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Bilingual Dictionaries

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Bilingual dictionaries are fine for low and intermediate level students but should not be used in advanced courses. The reason for this is two fold. 1) As has been pointed out by another poster, it results in an inability to explain the meaning of words. 2)More importantly, contrary to a statement made by a different poster----a bilingual dictionary will rarely give the student "the exact meaning of a word" (especially if the word is not a concrete noun) in his or her native language. For example, the very basic English word "love" corresponds to three different words I can think of off the top of my head in Mandarin. If you were to, in turn, back translate these terms you would get results like fraternity and benevolence, in addition to love. The fact is, synonyms rarely mean exactly the same thing. A bilingual dictionary gives you exactly that much of the time,synonyms for the word you are explaining in the native language of the student.

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