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Êtes-vous prêt à découvrir les dictionnaires bilingues? If you're struggling to understand the question, you might benefit from using a bilingual dictionary! Bilingual dictionaries are an essential item in any language learner's tool kit, and now you can learn all about them too. Bilingual dictionaries are specialized dictionaries that translate words and phrases from one language to another. Many bilingual dictionaries are bidirectional, meaning…
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Êtes-vous prêt à découvrir les dictionnaires bilingues? If you're struggling to understand the question, you might benefit from using a bilingual dictionary!
Bilingual dictionaries are an essential item in any language learner's tool kit, and now you can learn all about them too.
Bilingual dictionaries are specialized dictionaries that translate words and phrases from one language to another. Many bilingual dictionaries are bidirectional, meaning they can translate to and from both languages. For example, an 'English - French' dictionary would allow the user to translate an English word to French and a French word to English.
Inside a bilingual dictionary, you will often find a word's word class (e.g., noun, verb, adjective, etc.), gender (depending on the language), pronunciation (e.g., apple = /ˈæpəl/), synonyms (similar words) and other 'clues' to help a non-native speaker get to grips with a new word.
Unlike monolingual dictionaries, bilingual dictionaries focus more on translations than definitions, but that doesn't mean you won't find any. Many of the best bilingual dictionaries will provide a translation, a definition, and a sentence containing the chosen word in context.
In an English-French bilingual dictionary, the information that accompanies the French word avion includes:
Some bilingual dictionaries may also include:
It is widely agreed that the bilingual dictionary came after the monolingual dictionary; however, exactly who created the first bilingual dictionary isn't so well known. Some linguists and lexicographers believe the first bilingual dictionaries originated in Tibet and date back to the early 9th century; however, we don't have any evidence to prove this.
Lexicographer - A person who writes and compiles dictionaries.
In more recent history, we can trace the bilingual dictionary back to the East India Company and the Dutch East India Company (the British and Dutch trading companies). Global trade and colonization made bilingual communication more important than ever. Many emissaries (a person sent abroad on a special mission) began composing language glossaries and grammar books which eventually progressed to bilingual dictionaries.
Fun fact - Walter H. Medhurst, the creator of the first English - Japanese bilingual dictionary, wrote the dictionary without ever visiting Japan!
Today, bilingual countries exist in many different languages and can be found in book form and online.
There are thousands of bilingual dictionaries in various languages available to purchase today. Unsurprisingly, the most common bilingual dictionaries include English as one of the languages.
Bilingual dictionaries can come in many different formats, such as:
software (e.g., an app)
Picture dictionary (often for children)
Travel and phrase books
Multilingual dictionaries (contain three or more languages)
Let's take a look at what an entry in an English - Spanish bilingual dictionary might look like.
casa, n. (here, the n. indicates that the word is a noun)
1. Dwelling - Casa (feminine)
The house has three bedrooms — La casa tiene tres dormitorios
2. Dynasty - Casa (feminine), Familia (feminine)
the House of Windsor — la casa de Windsor
When used correctly, bilingual dictionaries are a great way to learn and practice a new language and translate texts. Sitting and translating a text word-by-word using a bilingual dictionary probably isn't the best idea as it would be very time-consuming and likely lead to some questionable results. It's best to use bilingual dictionaries as an aid to complement language learning/teaching.
Here are a few ways you could use a bilingual dictionary:
Looking up unknown words - This one sounds obvious, but bear with us. Try reading through a text in your target language (the language you're trying to learn) and highlighting any words that seem important but you don't yet know. Next, look at the context and the surrounding words to see if you can decipher the word's meaning yourself before looking it up. Finally, look the word up in a bilingual dictionary and take note of its meaning and a sentence containing the word in context for reference.
Search for the base form of a word - Words often come in many forms and it's unlikely a bilingual dictionary will have an entry for each; therefore, you should search for the base form of a word. For example, search for big rather than bigger or to walk rather than walking. As a standard rule, the base form of a word in English is the infinitive form of a verb (e.g., to run, to sing), a singular noun (not plural), and the basic adjective (not a comparative or superlative).
It's a good idea to conduct a 'reverse look-up' (i.e., search for the word in both languages) to check the translation you've found is the word you're looking for. Remember, some words have multiple translations, so it is important to look at them in context!
There are a few challenges involved in creating and using bilingual dictionaries, such as what to include and untranslatable words or phrases. It often isn't enough to simply include words, as these can have different meanings when used within a phrase. For example, the English word pick has several meanings as a word on its own, but when paired with the word up to create the phrasal verb pick up, it takes on another whole new meaning.
Secondly, culture can play a significant role in how we translate languages. Not all words and phrases have direct cultural translations, and something that may sound utterly natural in one country or culture might sound pretty odd in another.
It's important to remember that languages are complex webs of words, phrases, grammar, and syntax, and it isn't always possible to pick individual words out and directly translate them.
Here is a handy table outlining the key differences between bilingual and monolingual dictionaries.
|Monolingual Dictionaries||Bilingual Dictionaries|
|Contains one language||Contains two languages|
|Focus on providing definitions||Focus on translation|
|Best for competent language users||Best for language learners|
|Comprehensive compilation of all words used in the language||Focus on the most common/useful words|
A bilingual dictionary helps you translate one language to another. Most good bilingual dictionaries will include a word's translation, word class, pronunciation, and sentences with the word in context in both languages.
Monolingual dictionaries contain one language and focus on giving definitions for every known word in that language. On the other hand, bilingual dictionaries focus on translation between one language and another.
A good bilingual dictionary should be bidirectional, meaning you can use it to translate between both languages. It should also include phrases that cannot be directly translated.
A dictionary that translates two languages is a bilingual dictionary.
Bilingual dictionaries are very helpful tools for language learners. They help put new words into context, give a word its word class, and tell learners how to pronounce the word correctly. They can also be quicker to use than a monolingual dictionary.
True or false, it's always possible to directly translate phrases?
Fill in the blank:
Most bilingual dictionaries are _____.
What is a lexicographer?
Someone who writes and compiles dictionaries
Why is it important to pay attention to the word class (part of speech) when using a bilingual dictionary?
Looking at the word class can confirm we are looking at the correct word, and not at a homonym (words that are spelt the same but have a different meaning).
How is a word's pronunciation usually represented in a bilingual dictionary?
Using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)
Fill in the blank:
When searching for a word in a bilingual dictionary, you should look for its ____ ____.
How can culture affect the use of bilingual dictionaries?
Some phrases are only understood in certain cultures.
Which type of dictionary is best for competent language users?
Which type of dictionary focuses on translation?
List five things a bilingual dictionary entry would likely contain.
True or false, it's a good idea to use a bilingual dictionary as the main tool for language learning?
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