Dictionary or Google Translate?!

We’re surprised to learn that most of our students are not familiar with the dictionary and how to use it. They often use google translate or get the meaning by typing the word followed by ปลว่า in the google browser.

Can you relate to it?

There’s nothing wrong with g translate, we use it almost every day for a quick check. (I use it to listen to all the things I type online if they sound awkward) But maybe we can reiterate the importance of using a Dictionary in learning English.

You might say it’s easier for people who are oriented with the Roman alphabet because of the familiarity with letter sequence compared to a Thai student who learned ตัวอักษรไทย since K1. However, it’s worth the effort for its content and the knowledge you will gain if you have patience exploring the dictionary.

It’s the same struggle when we learn Thai. Memorizing the low, middle and high consonants can be overwhelming, but it helps us pronounce the words correctly if we know the tonal rules associated with each type that goes with the vowel.

The first thing you need to keep in mind is that the dictionary is organized in alphabetical order. You need to review the sequence and remember that A comes first before B,C,D…Z. If you know this, you will not have a hard time finding a word.

For instance, we can use the online version if you find the book too intimidating.

In this example, we searched for the word “abstinence”. It shows the part of speech as a Noun (some dictionaries use abbreviation: n. = noun, adj. = adjective, v. = verb) Pronunciation is highlighted in red. There’s also an audio version to listen to.

Pronunciation rules are based on phonology and you can use this guide to get familiar with it.

If you scroll down further, it will get you to this part on how to use it in a sentence and how people use it on the web.

This is really important in learning English as a second language. If you get used to sentences and common phrases, your vocabulary will not be limited to words only but you can think like a native speaker.

When we first taught in Thailand, we’re wondering why senior high school students prefer memorizing phrases from the newspaper. We realized that it helps them to be familiar with common expressions.

As you acquire more of these words, phrases, and sentences, you’ll end up thinking like a Farang.

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