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"Foreign Language Learners' Use and Perception of Online Dictionaries: A Survey Study " icon

Foreign Language Learners' Use and Perception of Online Dictionaries: A Survey Study 

The importance of dictionaries in language learning is indisputable. The emergence of online dictionaries has noticeably influenced the way students learn a foreign language (FL). This study examines FL learners' use and perception of bilingual online dictionaries through an analysis of over 250 responses to a web-based survey from learners enrolled in postsecondary language courses in the United States. The most popular online dictionaries among eight languages are presented along with self-reported data regarding look-up behaviors while reading, writing, listening, and speaking the target language. The results suggest that online dictionaries are most often consulted when learners are creating and/or deciphering digitally mediated written texts. Although most FL learners consider online dictionaries to be an essential part of their language learning, they report that not all are reliable. They also report the disparity of quality in online dictionaries across languages. As a result, learners often use multiple online dictionaries and other digital resources for multiple purposes. Based on the findings, pedagogical suggestions are provided to help educators guide FL learners' use of online dictionaries and other digital resources such as online translators.

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