Why do many teachers advise their students to use such things? Obviously, a monolingual dictionary is not suitable for everyone. If a person begins to learn English from scratch, then such a thing is useless. An explanatory dictionary is not suitable for students with levels Beginner and Elementary – using a monolingual dictionary in the initial stages will be difficult and inconvenient.
It is easy to explain – we are talking about an advanced tool, looking at which the flow of chaotic thoughts can overcome a beginner: how to use it, from which side to approach it, why it should be used, etc. You are wasting time trying to understand the meaning of something that is still inaccessible to you. Accordingly, you lose time that you could spend on gaining knowledge with which you could comprehend this tool. This sounds difficult, but it is really easy to understand if you have the desire to do it.
What kind of initial knowledge are we talking about? After all, we stated that in order to start using this tool, we need some base, without which we simply will not reach it. To begin with, you need to get a sufficient vocabulary to understand the explanations in English. When this mission is carried out, you will be able to boldly get down to business. We recommend using such type of a dictionary to all the rest. Why is it useful? Read below.
What Is the Use?
- You learn the meaning of a word, not a translation
When using a monolingual manual, you study not a simple translation of a word, but what it means. Thus, it will be easier for you to understand the context in which a word is used. Simple dictionaries give you a simple translation of a word and do not explain in which case it should be used. But it happens that the same concepts can have opposite meanings.
You may feel that you have learned something well, but given that it is just a separate concept taken out of context, your brain will soon realize that it is not elementary used and will wipe it from memory. Remember how often it happened that you could not remember something in your native tongue, precisely because you rarely use it and your brain is very reluctant to wipe a thick layer of dust from the right concept. Imagine what will be with a foreign language in this case.
Based on the, you will know how to correctly use a word in one context or another. Thus, you can create certain associative connections in your head that will help you not to forget what you need at the most inopportune moment.
- You learn additional words
While explaining the word, the most commonly used vocabulary of English is usually shown. Therefore, if you do not understand any word from the definition, it makes sense to learn it too – so you will get a double benefit from working with the dictionary.
- You get complete information about the concept studied
A monolingual dictionary usually contains more information about the word itself, examples of use in different meanings, idioms and phrasal verbs with it. In a simple dictionary, such information may not be available, or it is contained in a small amount.
Especially useful is the following additional information:
- Synonyms and antonyms. Studying one concept, you at the same time repeat already familiar to you or learn new ones – similar or opposite in meaning. This is very useful in order to make your speech more colourful and lively;
- In monolingual dictionaries, the most frequently used combinations of words are cited, for example, verbs with prepositions. This will allow you to learn how to use the new vocabulary competently.
- You learn to think in English, not translate
You completely immerse yourself in English and form a wonderful habit: do not translate the word mentally, but immediately think in English. The new word will be associated not with some concept of your native tongue, but with an explanation in all the same English. The information you need will appear in the mind itself and pull the other, which can also come in handy in your speech.
- You learn the periphrasis
A monolingual dictionary is an excellent springboard for training the periphrasis skill: each word in it is interpreted by other (usually simpler) ones. If necessary, you can replace the forgotten complex word with the explanations you recall from the dictionary. This skill can help you if during a conversation in English you forget something and you will need to explain its meaning in other words.
- You develop the skill of language guess
Work with a monolingual manual takes quite a long time. Therefore, while reading the text, you would rather not dig in the manual, but you will guess the meaning of unfamiliar words from the context – an important useful habit for every student studying English.
Which Manual Is Better?
Despite all advantages of a monolingual dictionary, we believe that it is still not enough for an easy and successful learning of the English language. It is best to use two dictionaries at once: monolingual and bilingual. The latter will help you, for example, if you need to find a translation of the word meaning the kind of something: the breed of cats, the kind of trees, the types of vehicles. The explanation of such words in a monolingual dictionary may not give a clear idea of what exactly they mean. In addition, many students of English notice that remembering a word is still easier if you rely on translation.
Thus, we came to the conclusion that different dictionaries are needed. Both bilingual and monolingual ones are necessary guides for every English lover.