суббота, 16 января 2016 г.

What dictionary do you use?

Over the last month this blog, initially devoted to self-development, began to resemble a travel blog. Now it's time to join these two principal topics. What helps us when we travel abroad and can be referred to self-improvement at the same time? Yes, I am speaking about foreign languages, even though I do it in a roundabout way (if you have other suggestions about what lies at the intersection of travels and personal development, feel free to share them in the comments). Now let's turn to one of my favorite hobbies, language learning.

Core part of each language is its lexicon. In case of second-language acquisition, you have to build your vocabulary proactively. Thus, a dictionary becomes your close friend. But nowadays there are hundreds of dictionaries available in both printed and digital form. Which one to pick out?

My choice is Word Reference. Here is why I like it:

  • It has many dictionaries gathered in one place. English ↔ French, Conjugation of French verbs, English synonyms, English ↔ Russian, Explanatory English – these 5 (or 7 if you treat a dictionary with two-way translations as two dictionaries) items constitute the full set of dictionaries which I need. But Word Reference has much more: for instance, French ↔ Spanish, Explanatory Spanish, Spanish ↔ Portuguese, English ↔ Romanian, English ↔ Turkish, English ↔ Korean, etc.
  • Most articles of bilingual dictionaries of Word Reference comprise illustrative examples of a word/phrase usage in both languages. Honestly speaking, these examples are quite poor in case of English ↔ Russian dictionary, that's why I still prefer ABBYY Lingvo for this kind of translations. But I'm absolutely satisfied with the quality of examples in English ↔ French dictionary.
  • When you search for some combination of words, Word Reference provides you not only with the corresponding dictionary articles but also with the links to relevant topics on its forum. Sometimes native speakers' posts there shed light on a slight difference between the meanings of two similar words which cannot be grasped from the dictionary article. 
  • Finally, it is handy for translating when you are working in a web browser. When I want to use Word Reference I just type in the address bar a dictionary identifier and a phrase I'd like to work with. For example,
  • To turn the above-described magic on visit this page and follow the instructions.
As for you, what dictionary do you prefer and why?

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