A dictionary gives more than the meaning of a word. When we look up a word in the dictionary, we may also find information about pronunciation, the part of speech, and different forms of the word. We may also find a sentence to help us to understand the word.
The dictionary is an important tool for you to help building a person’s reading skills. Here is what we can find in most dictionaries:
Ø The different meanings of word
Ø How to spell a word
Ø Whether or not a word is capitalized
Ø How to break down a word into syllables
Ø How to pronounce a word
Ø How a word fits into the English system of grammar (what part of speech it is, verb, noun, adjective and so forth)
Ø How to spell a special plural or verb form of a word, or how to abbreviate a word.
Ø A sentence or expression that uses a word correctly.
Ø The meaning of important prefixes and suffixes
Ø The special usage of a word
Ø A word that means the same as a word that you look up (synonym)
Ø A word that means the opposite of a word that you look up (antonym)
Ø The origin of a word
Ø Different meanings from the same root word.
There are many basic layout and terminologies in dictionary that we need to know. I have taken a page from a book to introduce the basic layout and terminology of dictionary.
(taken from: Dictionaries, Oxford University Press, 1998)
It is good for us to have our own vocabulary log. We can also use our dictionary to learn important information about English words. Use a dictionary to look up the new words. In the Vocabulary Log section, write:
(Taken from Tapestry: Reading 1, 200
Some dictionary Pointers
Ø Review your skill with alphabetical order. Can you arrange words correctly?
Ø Use the guide words. They save your time.
Ø Check all abbreviations and symbols in the special section.
Ø If you look up a word and it’s not where you expect it to be, don’t think it’s not in your dictionary! Check under several possible spellings. If you couldn’t spell the word crime, for example, the sound of the word might suggest these spellings:
If you couldn’t spell the word, you might have to check them all before you found crime!
Ø Test the meaning that you find for the word in the sentence in which the word appears. You may not have picked a definition that works for the word as you want to use it.
Ø Try to say the word aloud after you look at the pronunciation key.
1. Order of the Alphabet
Put the words in this list in correct alphabetical order. Rewrite them on the blank lines.
2. Guide words
If the guide words on top of a dictionary page are single and skeleton, circle the words you would expect to find on that page.
3. Guide word
Under each numbered pair of guide words appear several other words. circle each word that you would expect to find on a page that shows the guide words.
discourage discrete discover
b. shirring/ shoot
shook shirt shop
4. One word, several meanings
Each word that follows has several different meanings. Look up each word in a dictionary and write at least two different definitions. After each definition, write a sentence that uses the word correctly. Use your own paper.
5. Pronouncing Words
Use your dictionary to check the correct way to pronounce these words.
6. Practice in Dictionary Skills
Using the sample from a dictionary on page 53, answer the following questions.
a. what is the plural of aviary?
b. What is the origin of the word avouch?
c. Which three words or abbreviations are written with a capital letter?
d. Circle the words whose a sound is the same as the a sound in pat: avid, avoid, axiom, avocado, avow
e. What is an aviary?
f. What part of the world does the dialect Avestan come from?
g. Where would you find more information about using the word awaken correctly?
h. Write the plural of avocado?
i. What do you think aviarist means? It appears under the word aviary. However, aviarist is not defined. Why not?
j. The symbol is a schwa. A schwa stands for a vowel sound in a syllable that is not accented. Find three words in which schiwas are used to show pronunciation.
7. A Dictionary Review
using a good dictionary, find the answers to these questions.
SKIMMING AND SCANNING
LISTENING FOR MAIN IDEAS