When learning new English nouns—the words that refer to people, places, things, or ideas—a visual dictionary will help you retain the words in your mind effectively. It’s just like when a child learns what the word apple means, a parent will show the child an apple or an image of an apple to help the child create a mental image of an apple, which is usually a red fruit (sometimes it’s green!). So next time the child sees the actual fruit, she will remember to call it apple.
There are more nouns that are uncommon than apple, however, and you will likely want to see images of these nouns to remember them. Thus, you may want to use a visual dictionary in this situation.
The highly-recommended visual dictionaries that you can look for copies in your library or bookstores are:
- Merriam-Webster’s Visual Dictionary by Merriam-Webster (Oct 1, 2006)
- Ultimate Visual Dictionary by DK Publishing (Oct 31, 2011)
- One Million Things: A Visual Encyclopedia by Peter Chrisp (Jun 16, 2008)
There is also an online visual dictionary from Merriam Webster, and you can access it here: http://visual.merriam-webster.com/. Their online dictionary has more than 6,000 images from different themes such as House, Arts, Clothing, and Society.
I actually owned a children visual dictionary when I was around 8 years old. And I really enjoyed learning the English words by looking at the pictures.
You can’t learn all the nouns conveniently from a visual dictionary though. The nouns that refer to ideas or concepts need more special attention; because in most cases, these nouns cannot be easily represented by one image and requires further explanation. Internet and freedom are two good examples of such nouns. A mind map, however, can do the trick to explain these words.