Coursebooks and materials - Dictionaries
The next item we're going to consider is the use of dictionaries and here perhaps the first thing we should do is to make a distinction between the two main types of dictionary and that distinction is between the monolingual and the bilingual dictionary. In a monolingual dictionary you have a word and its associated meaning and those two are both described for example in English so the word and the description of that word are both given in English. Whereas in a bilingual dictionary that word meaning could often be for example the word given in English and the explanation given in Thai and vice versa. So what can we use a dictionary for? Well, within the dictionary itself obviously we can get things like how words are spelled or the spelling of the word. We can also get the pronunciation of that word because most dictionaries will involve the phonemic symbols that go along with that word and it's very helpful for the students to be able to pronounce it correctly. It can also give us ideas on what part of speech that that particular word can be used for. So quite often after the word in the dictionary there will be letters like N or ADV for noun and adverb and so on and so forth. Another thing that they can do is to sometimes show you a typical context of that word. So with in some dictionaries they actually give example sentences showing how that word can fit into context. It's quite important that we don't allow students to overuse the dictionary within the classroom itself but having said that there are some very useful homework activities that we can get the students to do by using their dictionary which is much more suitable.
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