Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dictionary usage

We all know the usage and purpose of dictionary. Most of us use very often in our daily life. Dictionary gives the basic meaning of a word with other information associated to the word. I feel that it not only helps children but also adults to help strengthen to understand what we read. Here I would like to talk about traditional dictionary in a book form in my life. Most of the homes, at least when we were growing up we had dictionaries and may be even thesauruses in their book shelf. I used Oxford dictionary and also English to my native language (Indian language, telugu) dictionary. Of course, it helped me learn my mother tongue.  I used English dictionary for our homework and also to improve our vocabulary. One unique feature I like about traditional book form is that when we start looking for a word, mentally we go through the alphabetical order. In this process of searching for a word invariably we come across some word which we heard or read somewhere and start reading the meaning of that word again. Back then there were no online resources or we could not afford encyclopedia volumes, for anything dictionary was my first reference. I could find some of the extra information while just looking for the meaning. I think those words I remember are really useful. Though not a master, thankfully I am still able to communicate in English. Each subject or each category has its own dictionary in print and online. With the advent of various online resources, I just type a word and get the meaning with a click. Digital dictionary is desirable for quick and fast reference either online or offline to me. Today, dictionary in book format has become a story of the past for youth.
“Words-so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne

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