Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

Speaking or translating other languages

bilingual

adjective

someone who is bilingual is able to speak two languages extremely well

bilingual

adjective

involving or written in two languages

code switching

noun

the practice of changing from using one variety or register of language to another, for example between a more formal and more informal style of speech

communicative competence

noun

the ability to communicate well in a language

encode

verb

to express what you want to say in a language. To decode words in a language is to understand them when you see or read them.

false beginner

noun

someone who starts to study a language from the beginning again, although they already have a slight knowledge of it

fidelity

noun

the degree to which something is an accurate copy or translation of something else

fluency

noun

the ability to speak a foreign language very well

fluent

adjective

able to speak a foreign language very well

francophone

adjective

speaking French as the main language. Someone who is francophone can be called a francophone.

in

adjective, adverb, preposition

using a particular language

interpret

verb

to translate what someone is saying in one language into another language so that someone else can understand it

interpreter

noun

someone whose job is to translate what a speaker is saying in one language into another language so that someone else can understand it

into

preposition

used for stating what language something is translated to

know

verb

to be able to speak a language

literal

adjective

a literal translation is one in which each word is translated separately in a way that does not sound natural

literally

adverb

if you translate something literally, you translate each word separately in a way that does not sound natural

machine translation

noun

the translation of a piece of writing from one language to another by a computer

monolingual

adjective

speaking, writing, or using only one language

multilingual

adjective

able to speak several different languages well

multilingual

adjective

written or spoken in several different languages

native speaker

noun

someone who has learnt a particular language from the time that they began to speak

polyglot

adjective

speaking or using several languages

polyglot

noun

someone who can speak several languages

render

verb

to translate something

rendering

noun

a translation

second-language acquisition

noun

the process by which people learn a language that is not their native language

SLA

noun

second-language acquisition

speak

verb

to be able to talk in a particular language

speaker

noun

someone who is able to speak a particular language

speech community

noun

all the people who speak a particular language, even if they live in many different parts of the world

subtitles

noun

a translation of what people are saying in a foreign language film or television programme, that appears at the bottom of the screen

target language

noun

the language that you are translating something into

transcribe

verb

to write something written in the alphabet of one language using the alphabet of another language

translate

verb

to change spoken or written words into another language

translate

verb

to be changed into a different language, or to be capable of being understood in a different language

translation

noun

spoken or written words that have been changed into a different language

translation

noun

the activity of changing spoken or written words into a different language

translator

noun

someone who changes spoken or written words into another language, especially as their job

transliterate

verb

to write a word from one language using the alphabet of a different language

trilingual

adjective

able to speak three languages

trilingual

adjective

involving three languages, or written in three languages

bilingual

noun

bilingualism

noun

fluently

adverb

multilingualism

noun

lose something in translation/interpretation etc

to not be as effective or accurate when translated or performed in another way etc

make yourself understood

to know enough of another language to be able to deal with ordinary situations

Open Dictionary

breakfast rave

a rave … that takes place early in the morning and where there is no alcohol or drugs …

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog