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Languages: English
Types: Unknown
Subjects: other
In spite of all its benefits, laziness is one of the major side effects of digital technology. With just a click of mouse, you can access Wikepedia, Google, Youtube, Wordpress, etc. and get any information desired in a second. ‘Efficiency is intelligent laziness’. Today, more and more people rely on online dictionaries to learn a foreign language; the problem is how properly to use the vast amounts of easily accessed information. Computers have been used far more intensively and creatively in the generation of databases than in the actual editing of dictionaries. To look up a word in a paper dictionary you need to engage in some physical labour; while you're doing that you might also be doing some conceptual and intellectual work relevant to the information learnt: if it's a new word, you might simply repeat the word in your head, to help it stick. And the dictionary is itself the result of a great effort by the compilers. It is much easier to compile dictionaries today, and the databases provide a far more accurate and complete picture of a language. It is easier to click on a dictionary entry than to pick up a heavy book. But does it follow that technology has produced dictionaries that are more effective for learning a language? Put it another way: to what extent does the learning process in general – and in particular the learning of a language – depend on inefficient technology?

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