5 Ways Dictionaries Can Help You Master Language Skills

As an international student, you may be facing the challenge of learning or perfecting another language. You might have learning tools or programs but is there something simple that can help you? There is, and it's called a dictionary.

Take a look at how dictionaries can enhance your language skills!

  1. Pronunciation

  2. Letters and symbols will give you indications in how you are supposed to pronounce a word. Or, some letters may be silent in certain words. For example, the "et" in buffet sounds like "A" and the typical sounds for "e" and "t" are silent. You might not know these clues and may unintentionally mispronounce words. Thankfully, the dictionary actually shows you how to pronounce a word – just in case it is tricky!

  3. Definition and Translations

  4. One of the biggest reasons why dictionaries are used is because they provide definitions to words so you can understand them if you don't know their meanings. This is helpful for translating information – especially if you are using a bilingual dictionary. It is important to remember that a word can have multiple meanings. For example, the word engaged can mean that a couple is set to marry or someone's attention is captivated by something.

  5. Spelling

  6. When you are learning another language, you will be introduced to new letters and symbols that are going to make up how a word is spelled. You might know how to pronounce a word but that does not mean the spelling is the same. Going back to the word buffet, it is not spelled the way it sounds. Also, some words are just complicated – like honorificabilitudinitatibus. Dictionaries can help you verify your spelling.

  7. Grammar

  8. One of the toughest things about language is grammar. Between numerous rules and proper placements, there is a lot of room for errors. However, dictionaries help to straighten that out for you – especially with words that sound similar but have different spelling and meanings. For example, your and you're are easily mistaken for one another but actually fall into improper grammar if used incorrectly.
    Your is possessive so it would mean "that is your phone". You're is short for "you are" so you would say "you're getting a phone".

  9. Examples

  10. You can read all the definitions available and study what words are used for, but sometimes, directions just don't make sense unless there is a visual example to reference. If you are struggling with the meaning or usage of a certain word, find it out in the dictionary. Often, it will have one or more written examples of how the word is incorporated in the English – or other – language. That way, you can ensure that you are mastering your new language effectively.

Mastering a language can be tough, especially when it isn't your mother tongue. However, you can easily enhance your skills by using a dictionary. Get one today and start learning!


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