ERIC Number: EJ963388
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-May
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
The Use of a Monolingual Dictionary for Meaning Determination by Advanced Cantonese ESL Learners in Hong Kong
Chan, Alice Y. W.
Applied Linguistics, v33 n2 p115-140 May 2012
This article reports on the results of a study which investigated advanced Cantonese English as a Second Language (ESL) learners' use of a monolingual dictionary for determining the meanings of familiar English words used in less familiar contexts. Thirty-two university English majors in Hong Kong participated in a dictionary consultation task, which included nine English sentences each containing a target lexical item the meaning of which depended on the grammatical contexts they were in. Different self-reporting protocols were used to tap into the participants' thinking processes and/or to gather their evaluation of the effectiveness of the dictionaries. The results of the study show that learners demonstrate some degree of success in the use of a monolingual dictionary for determining word meanings, yet the facilitative effects of a dictionary are quite limited, and problems such as learners' preoccupation with typical word collocations and their ignorance of dictionary information may hinder decision making. Such dictionary behavior may affect second language acquisition and requires attention. It is suggested that ESL teachers alert learners to the importance of grammatical associations in language comprehension.
Descriptors: Sentences, Grammar, Second Languages, Monolingualism, Foreign Countries, Cognitive Processes, Vocabulary Development, Language Acquisition, Dictionaries, English (Second Language), Second Language Learning, Sino Tibetan Languages, Definitions, Native Language, Asians, Task Analysis, Majors (Students), College Students, Student Attitudes, Advanced Students, Second Language Instruction
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Hong Kong