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Dictionary Skills 


Course number & Code: Najd 193

Course title: Dictionary Skills / Contact hours: 2

References: Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (A.S. Hornby et.al eds.)

Use Your Dictionary: A Practice Book for Users of Oxford Advanced

Learner’ Dictionary

Dictionaries. The Art and Craft of Lexicography, CUP

Linguistics and Bilingual Dictionaries, Al-kasimi, Leiden, E. J. Brill.

A Thesaurus

A Specialized Dictionary

Two Bilingual Dictionaries



Looking up words in monolingual dictionaries

Learning word pronunciation, stress, spelling, class, and meaning

Developing the attitude that there is no perfect synonymy and being aware of shades of meaning when writing, speaking, and translating

Using efficiently a bilingual dictionary

Developing caution in using a bilingual or specialized dictionary


Content and objectives

The aim of this course is to familiarize students with visual aids and symbols, abbreviations, order of entries, and cross-references used in dictionaries. The course focuses in particular on dictionary use and its relations to (i)- writing, e.g. alternative spellings, inflected forms, acronyms and abbreviations, word divisions, (ii)- speaking, e.g. sounds, phonetic symbols of consonants, vowels, stress, (iii) grammar, e.g. countable/uncountable nouns, regular/irregular noun plurals, plural occurrences, comparative/superlative forms, etc., and (iv)- semantic information, e.g. correct definition, meaning of phrasal and prepositional verbs, prefixes and suffixes, compounds. In addition to the use of monolingual dictionaries, the course also introduces the students to other kinds of dictionaries, such as etymological, pronouncing, and synonym dictionaries. The course has other long-term objectives. It prepares students for the future translation courses that start at Level Six. It also provides them with some basic terms and notions that they will develop in the language and linguistics courses.