How to use dictionary
2. Types of dictionaries and their content
3. Kinds of dictionaries:
1. general dictionaries;
2. special dictionaries:
1. bilingual dictionaries;
2. explanatory dictionaries;
3. etymological dictionaries;
4. dictionaries of synonyms;
5. phraseological dictionaries;
6. pronouncing dictionaries;
7. spelling dictionaries
4. How to use a dictionary. Dictionaries entries.
5. The encyclopedic material of some American dictionaries.
7. The list of literature.
Dictionaries are tools, and they are much more complicated, and capable of
many more uses then we suspect. All of us know students need encouragement
and guidance in the use of dictionaries. Some students are able to use
their dictionaries with anything like efficiency. Certainly there must be
very few of those who come up through the grades these days who are not
familiar with the details of looking up words in dictionaries, but it is
one thing to find a word in a dictionary and quite another to understand
fully information there given about it. Linguists and lexicographers have a
matter with dictionaries. Every linguist with an interest in the
quantitative properties of language will on some occasion be faced with
some form of the ultimate question in the word numbers game: ”How many
words did Shakespeare use?”, “How many words are there in the English
language?” “How many words should a dictionary have?” The first question,
at least, has a definite although not simple answer: Shakespeare’s complete
works consist of a total of 884647 words of text containing a grand total
of 29066 different words including proper names. But on the question ”How
many words should a dictionary have” it is very difficult to answer. Every
dictionary has a different number of words. On the contrary lexicographers
have a task to record the meanings of words, the task of arranging these
meanings in the orderthey think will be of most help to those who use their
work. Different editors solve this problem of arrangement in different
ways. In the prefatory part of any dictionary you will find some indication
of the plan that has been followed in arranging the meanings. In the
Werriam-Webster dictionaries the meanings are arranged as far as possible,
in the order in wich they arose. In those dictionaries, the first meanings
given are the earliest a word is known to have had, and the more modern
meanings come later. The arrangement of meanings is difficult, that’s why
the only safe course is to examine the forematter of the dictionary to see
what plan has been followed.
Dictionary is a book that contains a selected list of words arranged in
alphabetical order. It explains their meanings and gives information about
them. In a dictionary a person can look up a word quickly, discover what it
means and learn how it is prononced.
Dictionaries give the meanings of many kinds of words. Most modern
dictionaries describe the facts of a language as educated speakers and
writers use it. They are called descriptive dictionaries because a
dictionary editor does not change the facts of a language. Many older
dictionaries tried to prescribe rules, some of wich did not agree with the
way people commonly talked or wrote. These books are called prescriptive
dictionaries. Most general dictionaries include:
1) the ordinary words of everyday life, such as bread, run and with;
2) literary words used as aggregation, despoil, incontrovertible;
3) thechnical word, such as starboard, gene and ratio;
4) words used chiefly on informal occasions, such as gap and wimp;
5) words used in writing to give an old-fashioned flavor, such as aweary
6) words not used today but found in the writtings of some authors, such
as plaister for plaster;
7) words or phrases form other languages, such as coup d’etat from
French, tofu from Japanese and barrio from Spanish.
8) Idioms, such as split hairs and unter the thumb of;
9) Abbreviations, such as U.S.A., Kans., and p.;
10)Important propernames, such as Buddha and Jupiter.
No dictionary records all the words of our language. In fact, no one
knows exatly how many words there are. Besides ordinary words used in
evereryday speech, the English language includes thousands of geaografical
names; hundreds of thousands of technical terms, including more than 750000
names of inspects alone. New words are coined for newscientifiv and
technical discoveries, and slang words and specific vocabularies constantly
spring up. As nations draw closer together through trade and travel,
satellite communication, and sharing of technology, languages tend to
borrow more and more words from each other. That is why dictionary editors
must be selective in the words they decide to include.
Most dictionaries tell us much more than just the meanings of words.
Many list pronunciations, derivations, refixes and suffixes, illustrative
quotations, synonyms and other information. The illustration articles in
dictionaries show in detail what dictionaries contain.
Dictionaries may be clasified as general dictionaries and special
dictionaries. A general dictionary contains information on everyday words
such as it and the. But it also defines many technical terms, such as
chromatografhy and columella. A specialized dictionary omits most everyday
terms, and limits itself to information on words used in a particular
field, such as biology.
General dictionaries range in size from small pocket dictionaries to
large multivolume or table dictionaries. The number of entries in general
dictionary depends, on its purpose. Each dictionary is designed to answer
the questions of a certain type of reader. The World Book Dictioanry is an
example of a dictionary designed for family use. The largest general
dictionaries may contain over 400000 entries when a dictionary has this
many entries, many absolete and technical terms are included. Other general
dictionaries may have from 15000 entries to 200000 entries.
Specialized dictionaries are designed to give more information in
particular fields than general dictionaries can. Dictionaries of this kind
can be divided into such group as:
1) Explanatory dictionaries
2) Etymological dictionaries
3) Dictionaries of synonyms
4) Phraseological dictionaries.
Besides, such dictionaries can be mentioned as historical dialectal.
Bilingual or translating dictionaries reresent the most ordinary,
widespread type. They contain words and expressions of the native language
and their foreign equivalents, or vice-versa. (the English-Russian
dictionary by V. K. Miller, etc)
Explanatory dictionaries give definitions of word meanings. In fact to a
certain extent they acquaint us with the history of vocabulary development.
The explanation are given in the same language, so they are one-language
dictionaries, as it were. For example “Webster’s New World dictionary of
the American language”, Webster’s “New International dictionary of the
English language” are usually considered to be the most available and
popular editions. But the greatest authority, naturally, and the most
comprehensive is The New English dictionary on Historical Principles.
Etymological dictionaries state the origin of words. If borrowed, the
source of borrowing and the original form are given, with all the
subsequent changes in meaning and usage. If native, the Anglo-Dakon form is
given together with the history of word development paralel forms in other
Gemanic languages. Skeat’s Etymological dictionary is believed to be one of
the most widely used.
Dictionaries of synonymes give either groups of synonyms without any
explanations of difference in shades of meaning or usage, as concise
dictionaries usually do, or as in full-size synonymic dictionaries, one can
find lengthy definitions of every synonym that the group contains with even
directions as to how to use them. The dictionary of this kind is the
Webster’s dictionary of synonyms. It does not give any etymological or
historical information but it supplies very detailed and extensive
explanations of the subtlest shades of meaning that synonyms differ in. The
lists of synonymes are much more exhaustive than in the earlier
dictionaries of synonymes (e. g. amiable, lovable, gracious, cordial,
affable, genial, warm-hearted, warm, responsive, kind, tender, kindly,
Phraseological dictionaries deal with phraseological group of a certain
language(“English Idioms” by W. G. Smith, “English Idioms and how to use
them” by W. McMordie etc)
The best known phonetical dictionary is “An English Pronouncing
Dictionary” by Jones. Among dialectal dictionaries the “Slang Dictionary”
by Chatto and Windus is famous. It is also called “Ethymological,
Historical and Anecdotal”.
Before using a dictionary, one should become familiar with the metods,
principles, and scope of the book because various dictionaries are arranged
in different ways. Many American dictionaries are arranged in different
ways. Many american dictionaries arrange all entries in a single
alphabetical list. Others put abbreviations, geographical and biographical
names, and foreign words and phrases in separate lists, usually at the end
of the book. All good dictionaries today have introductory sections that
explain what the book contains and how it is arranged.
First of all let us now look carefully at some dictionary entries in an
effort to secure from them all the information they contain. We shall begin
by looking closely at the entry anecdote in the College edition of
Webster’s New World Dictionary.
an.ec.dote(an’ik-dot’), n, [Fr. ;ML. Anecdota;Gr. Anekdota, neut. Pl. of
anecdots unpublished;an-, not+ekdotos