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Old 05-11-2010, 07:34 AM   #16
Kevin2960
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
I have a great love of reading 19th century novels. The 19th century was a different world, and all sorts of words which are commonplace then have completely fallen out of use today. One can sometimes guess the meaning of a word, but personally I find it a lot more satisfactory to be able to look up the actual meaning of word.

Here's an example, from Anthony Trollope's "Barchester Towers":



Now, for those of you who say that you read books without a dictionary, what is a "ha-ha"? What about a "quintain"?

I find that an easily available dictionary makes the whole process of reading such books a lot "richer", because you can look up what the author actually meant, rather than having to guess - perhaps wrongly - what these unfamiliar words mean.

Yes for me too the fantastic Dictionary on the Sony PRS-600 mainly comes into use whilst reading the Classics,

Most modern novels use wording in common use and rarely words I don't know,
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Old 05-11-2010, 12:00 PM   #17
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Maybe it's my language skills, maybe it's the authors I read, but I tend to use the dictionary in my Kindle quite a lot. It's not a necessity, but like HarryT, it makes my reading more enjoyable.
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Old 05-11-2010, 01:37 PM   #18
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I've used the dictionary on my nook once, and that was just to see it in action. I don't think I'll ever use it again. In my opinion it is a waste of resources.
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Old 05-11-2010, 01:56 PM   #19
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I like to read challenging material sometimes and the dictionary is definitely helpful for that. And occasionally I get curious about a word I presume to 'know' and discover more about it using the dictionary. For learning foreign languages, it would be especially good, but there aren't many translation dictionaries available for Kindle at this point (I have French-English and Spanish-English so far..).
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Old 05-11-2010, 02:11 PM   #20
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The only reason I wanted one was to read in French. I never use a dictionary when I read in English.

But I see Harry's point. I was on a contemporary kick for awhile and recently have been reading more classics. Even something as accessible as Sherlock Holmes had a few words that had me running to Wikipedia. I understood from the context, for example, that a brougham and a hansom were both some sort of carriage for transportation, but I did not know what the difference was. In that case though, I preferred Wikipedia to a dictionary because it helped to see a picture.
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Old 05-11-2010, 03:11 PM   #21
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I love my dictionary and use it all the time. Occasionally in contemporary books a word comes up and I don't know the meaning. And for older books there are frequently archaic words I don't know. One of the best things about my Pocketbook 360 is the support for multiple dictionaries. I use the Oxford Learners Dictionary for modern books, but Webster 1913 for old books. The Websters, while fairly useless for contemporary vocabulary, is wonderful for those archaic words that have fallen out of use.

While I never had the dictionary next to me when I read paperbooks, I am so accustomed to it now I'd really miss it. I think my reading experience is richer for it. I'd previously just try to work out the meaning by context and go on. Now I actually learn something.

-Marcy
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Old 05-11-2010, 06:28 PM   #22
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There are a million English words whose meaning I have a notion of, but maybe I don't know the difference between it and its synonyms.

My jetBook Lite comes with a dictionary, and it is very convenient to look up a word without losing one's place in the text. Unfortunately, the dictionary is unsatisfactory, and has only 10% of the words I look up.

Ironically, most of the words that I have looked up have been in the public domain books that came with the device for free. So they boast about their dictionary, and then give you free books which show that the dictionary isn't good enough!
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Old 05-11-2010, 06:47 PM   #23
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Okay, so what sort of quintain was she looking at? I'll admit you've got me stumped here, because the two meanings I know -- a jouster's training dummy and a sort of poem -- don't seem to fit the context.

As for the soft-serve cone (aka ice milk, frozen custard, and a few other things depending on location) and the parking garage (aka parking structure and that #$@#$ thing I can never find my car in) ... that's more of a regional thing. Would a dictionary sold in a particular region even have definitions of words specific to another flavor of English? For example, what definition would a US dictionary give for "pavement"?
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Old 05-11-2010, 08:42 PM   #24
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So people who don't need a dictionary, I'm assuming you know the meaning of every word in the English language? Like the other person said, a dictionary would be a prerequisite if you're reading something from the 19th Century or older. Also, many Non fiction books in a field you're not familiar with would be much more enjoyable if you had a dictionary on the ereader. I think for me its one of the primary advantages of ereaders over paper books. I hate looking up words when I come across them in a book. And looking them up afterwards is not use since the words lose their context.

