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The role of bilingual dictionaries in second language learning: a case study of Saudi students in Australia
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 20:04 authored by Khedir Attaf Almoayidi
Using a bilingual dictionary is believed to be an essential element for language learning. Many studies have been conducted that point out the importance of bilingual dictionaries in learning. Among Saudi learners, studies of bilingual dictionary use have all been conducted in Saudi Arabia, and have focused mainly on the purposes for which dictionaries are used and the skills needed by learners. The present research examines Saudi learners studying in an English-speaking environment to explore their perceptions of the role of bilingual dictionary use in their learning and patterns of dictionary use. For this study, ten Saudi students studying in Australia completed a series of comprehension and production tasks based on a short reading passage. Participants were permitted to use electronic or paper bilingual and monolingual dictionaries while completing the tasks. An individual semi-structured interview was then conducted with each participant. Data analysis revealed that bilingual dictionaries, particularly electronic ones, were seen by participants as beneficial in enabling them to find meanings quickly and with minimal effort, as well as allowing them to hear the words pronounced. While participants believed that bilingual dictionaries were suitable for beginners, there was a general view that such dictionaries do not facilitate learning and retention of new vocabulary, and are often misleading as they tend not to provide full contextual meanings. Performance data from the comprehension and production tasks offered some support for these views. Participants regarded monolingual dictionaries as superior in terms of improving learning, promoting word retention, and ‘thinking in English’, but highlighted the need for explicit training in the use of these dictionaries. These findings have implications for both pedagogy and future research.