Monolingual, Bilingual Dictionaries and Language Study/DICTIONNAIRES MONOLINGUE ET BILINGUE ET ÉTUDE LINGUISTIQUE

By Shanshan, Chen | Cross - Cultural Communication, January 1, 2008 | Go to article overview

Monolingual, Bilingual Dictionaries and Language Study/DICTIONNAIRES MONOLINGUE ET BILINGUE ET ÉTUDE LINGUISTIQUE


Shanshan, Chen, Cross - Cultural Communication


Abstract:

This paper tries to prove that, neither monolingual nor bilingual dictionary can, by themselves satisfy the needs of foreign language learners. Different stages of second language acquisition require different types of dictionaries, and they all have their own unique function in helping the learners to form a new language habit.

This paper makes a review about present and past research and various scholarly points of views. For research approach, a quantitative method is adopted to investigate which kind of dictionary best meets the needs of students in different stages of foreign language acquisition. Finally, results and discussions are shown to conclude the investigation.

Key words: monolingual dictionary, bilingual dictionary, language study

Résumé: Le présent article tente de prouver que, ni le dictionnaire monolingue ni le dictionnaire bilingue ne peut satisfaire les besoins des apprenants de langues étrangères. Les différentes étapes de l'acquisition de la deuxième langue exigent de différents types de dictionnaires, et ils ont tous leur propre fonction pour aider les apprenants à former une nouvelle habitude langagière.

Le présent article met en revue les recherches actuelles et passées ainsi que les points de vues académiques divers. Quant à l'approche de recherches, des méthodes quantitatives sont adoptées pour étudier quel type de dictionnaire répond le mieux aux besoins des étudiants dans les différentes phases de l'acquisition des langues étrangères. Finalement, on montre les résultats et les discussions pour conclure l'investigation.

Mots-Clés: dictionnaire monolingue, dictionnaire bilingue, étude linguistique

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1. INTRODUCTION

In foreign language teaching and studies, dictionaries have always been playing the indispensable role in the process of a new language habit formation. However, with the rapid growth of dictionary industry, huge amount of dictionaries are now available in book markets. Which types of dictionaries could properly meet the needs of foreign language learners at different stages? This question has always been in the interests of dictionary producers, researchers, dictionary users and language teachers alike. Many researches concerning this question have been conducted, and the results have, in turn, brought about improvements in dictionary compiling and production.

According to the language a dictionary uses, dictionaries, as is known to all, are divided into three categories, namely: monolingual dictionary, bilingual dictionary and bilingualised dictionary (this paper only deals with the first two types of dictionaries). Each of the three types has its own merits and shortcomings. They fulfill different task in language learning and teaching, which is the meaning of their co-existence. None of them is better than the others and they complement each other during foreign language acquisition. If one type of dictionary can fulfill all the requirements and meet all the needs of learners, then, there is no need to explore and compile other dictionaries, and the dictionary industry will stagnate.

Scholars hold diverse points of view concerning the use of dictionaries in students' foreign language studies. Most of them advocate one kind of dictionary while still acknowledge the necessary use of other dictionaries, others show negative attitude towards the kind of dictionary they are not in favor of. In the second section, this paper makes a review about present and past research and various scholarly points of views. In the third section, a quantitative method is adopted to investigate which kind of dictionary best meets the needs of students in different stages of foreign language acquisition. In the following section, results and discussions are shown to conclude the investigation.

This paper tries to prove that, neither monolingual nor bilingual dictionary can, by themselves satisfy the needs of foreign language learners.

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