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Come on be honest, how many of you actually own a dictionary these days? It’s just way too easy to just google the word and it will not only tell you the meaning but give you a nice audio of the correct pronunciation.
But right now if you are an ESL teacher or student, the whole dictionary question is still left out in the open. These days fortunately there are a range of different types of dictionaries at different levels. For example here are just a few different samples:
- Advanced dictionary
- Basic ESL dictionary
- Standard dictionary
- Picture dictionary
- Children’s dictionary
- Language-language dictionary (e.g. English-Arabic)
Just to name a few.
So if you are going to look up a word (which you have seen somewhere) and wanted to know what it meant, if you looked the word up on google, it would simply give you the standard dictionary response – and yes with some nice audio pronunciation. But if you wanted to know the Arabic equivalent, or if you wanted it explained with more examples, or with added sentences to show different meanings, the whole thing starts to get a lot more complicated. In other words, you would need to find other sites to give you what you need. This all takes time.
With a hand held dictionary, you know where you are starting from the kick off. For example, as an ESL student you may wish to buy yourself a Basic ESL dictionary. This way you can be sure that the word that you look up will give you a meaning and example at a level of English that is basic and clear for you.
Same goes for if you are looking for the Arabic meaning. You will definitely be more likely to jump to that dictionary from the start to help you.
So at this point I would say dictionaries are still important but only really if you are a ‘specialised’ reader, or if you want a very comprehensive understanding of the word at hand.
Dictionaries do have a rather tough job ahead of them though, and so in response, have gone very tech also, which is very wise.
Google is really for the proficient English speakers in every way you look at it, and right now we don’t have complete competence around the world, so for the time being – it looks like dictionaries are here to stay, but the distant future? Who knows…..