Is it better to study English without using translation to my first language?

I usually use Korean dictionary which translates English words to Korean. However one of my friends has told me that it could be worse if you study English that way because of your own language can make you confused when you're trying to speak English.

I don't know how to study English without resorting to using translation.
Is it bad to study it with my own language? If so, then how should I learn?

migrated from english.stackexchange.com Dec 21 '16 at 11:50

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    Alternatively, since this question is not specific to learning English, you should consider asking on Language Learning. – Wrzlprmft Dec 21 '16 at 11:50
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    For someone who has been studying English for only three months, you seem to have done remarkably well. Keep up the good work. You will soon (I think) reach the point where you don't need your Korean/English dictionary at all, or at least, need it only rarely. – Mick Dec 21 '16 at 12:48

Dictionaries are an essential tool. An English learner needs to build their vocabulary as rapidly as possible, and using a dictionary bilingual dictionary simplifies this. A child learns without a dictionary, but a child has the luxury of more than 10 hours of English practice a day, and isn't expected to produce a single word themselves for the first 18 months. Adults need to learn faster, and using a bilingual dictionary helps. Grammar is normally studied with explanations in the native language (as there is no urgency in learning the technical language for describing language when starting out.) Dictionaries, however, are less use at learning pronunciation, and idiom.

At some point, a bilingual dictionary does become an obstruction to fluency, and the student should obtain a good "learner's dictionary". It is your judgement when you are ready for this.


Definitely. So your mother tongue is Korean as I speak Japanese mainly. It was or would be very hard at the first stage when you are not used to using the English-English dictionaries, but Korean is SOV, Japanese is SOV, so that the construction of our very language itself is waaaaay different from SVO type European languages, especially when it comes to English, which is very less inflective. I recommend for you to "shift" gradually to using English-English dictionaries, for instance, I think it is O.K for you to start the English-Korean dictionaries, but once when you get used to several words, or major words, I recommend for you to shift again, gradually to use English-English dictionaries. Because, you can "feel" the pattern, how to say this and that, and using English-English dictionaries would have very positive impact on hearings and speaking. I personally strongly recommend.

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