ix) General information.
i) Spelling Many students find English spelling very confusing. So what do you do? Consult your dictionary. It will clarify your confusion by showing you the different spellings of the same word.
Look at the words catalogue and theatre. You must have noticed that the dictionary lists both BRE and AE/US spelling of the words. Both are correct.
Exercise (i) Spelling:
Use the dictionary to answer the following questions about spelling.
a) What other possible spellings does your dictionary give for these words?
b) Does your dictionary say anything about the spelling ‘humor’ and ‘rumor’?
Students have problems in pronouncing English words. A dictionary will help you learn the pronunciation of any word but only if you are familiar with the symbols in which they are written. We will discuss this in greater detail in the next lesson.
All language dictionaries carry a pronunciation key/table. Be sure to read it.
(iii) Part of speech
All dictionaries indicate the part of speech a word belongs to - whether the word is commonly used as a Noun, Pronoun, Verb (transitive, intransitive), Adjective, Adverb, Conjunction, or Preposition etc.
iv) Origin of Words
Some dictionaries indicate the origin and derivation of a word before it became an English word.
(v) Meaning/ Explanation / Definition of words
The most important information that a dictionary provides about a word is its meaning. Most of the words have many meanings or shades of meaning. Do not just read the first listed meaning of the word you are looking for. Go down the numbered list. Look for the meaning that best suits the context in which the word is used.
Also look up words above and below the word that you are looking for. You will find that words are often closely related. It will help to extend your recognition of the word in other forms and contexts.
Exercise (v-a) Meaning:
Look up the words ‘fast’ and ‘set’ in a dictionary. Write the total number of different meanings of each word. Include all the numbered and lettered meanings for each part of speech.
Meaning/ Explanation / Definition of words. Use the dictionary to find the specific meanings of the word ‘play’ in each of the following:
1. The boys like to play on the hard court.
2. Amna will play the sitar in the concert.
3. The play produced by the arts club was a success.
4. It was a clever play that won the football game.
5. The gardener played the hose on the flower beds.
6. A ‘week without water can make one weak’ is a play on words.