I remember reading David Copperfield and having about 4 pages or a list of 200 words that I didn't know the meaning of..
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Old 05-11-2010, 10:52 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrouchoM View Post
So people who don't need a dictionary, I'm assuming you know the meaning of every word in the English language? Like the other person said, a dictionary would be a prerequisite if you're reading something from the 19th Century or older. Also, many Non fiction books in a field you're not familiar with would be much more enjoyable if you had a dictionary on the ereader. I think for me its one of the primary advantages of ereaders over paper books. I hate looking up words when I come across them in a book. And looking them up afterwards is not use since the words lose their context.

I remember reading David Copperfield and having about 4 pages or a list of 200 words that I didn't know the meaning of..
I know enough etymology, that along with the context of the sentence, I can normally deduce the meaning of the word. I don't read archaic texts that often, but I can tell you that it's been 20 years since the last time I've used a dictionary.
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Old 05-11-2010, 11:15 PM   #26
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I love my dictionary function. It's just so easy to tap-tap something and get more information on a word. Yeah, I can figure it out more or less from context. I don't NEED it, and got along just fine without keeping a dictionary at my elbow, lo these many years. But it's nice to flesh out the details from time to time.
I've been reading a pBook recently from my Grandmother's collection of old Science fiction, the second annual Nebula award winners. Great stuff. Several times, though, I find myself fighting the urge to "tap-tap" on the damn book. Not enough curiosity to get off my butt and look the word up in my pDictionary, mind you, but I sure would've if I were reading on my Touch. I'm very rarely moved to look stuff up in a print dictionary outside of word game challenges, but I use the heck out of my Touch's dictionary.....
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Old 05-12-2010, 12:39 AM   #27
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I'm with Harry on this one. A larger vocabulary is needed when reading 19th and early 20th century fiction. Language evolves and words more common back then have fallen out of current usage. I hate to stop reading to look up a word. The built in dictionary is essential.
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Old 05-12-2010, 04:26 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by GrouchoM View Post
So people who don't need a dictionary, I'm assuming you know the meaning of every word in the English language? Like the other person said, a dictionary would be a prerequisite if you're reading something from the 19th Century or older. Also, many Non fiction books in a field you're not familiar with would be much more enjoyable if you had a dictionary on the ereader. I think for me its one of the primary advantages of ereaders over paper books. I hate looking up words when I come across them in a book. And looking them up afterwards is not use since the words lose their context.

I remember reading David Copperfield and having about 4 pages or a list of 200 words that I didn't know the meaning of..
Some of us have the advantage of having learned our vocabulary from books rather than TV sitcoms. You ever play Free Rice? Before I got bored with it (which was before they increased the maximum level) I was consistently cruising at level 50. Now they've added some really obscure words, and raised the max level to 60, I can't seem to break 58. Still, that's probably better than average. But the words I get stuck on aren't even English, most of the time, so it doesn't particularly bother me. :-p

I don't know every word in the English language, but I know most of the ones likely to turn up in books. The ones I don't know, I can usually dig out by their roots or figure them out from context.

You see, back before someone invented "phonics" and taught children to read by teaching them to sound out the word, then figure out which word from their speaking vocabulary matched it, we were taught to understand the written word, not its sound. We learned to deconstruct words down to their roots, to pick up clues from context, and so on. That way, unlike today, our reading vocabulary could be much greater than our speaking vocabulary. We weren't limited by just the words we had heard and had explained to us; in fact, it used to be common for a well-read person to make goofy mistakes in trying to pronounce a word, because they'd read it for years but never heard it spoken. Now, of course, that doesn't happen; people don't understand any word they can't pronounce. But it must be a horrible way to live, forever limited by turning written words into sounds and hoping one has heard the sound before, or having to carry a dictionary to understand one's own language.
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Old 05-12-2010, 05:18 AM   #29
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So people who don't need a dictionary, I'm assuming you know the meaning of every word in the English language?
A Clockwork Orange had a lot of new words that I wasn't familiar with, but I didn't need a dictionary for that either because it was easy enough to work out what the new words meant from how they were used. If I remember right, the only ones that had a dictionary at the back were the schools editions.
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Old 05-12-2010, 05:30 AM   #30
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......in fact, it used to be common for a well-read person to make goofy mistakes in trying to pronounce a word, because they'd read it for years but never heard it spoken.....
This happens to me all the time!

My grandad used to say I didn't mispronounce words I simply got the em-PHAS-is on the wrong syl-LAB-le.

That's probably not as funny reading it as it always sounded to me hearing it. haha

Cheers,
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