So, you have decided to take up the reading of English literature. An excellent solution for improving your knowledge. For many, reading is the optimal method of obtaining information. The largest part of the perception process falls to the eyes’ lot.
The book is in your hands, the first pages have already been read. Do not forget, you need to read a lot, trying not to use the dictionary in order to develop the habit of reading, and not the skill of quickly finding a word in the dictionary. The meaning of an unfamiliar word can be guessed (sometimes only approximately) with the help of linguistic guess. You can try to understand the semantic color of an unfamiliar word, evaluate the context in which it is located. Sometimes this is enough for a basic understanding and continuation of reading.
But the linguistic guess is not omnipotent – there will always be words, the essence of which you will not be able to define. And the more interesting the style of the author, the more qualitative literature, the more such words there will be. There are three cases when it makes sense to find an unfamiliar English word in the dictionary.
- 1. The word is really key one to understand the text.
This word appears in many dialogs. Several personages have already drawn attention to this object, have been gathered around it, someone has shaken the head with understanding, and someone has startled in surprise. You are in an unequal position with fictional characters, because they know what they are talking about, and you do not. It can psychologically suppress, irritate, anger and interfere with further reading.
This "something" clearly plays a central role in the narrative. And you still do not understand what all these people are talking about so lively already for a long time. It is time to look into the dictionary and continue reading with a full understanding of what happened. This is not a fight with the word, in which you are a loser in case you do not know the meaning and cannot assume the translation. This is, if you want, a mutually beneficial cooperation with the author, who gets your full understanding and recognition, and you, in turn, get new knowledge and positive emotions.
- 2. The word occurs in the text very often.
You have already met this word six times, three of them have been only today. You meet it as a native, you can remember how it is spelled closing the book. Let us look at it in the dictionary – firstly satisfy your curiosity. And secondly, since it has happened so often before, it is very likely that it will often occur even further – and, having seen and remembered it several more times, you will not forget it soon.
- 3. You have some personal likes with this word.
Perhaps you have already seen the word in the name of your favorite chocolate. Or it was liked to be repeated by your familiar foreigner (and you were so shy to ask what it means). Or you just like how that word sounds or looks. You like it and that is it. Look it up in the dictionary. Once you already have a set of emotions and associations with this word, it will be remembered much easier.
So, read a lot in English, read with pleasure. Try to work not only with your fingers and eyes, but with your brains too. Let information go through your mind, it have to remain in your memory at least partially, otherwise, your reading will not do any good.
By the way, since we got into the dictionary: where do you usually look for an unfamiliar word? Online or offline resources, special websites or paper? It is very useful, especially after the intermediate level, to use the English-English dictionary, it is also called monolingual one. One of the most successful is the dictionary of Merriam-Webster.