How to Make Mark Kislingbury’s Dictionary Work For You

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I use Mark’s dictionary. I LOVE Mark’s dictionary. It has saved me years of dictionary building and allows me to provide great realtime. I changed many things that did not make sense to me, but this is a general guide for anyone that wants Mark’s dictionary to work well for them. Here is how to avoid problems. I have merged my dictionary with Mark’s about a year ago and do not regret the decision.

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(1) You obviously have to be using his theory or shortcuts to make his hard work work for you. IF you decide to keep your old theory’s way of doing a specific prefix or suffix or decide to change one of his phrase endings, you should clear out your dictionary of the things you will never use. You may run into word boundary issues if you decide to keep everything just in case. However, you should KEEP all of the phrase ending concepts in your dictionary, so long as they make sense to you or so long as you intend to master them.

(2) Remove all numbers. Start from scratch with inputting everything at the bottom of my numbers post (for those on Eclipse). You will not be able to write out your numbers and have any clean translates with the entries he has for numbers. Remove every single numbers entry. You can do this by searching for numbers in your dictionary in Eclipse. Be careful not to delete “first” phrases since they will consider that numerical.

(3) Find a consistent way to write the -us ending. For words like fabulous or mucus, you want ONE way to write -us and -ous endings. Mark has multiple ways, and he even uses -US for the word “us” and the ending -us. This will not work. I’ve made my -us endings to ALWAYS end with OUS. So fabulous would be FAB/LOUS and mucus would be MAOUK/OUS. I never have to think about it.

(4) Find a DIFFERENT way to write the suffix a and preffix a, for words like gala and abroad. Mark shares this, and this causes an infinite amount of problems. So I write abroad as A/BRAUD, and I write gala as GAIL/JA. Lorna would be LORN/JA. If you’re wondering, “gentleman” for me is J*E. You should try if at all possible to never share briefs and suffixes. It’s extremely dangerous. Do not keep gentleman JA and use JA as the -a word ending.

(5) Order all of your entries by words in the entry. Start from the top. Maybe the longest entry is 8 words long. REMOVE all entries that you KNOW you will never use. I am not talking about publications he put in all caps in his dictionary that so happened to be four words. That requires no thought or study to use.

Maybe it’s “as I sit here today.” I will NEVER use that brief because I’m a captioner. Even if I were in freelance, I probably wouldn’t use it. Go through EVERY brief that is three or more words long and remove all the ones that do not follow a consistent train of thought (a phrase ender) and ones that you don’t plan on ever getting one.

If you don’t do this, you’ll be writing and accidentally tuck the * in your brief for “before” and “brutally murdered” or something ridiculous will come out. Remove EVERY brief that you know you will write out, the ones that is not worth your time to study. Brutally murdered will NEVER be one stroke for me, for instance.

(6) As mentioned in a previous post, move swear words and Q/A symbols into another dictionary before starting captioning. You should also remove ALL of Mark’s Q/A symbols if you write yours completely different (without vowels, for instance). I write mine on the opposite side of the board from Mark (my A is FRPBLGTS, and my Q is STKPWHR), so I deleted all of his Q/A entries, including the brief extensions to them because they became completely irrelevant for my style of writing. Remove punctuation that you do not do like him (whether the dash or hyphen). Also, remove the alphabets (for fingerspelling) that you will not use.

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If ever you’re unsure of whether to delete something or leave it in, move it to a separate dictionary in Dropbox. You can always add it back into your dictionary later easily.

As a side note, if you are just learning Mark’s methods, the ONLY thing I would change about Mark’s phrase enders would be this family: -get, -got, -go to, and -go to the. You will use “get” and “got” a TON! They should have precedence over “go to” and “go to the.” So I would recommend switching the outlines. Use NO asterisk for “got” and “get,” and use the asterisk for “go to” and “go to the.” It is my only regret, when it comes to his theory shortcuts and phrase endings. It is very difficult to change at this point.

The other theory shortcut that I use that Mark doesn’t is STWR- for shr-. This prevents a ton of conflicts and enables me to not have to think whenever they say a word like “shrug” or “shrew,” if it needs the asterisk or not. However, this was not difficult to add in. I will post a full list on Mark’s theory shortcuts soon.

When it comes to Mark’s actual theory, I have changed a few things At least 10-15 different prefixes and suffixes, to either make my writing consistent or to avoid word boundaries. However, most of the changes had only a slight improvement on my writing, at best. The two concepts I talked above (JA and OUS) are the ones that had a significant improvement on my writing.

2 thoughts on “How to Make Mark Kislingbury’s Dictionary Work For You

  1. I love your posts. Thank you so much for the information. I just finished the first half of my theory at Sage College and then they closed. So now I’m trying to decide what my next move should be.

    With your experience, what would you recommend. I’m not opposed to starting a new and better theory as the NCRA theory books are good, but there’s a LOT of strokes. I’m also not opposed to going the no degree route and getting my RPR before state licensing. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. 🙂

  2. Thank you, Melody!
    I was just working on that “get/got, go to/ go to the” page and was having trouble with it. My brain just couldn’t keep them separated! This makes much more sense. 😉

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