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Let's talk more about thinking in English. But first, let's talk about dictionaries: every English student's best friend, right? Most languages are made up of words and a dictionary is a great way to learn new words. Here's my question for you. Are you using a bilingual dictionary or a monolingual dictionary? First of all, what does that even mean?
Let me explain. Bilingual means two languages. A bilingual dictionary is written partly in English and partly in your native language. You can look up a word in English and find the word in your native language that means the same thing. Monolingual means one language. A monolingual dictionary is written completely in one language. You already know where this is going, right? If you're not using a monolingual dictionary, you're making a mistake!
Now, let's get back to thinking in English. The goal is for your brain to connect English words with images, ideas and feelings, not words in your native language. That's how you avoid translating everything that you see or hear into your first language. That's how you start thinking in English. When you look up an English word in a bilingual dictionary, the first thing that you connect with this new English word is a word in your native language. That's not the best thing to do if you want to think in English.
If you look up that same word in a monolingual dictionary, the first thing that you connect with this new English word is other English words, hopefully words that you understand. That's perfect if you want to learn how to think in English. Now, there are times when a bilingual dictionary is useful, so don't set yours on fire yet! I'm suggesting that you shouldn't ALWAYS use a bilingual dictionary. Try a monolingual dictionary first. If that doesn't help you, then go to a bilingual dictionary.
I know what some of you are thinking right now. I understand your point, Patricia, but monolingual dictionaries are so hard to understand. Yes! They are, if you use a monolingual dictionary for native speakers. Unless you're pretty advanced, I don't recommend that. Instead, you should find a monolingual dictionary that's made for language students. That will be much easier for you to understand. And of course, I did some research and found a great one to show you guys.
Here are the links:
iPhone or Android
This dictionary uses simple language to explain what words mean. It has recordings so that you can hear how each word is pronounced in American AND British English. You can also listen to complete sentences read by native speakers. And the sentences are simple enough for English students to understand. Are you wondering if a noun is countable or uncountable? This dictionary will tell you that too!
Give this dictionary a try or do some research and find another monolingual dictionary that you like. If you find a good one, share it with me in the comments below. I'd love to share it with my other students.
Don't forget to read my OTHER article about thinking in English!
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