Saturday, November 21, 2009
My dictionary. I have others (around the house, at work, online) but this dictionary is mine. The one I use when I read. When I'm reading, I keep it next to me. When I put my book away, its stacked up with my dictionary. I read every morning with my breakfast (if I eat alone, which is most work days) and I use the dictionary to prop up my book.
I use my dictionary constantly, I look up words all the time. Some books have me looking things up once per page. No time, you say? How can one enjoy the story, you may ask? In most cases, usage is enough to give the gist and then just keep on reading. No, no my friend, that's not reading. That cramming for a mid-term, or burning the midnight oil before your book club meets, and you can't stand the embarrassment of not having read another one.
If you absolutely don't have the time to stop; if you're in the middle of a cliffhanger, and the falchion is about to fall, or you're on the train and don't have a dictionary, make a mark in the margin, and look in up later. Some folks use a second bookmark to mark what they want to look up, or even a scrap of paper, to jot words and phrases down, to look into later. Don't let these words just go by. Each one is a new toy, a new tool, something you can use. They're just sitting there. According to the book I just read about English, we just use the same few thousand words, over and over again, while the English language consists of hundreds of thousands of words.
I was talking to my brother--he uses a dictionary when he reads too--and he told me he gave a gift to his god-daughter. A dictionary. Her dictionary. And then he told me, it wasn't just a dictionary, it was a forever dictionary. If it ever wears out, goes out of date, or is no longer useful or broad enough, he will replace it. Always. She will always have a dictionary.
I can't think of a better gift.