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ERIC Number: EJ827365
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Feb
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 19
ISSN: ISSN-0005-3503
Bilingual Dictionaries in Written Language Examinations: Why New Zealand Needs to Catch up with Australia
McLauchlan, Alastair
Babel, v41 n3 p24-28, 38 Feb 2007
Premature discontinuation rates among second language students in New Zealand are higher than for most other subjects in secondary schools, although this phenomenon has not given rise to a great deal of debate within the NZ language teaching community. In a recent study into premature discontinuation in Christchurch, NZ, the most frequently cited study-related reason for premature second language discontinuation was "too difficult". Among students who cited "too difficult", vocabulary learning was the most frequently cited biggest problem. This paper argues that the difficulty of vocabulary acquisition is a key factor behind the high number of students prematurely dropping out of their second language learning programs. It also argues the case for allowing the use of standardised bilingual dictionaries in written second examinations as a possible way of reducing the burden of memorising vocabulary, the stress and dissatisfaction associated with this task, and of enhancing the work of language students. In spite of the evidence supporting the value of dictionaries in second language assessment, NZ lacks the enlightened and eminently more practical approach of most Australian State and Territory senior secondary assessment boards which allow students to use a monolingual and/or bilingual dictionary in language exams. (Contains 1 table.)
Australian Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations. Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia. Tel: +61-29351-2022; e-mail:; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia; New Zealand