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Foreign language dictionaries

Janelle Vreeland

Resources to help you learn a foreign language

One of your greatest assets that you can have while learning a foreign language is a great foreign language dictionary. As we know, often Web foreign language dictionaries aren’t the best sources to turn to, especially if you’re attempting a direct translation.

Of all the foreign language dictionaries available online, the best option is going to be the Oxford Language Dictionaries. Since it’s, unfortunately, not a free service, be sure to take advantage of it if your school has a subscription with the site. If they do you can browse the site and use their tools while your school foots the bill.

If you don’t have access to the Oxford foreign language dictionaries, there are still a variety of good online foreign language dictionaries to choose from. When looking for an online foreign language dictionary there are a few things to keep in mind. Make sure the dictionary is actually a dictionary and not just a translator. This is an important distinction, as dictionaries will list what part of speech a word is, helping you determine the correct one to use.  A translator, however, will simply translate and may not know what part of speech the word is or whether it is a verb that needs to be conjugated.

Also, try to look for a foreign language dictionary that specializes in only the particular language you’re studying. Chances are their understanding of the language will be deeper and they will have tools to help you study. Also, if the word is a noun, they will usually have the appropriate article in front of it (e.g. der Bruder) which will tell you what gender the word is and will help you use it correctly.

To get you started, here are a few foreign language dictionaries that may help with your language studies:

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