LESSON TWO (2): Our Textbook is the Oxford Picture Dictionary (OPD), Second Edition (2009)

The Oxford Picture Dictionary (OPD), Second Edition (2nd Ed.) is the textbook for our EFL/ESL course at the Center for Arabic Culture (CAC).  As of today, April 1, 2011, you can buy it at www.amazon.com for about $14.00 or at a local book shop like the Harvard Cooperative Society (The Coop) in Harvard Square for about $20.00.  It is a clear, comprehensive, beautiful, inexpensive, invaluable tool for learning English as a foreign language.  There is an English-language-only (monolingual) edition and a series of bi-lingual editions including English-Arabic, English-Spanish, English-Brazilian Portuguese, and many others.  In my opinion, it is a “gold mine” for an EFL/ESL student!

The OPD systematically and clearly presents a vocabularly of about 4,000 words, including many in complete sentences,  in the following 12 units:

(1)  Everyday Language

(2) People

(3) Housing

(4) Food

(5) Clothing

(6) Health

(7) Community

(8) Transportation

(9) Work

(10) Areas of Study

(11) Plants and Animals

(12) Recreation.

Is there anything here you would like to study???

By the way, several of the words and phrases above have an alternative, equivalent term in parentheses (or “round brackets,” as the British would say) after them:  (A)  The Oxford Picture Dictionary (OPD),  (B) Second Edition (2nd Ed.), (C) Center for Arabic Culture (CAC), (D) Harvard Cooperative Society (The Coop), and (E) English-language-only (monolingual). This illustrates (A) a principle that you should learn and, (B) a learning technique that you can use:

(A)  Alternative, equivalent terms exist for most things.  Different languages use different words for the same thing, for example.  “Synonym” is the name for different words for the same thing in the same  language.  In Lesson Three you will see 16 different names for your teacher, for example.  Likewise, you have several different names for yourself.  You only need to use one name when you speak or write; but other people may use other names for the same thing, so the more synonms you know, the better you can understand what you hear and read.

(B)  As a teaching technique, your teacher will use words in parentheses ( ) to show an equivalent term or terms.  He will also use a diagonal line / (diagonal, slash) between a series of words or phrases to show that they are equivalent.  He may also use the equal sign = between words to indicate equivalence.

Good luck in learning vocabulary this way.  Make your own lists of equivalent terms, but your teacher will give you others.


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