ERIC Number: ED346742
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987
Do Dictionaries Help Students Write?
Examples are given of real lexical errors made by learner writers, and consideration is given to the way in which three learners' dictionaries could deal with the lexical items that were misused. The dictionaries were the "Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary," the "Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English," and the "Chambers Universal Learners' Dictionary." The question examined is what happens when a student consults a dictionary when uncertain about a choice of word or to understand why a word choice was marked wrong. It is noted that a major feature of learners' dictionaries is that they include grammatical and phonetic information to help learners produce language, but the lexical-semantic information in dictionaries provides little help in terms of language production or context. Three types of lexical errors related to context are discussed: errors of register, collocational errors, and errors of meaning. It is concluded that dictionaries tend to be judged by the number of types of headwords listed and the ease with which the definitions can be understood; however, the three dictionaries examined are shown to seriously mislead the student even in the choice of comparatively common words. Suggestions are offered to guide dictionary makers in their compilation of any new production-oriented dictionary. Contains 7 references. (LB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Written Language: British Studies in Applied Linguistics 2. Papers from the Annual Meeting of the British Association for Applied Linguistics (Reading, England, September 1986); see FL 020 460.