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Reading Literature & Vocabulary

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ProfArguelles
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foreignlanguageexper
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 Message 9 of 39
13 April 2005 at 8:59am | IP Logged 
Souley, you yourself and others have already largely answered your second pointed question. Yes, the main problem with using a dictionary to read is that it slows you down so much that the entire process becomes discouraging. While electronic dictionaries may speed up the process to a certain degree when you are reading electronic texts, it still remains, and there is also the fact that most electronic dictionaries are not yet anywhere near as thorough and reliable as printed ones. Guillaume also righly points out that it is not desirable to translate words into your native tongue, as a dictionary forces you to do. Yet another reason that has not been mentioned is the fact that most words are polyvalent, and if you are so uncertain in a text that you need to use a dictionary to hack your way through it, you are probably not in a position to select the desired meaning from among the options.
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heartburn
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 Message 10 of 39
13 April 2005 at 10:03am | IP Logged 
Ardaschir, does that also mean that when you do use a dictionary, you prefer a monolingual one over a bilingual one? For me, it's still very difficult to use a monolingual dictionary. I find myself looking up an endless chain of words trying to understand the definitions. Can you tell us your feelings about monolingual versus bilingual dictionaries?

Edited by heartburn on 13 April 2005 at 1:07pm

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victor
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 Message 11 of 39
13 April 2005 at 3:42pm | IP Logged 
I have seen some bilingual definition dictionaries, in Chinese we would call them ˫ʵ (shuangjie cidian), i.e., the definitions come in both your native tongue and the target language.

Would there be advantages to those? (There are more and more of those these days, as well as in those electronic dictionaries. )

Edited by victor on 14 April 2005 at 4:46pm

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ProfArguelles
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foreignlanguageexper
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 Message 12 of 39
14 April 2005 at 1:13am | IP Logged 
There is a time and a place for both monolingual and bilingual dictionaries. For the kind of advanced reading of literature that we are talking about here, certainly a monolingual dictionary is preferable. However, if you have to keep looking up chains of words in order to understand things, then there is no point in using one. Bilingual pocket dictionaries are most useful when you first travel about in a land where a foreign language is spoken. Larger bilingual dictionaries are always useful as office reference tools for checking the accuracy of translations and for those moments when you for some reason want to know how to say X in such and such a language.
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administrator
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 Message 13 of 39
14 April 2005 at 2:35am | IP Logged 
Although I would agree that a good printed dictionary is at present the most complete and accurate source, I must say that the Lingvo Russian dictionaries are of very good quality. Not only do they list many different meanings for each word, but they also give a wealth of idiomatic expressions with their translations. However, it does not list tonal accents as the dictionaries were obviously written for the Russians themselves.

I think that in coming years such electronic dictionaries will become an increasingly credible option for help when reading classical litterature.
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czech
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 Message 14 of 39
25 April 2005 at 11:56am | IP Logged 
Ardaschir, I have been trying what you said with reading books that I have in English in the target language. But I have not found any luck as far as remembering the words. How do you read it?

Do you read a whole chapter several times in both languages or just take it a paragraph at a time ? ( I have been doing the latter.)





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yoyo
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 Message 15 of 39
27 April 2005 at 7:03pm | IP Logged 
I have been reading through target-language materials doing a couple pages a day. I repeat the same thing the next day, reading one paragraph farther, while starting one paragraph further. This way I have some new material each day but also get to review it for some days which seems to help with retention.
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ProfArguelles
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foreignlanguageexper
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 Message 16 of 39
01 May 2005 at 8:10pm | IP Logged 
Czech, I am very sorry for the delayed response. You can start with a paragraph, or even a sentence, at a time, and work up to a chapter and then a whole book. As I wrote before, eventually you should read the translation and then rest for a while before reading the original to strenthen your memory. Initially, however, you should read the translated paragaph or sentence, then immediately afterwards the original one. You should definitely read the original aloud, and it may help to do this with the English as well. Likewise, it may very likely be helpful to read with your hands as well as your voice, i.e., by following the lines with your fingers. I am not sure what you mean by not having any luck remembering the meaning of the words, but I don't think you should be making any conscious effort to do this at this point.


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