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Using Computerized Bilingual Dictionaries to Help Maximize English Vocabulary Learning at Japanese Colleges

Issue: Vol 21 No. 1 (2004)

Journal: CALICO Journal

Subject Areas:

DOI: 10.1558/cj.v21i1.105-129


This study compares various computerized bilingual dictionaries (CBDs) for their relative effectiveness in helping Japanese college students at several language proficiency levels to access new English target vocabulary. The rationale of the study was based on several observations and research claims (Atkins & Knowles, 1990; Bejoint & Moulin, 1987; Laufer & Hadar, 1997) that bilingual/bilingualized dictionaries in general, and electronic dictionaries in particular, appear to be much more effective than monolingual book dictionaries for the acquisition of new L2. The author has been testing and analyzing various CBDs for several years and has recently devised a simple, yet practical dual assessment vocabulary evaluator (DAVE) to help more clearly define and test differences between both L1 and L2 mental lexicons and also between language learners' L2 receptive vocabulary and productive vocabulary (Loucky, 2001a). Computer technology has now made it possible, with the benefits of interactive processing and immediate feedback, to scan, pronounce, and translate vocabulary items. This paper examines Japanese college students' use of four kinds of CBDs for more rapid accessing and archiving of new L2 terms and recommends more informed integration of their use into a systematic taxonomy of vocabulary learning strategies for maximally effective instruction. It describes a comparative study of CBDs as they were used at three colleges in Kyushu, Japan from October 2000 to December 2001 and examines possible benefits that may accrue from their use.

Author: John Paul Loucky

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