Yes. I’m a literature nerd. I guess that explains why I studied Literature and Linguistics, and why I wanted a second Master’s degree in Literary Studies. But, honestly, there is no valid excuse for how far my nerdiness goes… Hopefully, some of you kindred spirits will geek out about this as much as I did!
Reading for me has always been an intense experience, and it only intensified with my studies. Having to write papers on prize winning novels and analysing the genesis of manuscripts has made me adopt an even more scrutinizing and eager-to-learn approach to reading. During the first years of university, I wanted to expand my English vocabulary as best I could, seeing as how it would always be hard as a second-language learner to get my writing up to par with that of native English speakers. So whenever I encountered a word, while reading, that I had not heard of before, I would underline it with pencil or pen and make sure to look it up afterwards. But the more books we were required to read, the harder it was for me to keep up with this somewhat obsessive habit of mine. Not to mention, inefficient: I would usually interrupt my reading to look up a word, or wait until I had finished reading and then go through my notes and try to rediscover the context of the underlined words before looking up their definitions.
Last year I discovered a practical application to help save time and effort. This handy little gadget is an electronic dictionary as well as a bookmark. Its creators have used the Collins English Dictionary and inserted 38000 definitions in this tiny, flat device. It’s extremely easy to look up a word, or even use the arrows if you simply want to browse through the rest of the dictionary. Not surprising that it won the prize “Gift of the Year” in 2011. Very surprising however, that it has not reached Belgium in the form of a translation dictionary. But perhaps, this will soon come. Since recently other languages have also become available:
It’s extremely cheap, especially considering the high priced dictionary volumes you’d otherwise be getting, and very compact.
The only downside I find is that the plastic back of the gadget can cause it to slide out from between the pages. But I’m pretty sure that’s only a problem for women like me, who carry around their books in bags that are way too big for the amount of stuff they need to carry around – causing the books to move around too much.
You can buy it directly from That Company Called If or try to find one through an ebay seller that ships to your area. It’s available in international English as well as US English for only £24,99 (USD 38,41 / EUR 29). But I got mine on ebay for £14 (€16 / $21), so definitely look around the great interwebz for the cheapest way to get yours.