Online Dictionaries and Vocabulary Games Part 1: Lingro

Lingro.  It claims to be “The coolest dictionary known to hombre.”  What do you think?

When I started teaching ESOL, my students toted around bilingual dictionaries.  Over the years, I watched the book dictionaries disappear as students appeared with their own pocket translators.  Lately, it appears these translators are being replaced by smartphone apps, ipad apps, and online dictionaries.  I see students automatically turning to these devices to look up words for meaning, pronunciation, parts of speech, practice and more.

Although it still is in its beginning stages, I created a list of online dictionaries that I refer my students to and use during class.  When I say online dictionaries, I really mean dictionaries on steroids compared to the paper ones toted around not all that long ago.  Even Merriam-Webster has received a makeover.  These dictionaries are interactive and often contain visuals, videos and vocabulary games.

Lingro is my most recent discovery.  My initial reaction to exploring it was, “This is a gold mine!”  You can take any website in a fairly wide range of languages and run it through this site.  It basically turns any site into a clickable dictionary.  Click on a word and it gives you its definition.  You can save it in a personal word list, see it used in the context on the site, and then create a flashcard game with it and other words on your word list.

These videos by Russell Stannard demonstrate Lingro and its uses.  They can be accessed here.  Russell says, “This is without a doubt the best website I’ve found in 2011.” (As a side note, Russell  Stannard’s site, Teacher Training Videos, has an extensive and impressive number of useful teacher videos such as these.) Watch, explore, and see what you think about Lingro!  

The Worlds Smallest Dictionary by practicalowl, on Flickr*This is the first in a series that will outline a few online dictionaries and vocabulary games to give a flavor of what is available out there.  Feel free to pass on additional quality vocabulary sites that are not included in our Students tab and tell us how they are useful.  Stay tuned for some upcoming posts including a guest post about Wordsift and some reviews written by students in one of my ESOL classes.   If you liked this post, you may also be interested in this post.

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License  photo by  practicalowl 

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