Saturday, June 3, 2017

Finished Learning French Dictionary

Hi everyone,

I'm glad to announce that as of yesterday, I have finished learning the French-English dictionary that I had been studying since this past January. 

Collins Essential French to English One-Way Dictionary

This dictionary contains more than 14,000 headwords and 28,000 translations.  It took me exactly 144 days to study it from cover to cover. I spent roughly 2 hours a day, so it adds up to a total of about 300 hours of studying.

Naturally, my French vocabulary has grown substantially as I worked my way through this dictionary, and the improvement has been most evident in the level of comfort I feel in reading French books. Granted, there are still lots of words that I do not know when I read a French novel, but my level of comprehension is now good enough that I can read on and follow the story without feeling the need to stop to look up those unknown words.

Le Robert & Collins - Dictionnaire français-anglais - Niveau avancé

I've decided to continue with my studying of French vocabulary, and purchased this dictionary from Amazon France.

Like my previous dictionary, this one also comes in an E-book format.  However, it contains far more words and phrases, so it will take me much longer to finish. 

As I've just begun studying the first few pages, I don't know how long it will take me to go through the entire dictionary.  Nevertheless, I no longer feel daunted by a big learning project like this, not least because my recent learning experience has taught me that, far from being monotonous and boring, studying words from a dictionary is actually quite pleasurable and intellectually stimulating.

I will keep updating on my progress in French here in this blog going forward.

Wish you all a nice and enjoyable weekend! :-)


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your interesting idea!

I would like to ask you, what do you mean "learning a dictionary" exactly?
Read a sentence and memorize it? Read through the dictionary?
Or make some sentences, using new words?

It would be happy if you could tell me what you did, when you learn the dictionary.

Best regards,


Uncle Polyglot said...

Hi Rick,

Thank you for your comment and question.

What I am currently doing with my French dictionary is as follows:

1. Highlight the words that I want to learn in the dictionary.
2. In case the explanations in the dictionary do not make sense, whether they be too abstract or too ambiguous, I consult my other dictionaries (French-Japanese, French-Chinese, etc) to clarify the meanings.
3. Simply read through the pages I have just learned without trying too hard to commit the words to memory.
4. Afterward, I also glance through the pages that I've learned in the previous two days in a slow and relaxed manner, thereby ensuring that I review three days' worth of studying material.

As mentioned above, I try not to overtax my memory too much by straining to memorize each word, lest I get exhausted and burned out before I can get to the end of the dictionary. Instead, I tell myself that it's OK not to retain every word that I learn.

In order to maximize the retention of newly-learned words, aside from studying the dictionary I also read a French novel in my spare time. If I come across a newly-learned word in the novel, it really helps me consolidate my knowledge of that word.

As for those words that I do not come across in the novel, they will most likely be forgotten soon, but I tell myself that it's OK to let them go; the fact that they don't appear in a book shows that they are not important or used frequently anyway.

Coming back to your original question, at this stage I don't try to make my own sentences using the new words, as there is no way to check whether I am using them correctly, and I don't want to consolidate the wrong usage in my head.

Instead, I focus on understanding their meanings when I read or hear them. When I get to a more advanced level in French in the future, I might begin actively trying to use new words, but it's still too early at this stage.

Let me know if you have additional questions in language learning. I will continue to share my learning experiences here in this blog.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much!
Your advice will help me a lot.


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