Use monolingual dictionaries

I'm trying to think in english but whenever I don't know the ''perfect'' word I'm searching for, my brain simply finishes the sentence in german. I think this happens because in my first 2 years of learning english, all I used was the google translator, from english to german and the other way around. And it's annoying,so yeah, after reaching like 500-1000 of the most common words, I'd recommend you using monolingual dictionaries (expect for like some really complicated word) only, as the words are explained in the target language. Don't end up like me

October 15, 2017


It’s a great way to expand your vocabulary too. I use a monolingual dictionary when reading books or articles in Italian, and often it leads me on a trail of breadcrumbs from word to word to figure out an unknown word or phrase.

My recommendation is that as soon as you feel ready to read non-canned grammar material to use a monolingual dictionary along with a bilingual dictionary, and never ever use Google Translate as it makes you lazy.

October 15, 2017

I think another solution is when one does not know a word, rather than looking it up—and I think there is value in going from one language to another, and understanding the definition in the target language (pros and cons, and it is contextual). Using synonyms and explaining around it is a helpful strategy. This played a large part in how I learned how to speak, and effectively utilize Spanish.

October 15, 2017

Agreed. As soon as possible, I started using a monolingual dictionary in Esperanto and, while difficult at times, it has vastly improved my ability to understand the language. That frustration of not fully understanding a definition is the brain trying to make sense of it. It means that learning is being done. And that is the whole point.

October 18, 2017

I use a bilingual Russian to Circassian dictionary, but I am not fluent in either language. Is that bad?

October 15, 2017

A thousand words is not nearly enough to think in a language. You need 3000 at least, preferably many more. There's two ways of "thinking in English". One is, when you speak English, your brain forms the words in English, without any translation from or to German. The other is to have your internal monologue in English. The former is rather easy, the latter requires sufficient vocabulary and training. I'm fluent in English, Dutch, French and German. I think in either of them, when I speak them, or when I'm in a group of people speaking that language. My train of thought is in Dutch or English, rarely in French or German.

October 17, 2017
Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.