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Old 05-11-2010, 12:10 AM   #1
Xanthe
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Question The Dictionary Issue

In a lot of threads I read that people consider having a dictionary in their ereader a necessary item. I don't happen to have one in mine and I don't miss it at all; I rarely have to look up words when I'm reading to begin with.

So I was wondering, for those of you who mainly just read books in your own language, how often do you really have to look up words? I can understand the need for dictionary translation when you're reading something in a language other than your native one, but for everyday reading, is a dictionary really such a critical item?
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Old 05-11-2010, 12:56 AM   #2
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Mine doesn't have dictionary support and it's something I would like as I think I would use it. I like to know the exact meaning of any words I'm unfamiliar with but would not stop reading to go find a pbook dictionary and look them up. Too lazy or too engrossed in the book to take the time.

However, I find I can usually work out the general meaning of a word I don't know from the context so it's not a huge deal to me.

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PKFFW

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Old 05-11-2010, 02:20 AM   #3
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I've never seen the need for a dictionary. I don't keep one at my fingertips when I'm reading a printed book, so why should I need one for an ebook? That has always struck me as a feature thrown in just because it was easy and made the device sound more sophisticated, plus it gives the feature-counting sort of reviewers more to count.

(oh, and it's "engrossed")
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Old 05-11-2010, 03:32 AM   #4
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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":

Quote:
Thus clad, she peered out into the tent, went to the ha-ha, and satisfied herself that at any rate the youngsters were amusing themselves, spoke a word to Mrs. Greenacre over the ditch, and took one look at the quintain.
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.
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Old 05-11-2010, 03:38 AM   #5
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I rarely need a dictionary for my own language. However, I can imagine a lot of parents with younger readers that would like to have the option available. If ebook readers were worth something to scholarly reading, I would suppose that some students would need to use a dictionary to decipher some of the more contrived academic writing out there as well. Or, as Harry pointed out, you like to read books that use deprecated vernacular, it can be handy to understand variants (like the word nice for instance).

As you said, second-language readers could find it enormously valuable. I'd love to have a fast reader with convenient input and stardict or lingoes dictionary support. I use it a lot when reading my second or third language on the PC, and I would love to have it on a nice fast epaper device.

But for a typical disposable novel in my native language? Not really that useful to me. Of course, I hate the fact that much of my epaper reading is limited to precisely that.

Last edited by LDBoblo; 05-11-2010 at 03:41 AM.
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Old 05-11-2010, 03:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worldwalker View Post
I don't keep one at my fingertips when I'm reading a printed book, so why should I need one for an ebook?
I don't either. But having the lookup possibility on the reader has proven a real boon even if I use it seldom. Whenever I decide to replace my current reader, a built-in dictionary will be a must-have item.
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Old 05-11-2010, 04:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Now, for those of you who say that you read books without a dictionary, what is a "ha-ha"? What about a "quintain"?
I know what a ha-ha is since reading Pratchett.

And know that I've got that out of my system, I used to have (and regularly use) a dictionary while having the Mobipocket firmware on my Cybook. But since I switched to the ePub firmware, which doesn't support dictionaries, I have to say I don't really miss having a dictionary. I just look things up in another dictionary, be it on paper or on the computer.
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Old 05-11-2010, 04:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
I know what a ha-ha is since reading Pratchett.
Ah, another avid pratechttarian.

But you should clarify a bit: You learned what a ha-ha is by coming across the ho-ho.

Back on topic:

A find my usage of a dictionary very varying. So sometimes I will miss it while reading on a device which does not support one, but most of the time I don't use it.

Result for now: I put one or two on my smartphone and since this is with me most of the time I now tend to look things up there ...

Last edited by beachwanderer; 05-11-2010 at 04:46 AM.
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Old 05-11-2010, 05:02 AM   #9
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I only saw the dictionary in my Sony 600 as an extra perk before I owned it, but I use it much more than I thought I would. Of course I didn't read a paperback book with a dictionary always at hand but as long as it's there I use it.

I agree with another poster who said that any other reader I get, a dictionary will be necessary, now that I've gotten used to having one.
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Old 05-11-2010, 05:04 AM   #10
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(oh, and it's "engrossed")
Spelling never was my best subject in school!
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Old 05-11-2010, 05:09 AM   #11
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Ah, another avid pratechttarian.

But you should clarify a bit: You learned what a ha-ha is by coming across the ho-ho.
I wouldn't cal myself avid or even pratchettarian. But I read and enjoyed almost all of the discworld books.
And I believe you don't come across a ho-ho, it's more a falling into it.
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Old 05-11-2010, 05:16 AM   #12
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And I believe you don't come across a ho-ho, it's more a falling into it.


Well, if you wouldn't have come across, you wouldn't be here to tell, don't you think?

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Old 05-11-2010, 05:23 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by beachwanderer View Post


Well, if you wouldn't have come across, you wouldn't be here to tell, don't you think?

I do carry a reader around, and, as we are well aware, libraries do peculiar things to time and space.

(I'll stop with the thread hijacking now, I promise!)
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Old 05-11-2010, 06:08 AM   #14
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I had one on my PDA when I was using that as a reader, but don't have one now. I can't say I've missed it. You can usually get enough of a gist about an unusual word or phrase to make a reasonable guess at what it means.

I did need to look up what a "parking garage" was the first time I came across it, and "soft serve cone" had me stumped until the next morning when I looked at one on Google images.
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Old 05-11-2010, 06:29 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xanthe View Post
So I was wondering, for those of you who mainly just read books in your own language, how often do you really have to look up words? I can understand the need for dictionary translation when you're reading something in a language other than your native one, but for everyday reading, is a dictionary really such a critical item?
There's a problem with this sentence. My everyday reading is not in my own language I mean, I'm Spanish but my e-readers (in almost a year) hasn't known an Spanish book, and, in the two years before, my PDA has known very few Spanish books
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