Paper Dictionary or Electronic One?
Zainab Saleh AlBulushy
Problems with dictionaries
• Dictionaries can prevent contextualized thinking:
It is a students' tendency to separate words from sentences and do not depend on the context they exist in. If we consider this sentence for example: "Without the invention of microscopes, we would not have been able to carry out studies on tiny organisms". (Fujisto). The new word here is Microscope, but the words tiny organisms help understand its meaning. However, students do not realize that using this context would help them. They would immediately check the meaning of all unknown words while getting the meaning of one word would serve the purpose of the lesson in that sense.
• Dictionaries can cause distraction:
This exists more often in classrooms where students use the electronic dictionaries. It happens that students are tempted to check the meaning of all new words. Students in such cases look up words that are not directly related to the focus of the lesson. They feel it is fast and easy to get the meaning, so they go ahead and look for every unknown word, Peters (2007). This might cause them not focusing on the spotlight of the lesson or even losing track with what the teacher is explaining. As a result, this could also affect the other students because they would be hearing other words and explanations while the teacher is explaining which might discourage them from paying attention.
Moreover, electronic dictionaries can be very disturbing while used in the classroom. Their voice could be very annoying or surprising when it occurs while the teacher is busy explaining and the students are silently listening to him. (Futonge Kisito). In this regard, it might even cause great distraction for the teaching process on both teachers and students. Add to that the argument of whether to trust the correctness of pronunciation or syllabification that exists in the electronic dictionary because some of them are not accurate or even correct. This could also cause serious problems when the students judge over the teacher's correct pronunciation or provided meaning.
What is in a dictionary?
Dictionaries are considered practical sources of information that learners and teachers can depend on, James-Catalano (1996). There are a lot of other purposes than word meanings. The following points are some information found in dictionaries, (Komuro , Shitara-Matsuo , Ishii , Uchida , Kawamura , Kanazashi):
What is in a dictionary?
Dictionaries are considered as practical sources of information that learners and teachers can depend on. There are a lot of other purposes than word meanings. The following points are some information found in dictionaries:
Definitions / word meanings
US (American) spelling
Parts of speech
Pronunciation of words
Plurals of nouns
Origin of words
Word usage (e.g. slang)
Dictionaries could take different formats depending on the purpose of their required usage. The following formats show these different available main types:
Printed dictionaries vary from tiny pocket-sized versions that could be affordable and easy to carry, to large wide-ranging multi-volume works.
Handheld Electronic dictionaries
Electronic dictionaries are small devices that receive input through a little keyboard, voice recognition or a scanning device that reads printed text, and shows the translation on a small LCD screen or speaks the translation by voice telling the accurate pronunciation.
These are Computer software that allocates words or phrases to be entered and translated on a computer monitor.
Online dictionaries are similar to dictionary programs, these are often uncomplicated to search, but not always complimentary to use, and in some cases they are not as credible as the printed types of dictionaries.
A visual dictionary is a printed dictionary that depends chiefly on illustrations to provide the user with a reliable way of identifying the correct translation. Visual dictionaries are often multi-lingual rather than bilingual-- they often cover four or more languages instead of containing translations between two languages only.
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