A dictionary is the
essential tool when learning a language. There are many dictionaries to choose
from. I will give you some tips to find the dictionary for your needs.
Your Proficiency Level
is important to know your proficiency level and your goal when choosing
a dictionary. Compact dictionaries will be handy for the classroom or
but you might need a larger one for your continuing studies. Though
a larger dictionary can be expensive, it will be a great investment.
is ideal to have both a monolingual and a bilingual dictionary. Beginners
probably get by with a bilingual dictionary at first. However, a monolingual
dictionary will be a great help to improve your ability to think in Japanese
without translating words.
With furigana, the
beginner who is familiar with hiragana and katakana is able to read all
Japanese writing. If you are at this level, a furigana dictionary will be easier to
use, and helpful for further studies. A romanized dictionary is useful for
students using textbooks that are written in romaji. Even complete beginners
with no knowledge of Japanese writing will be able to use it easily.
Kanji is one of the hardest parts
of the Japanese language. A kanji dictionary
is a great tool for anybody who is interested in kanji. It
pronunciations, stroke order, common compounds etc.
There are various free
online dictionaries available. Personally I like to have my own dictionary, but
online dictionaries are a free and convenient alternative.