Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Comparing the Effect of Using Monolingual versus Bilingual Dictionary on Iranian Intermediate EFL Learners' Vocabulary Learning

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Comparing the Effect of Using Monolingual versus Bilingual Dictionary on Iranian Intermediate EFL Learners' Vocabulary Learning

Article excerpt


This study aimed to investigate the effect of using two types of dictionaries (monolingual and bilingual) on Iranian intermediate EFL learners' vocabulary learning. An OPT (Oxford placement test, 2001) was administered among 90 students 60 of whom were selected as the participants of this study. They were sophomore students studying English as a foreign language, with the age range of 19-27. They were then divided into two comparison groups: Monolingual Dictionary (MD) and Bilingual Dictionary (BD) groups. A pretest of vocabulary was administered to both groups. Then both groups were given a five-session treatment. One group was taught vocabulary based on monolingual dictionary, and the other group was taught vocabulary through bilingual dictionary. After the treatment, the same version of vocabulary test was given to both groups as posttest to check the effectiveness of the treatments. The results of Paired-Samples and Independent Samples t-tests revealed that the effect of monolingual dictionary on learners' vocabulary learning was more than that of the bilingual dictionary use. The implications and recommendations will also be presented.

Keywords: bilingual dictionary, EFL learners, monolingual dictionary, OPT

1. Introduction

Dictionary plays an important role in learning vocabulary. There is little doubt that dictionary is one of the indispensible instruments for vocabulary learning (Zarei & Lotfi, 2013). In EFL situations, language learners make use of different kinds of dictionaries for a variety of purposes, both at work and in education. The big variety of bilingual and also the monolingual English dictionaries, their availability and EFL learners' accessibility to them have led to a controversy as to what kind of dictionary to use, and this tendency has long been at the core of vocabulary teaching and learning activities. Eeds and Cockrum (1985) highlighted the important role of dictionary and its use as the conventional method of instruction in both first and second language learning. Dictionaries, as the conventional method of instruction, provide information about the language, usually not found elsewhere. They supply useful information concerning grammatical points, usage, formality or informality, synonym, use of derivative affixes, and discrimination between spoken and written English which are not generally dealt with in textbooks. Holi Ali (2012, p. 1) pointed out, "Dictionaries are as indispensible tools for mastering vocabulary and learning a foreign language in general. It provides learners with access to a vast amount of information about words and their usage. Using dictionaries can be seen as an explicit strategy for learning a foreign language vocabulary or as communication strategy".

Thornbury (2002) emphasized the importance of instruction in dictionary use in that it is regarded as a way of promoting learners' autonomy, and provides a possibility to continue word acquisition outside the formal study of the language. In addition, it helps learners understand texts containing specialized vocabulary that is not usually taught in class.

Despite the importance of dictionaries for EFL learners, little research has been conducted in Iran related to the role of dictionary in vocabulary learning. There has been a paucity of research on the effects of monolingual versus bilingual dictionary on EFL learners' vocabulary learning. The main purpose and primary focus of the present study was to investigate the effect of two types of dictionary (monolingual versus bilingual) on Iranian EFL learners' vocabulary learning as they encounter various contexts. These two variables and their potential interaction and effect on each other have not been investigated thoroughly in the Iranian context yet. So the present study was going to fill this gap and shed more light on this controversial issue by finding any possible effect of using bilingual vs. monolingual dictionaries on Iranian intermediate EFL learners' vocabulary learning. …

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