Even time has affected the way these words are spelled.The Word Reference Online Dictionary has an audio function that puts mystified students out of their misery. It explains why thigh rhymes with lie, and why height does not rhyme with eight. Until the advent of audio aids for learners of English, students often made amusing mistakes, leaving them annoyed and still in the dark.Dictionaries do nothing to eliminate confusion and bewilderment, and often add to it. The difference between a two-language dictionary, such as Collins French / English, and a single-language dictionary such as the Macquarie or the Oxford English dictionaries are seldom taught to students. Even the word ‘dictionary’ and its function needs explaining in this sense: two-language ones translate, single-language ones define. 5 And students need to be conversant with English to understand an entry like:GIFT n alms, bounty, Christmas hamper, Christmas stocking, compliment, contribution, donation, handout, donatives, favor, grant, handsel, keepsake, largesse, manna from heaven, mortuary (Archaic), present, presentation, remembrance, subscription; offering, oblation .and so on for half a page, with then a second entry giving gift as competence, generosity and talent. What is a student to make of this, when the word they seek (if only they knew it) is listed seventeenth in the list?This does not explain how English has come to be one of the world’s most spoken languages, the lingua franca of the computer and entertainment spheres. The latter is the operative word: entertainment has seen lyrics of. Catch 22: English Dictionaries for Learning English.
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