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July 27, 2004



When I was in an ESL school last year, there were eight students from seven countries; one German, one Swiss, one Brazilian, one Mexican, one Chinese, two Korean, and one Japanese. And it was amazing that every student had an electronic dictionary instead of a paper dictionary and I often heard electronic sounds coming from them. In the class it was just like an exhibition of electronic dictionaries. One day I asked other students to try their electronic dictionaries. Dictionaries for European languages were simple and cheap, and those for Asian languages were complex and seemed to be difficult to use. As you know Japan is a kingdom of gadgets and the people are strongly interested in learning English. I thought that my dictionary was most advanced because it contains various kinds of dictionaries such as English-Japanese, Japanese-English, English-English, thesaurus, and numerous sample sentences.
People think that an electronic dictionary is not good to remember words because it is too easy to look up words in it. But I can't get back to using a paper dictionary because electronic dictionaries are so much easier to use. More especially the most recent electronic dictionaries from Japan cover the entire contents of paper dictionaries, and more than that they have some added value; we can search all the sample sentences in the dictionary including particular keywords, compare the definitions in different dictionaries, and jump from any word in any dictionary to the definition in other dictionaries.

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