Beware, your German will improve substantially upon using this online german dictionary. Do not proceed unless you wish that to happen. If you want your German to stay as is, save yourself the trouble. Ok, but seriously, this dictionary changed my life and here is why…
Pause, I suppose before my starting I ought to tell you which dictionary it is? Behold, the great reveal… It is leo.org
How to judge a bilingual dictionary
From a dictionary entry one should be able to understand the meaning of the foreign word, kind of obvious though. So, look at how detailed the entries are. Do they use the words in full sentences? Do they give synonyms of the words?
Very important is the use of abbreviations to help you understand what is going on in the entry. With German I am of opinion that there has to be indications of noun genders. Like, there is no way about it. The same with the case of the word. There are some other that might be present as well, which is really useful. The more there is, the better the dictionary.
Lastly, and in my eyes the most important of all. A pronunciation guide. If nothing else do not use a dictionary without this. The absolute-hyper-super- most irritating thing of people speaking foreign languages is disgusting pronunciation. I might be really dramatic now, but I feel there is literally no way around this.
Maybe a little less dramatic now, reasons why I love leo.
The first thing being the portability of it. This is something I love. You can search for the site anytime you wish to do so. They even have an app for android and iOS with the same features. Portability, although not a feature to judge a dictionary on, is still very useful. I have learned most of my German with a small dictionary by my side. When I was or sometimes am to wonder about the translation of a word, I use the dictionary.
Now for the serious judgement:
Leo has amazing entries. There are multiple synonyms for words which happens to have some of those. The sentences are great to help you understand the meaning of the words and how to use them as well. They even use pictures to help you, I mean, what even? In real life, only children’s dictionaries have those. I absolutely adore this idea.
They might not use as many abbreviations that most dictionaries do, but I think it is merely because they do not have to. With hardcopy dictionaries, they always try to make it as compact as possible and not to waste any space. I mean, who wants a dictionary as thick as the roof of a house is high? Leo uses the words in full, parts of speech, usage, you name it and it probably is there. What I love most in this category is the use of the definite article to show gender. This is exactly how I usually recommend the learning of nouns. It is a way of automating your brain.
Next, my absolute favourite, it is even better than phonetic indications of pronunciations… you can hear the word being pronounced. This is the next best thing since sliced bread. I love living in the era we do. The internet is spectacular.
I suppose you have never in your life seen someone as passionate as I am about great dictionaries.