictionary, Economics dictionary, Microbiology dictionary, Idioms dictionary, Genetics dictionary, Biology dictionary, Drugs dictionary, Slang dictionary, Literacy dictionary, etc. Almost all the fields of study have their dictionaries. You can check up for yours in the library.
4. Electronic Dictionary: It can also be called e-dictionary. Necessity is the mother of invention. Most people had found it difficult to carry big dictionaries around but invention came to solve this problem.
Nowadays, with an android phone, you can install any dictionary of your choice as long as it is online. Online dictionaries make checking for a word easier. Some online dictionaries have the pronunciation of all the words.
Qualities of a good dictionary
1. The Word: The first thing is the word. The words are usually arranged alphabetically. The words at the right and left top corners of the dictionary is called the entry words. The word on the left is the first word of
that age and the word on the right gives the last word on the page.
2. Transcription: Transcription is the phonetic articulation of a word. After the word comes to the transcription which aids in the pronunciation of the word. They are usually endorsed with a stroke at the beginning and the end. The aspect of language that deals with transcription and pronunciation is phonology.
It is important to note that not all the letters in a word are realised. They are known as silent letters. With the help of transcription, those letters are omitted. For example, in the transcription of know, bomb, gnash, the underlined letters are omitted. Transcription helps to know when a particular word has an alternative pronunciation as in schedule.
3. Grammar: This is done by a grammarian. It encompasses the word class or part of speech, gender, number, level of comparison.
4. Word meaning: The meaning of a word is presented. Most words have several meanings, the dictionary supplies these meanings. So it is the duty of the user to check the context it will fit.
5. Examples and Illustrations: Examples are formed with the words for easy comprehension. The examples are written in italics for quick identification. It also highlights the context in which the example fits.
6. Phrasal Verbs: Phrasal verbs are the combination of verbs and prepositions. They contain additional meaning. They are sometimes used as an idiomatic expressions. Each word has its own phrasal indicators. The user has to watch out for them.
7. Antonyms and Synonyms: This has to do with the words that are opposite and similar in meaning to a word. A good dictionary takes record of the synonyms and antonyms of a word.
Watch out for all these features when buying a dictionary!