Aspects of Modern Language Teaching in Europe

By Wolf Gewehr; Georgia Catsimali et al. | Go to book overview

11

DICTIONARY AWARENESS

Carlos F.Márquez Linares

Introduction

A junior high school Spanish student of English produced the following text: ‘He see a tall man. His hair see grey and he see old.’ The teacher was initially astonished at this shocking display of visual perception on the part of the ‘man’, only to discover after some thinking that the reason for it was very simple. The student meant to say that the man was tall, grey-haired and old. He knew that the Spanish verb for ‘was’, is ‘era’, third-person singular of ‘ser’ (to be), so he looked up the translation of ‘era’ in a dictionary, where he found: ‘see ser’. He obviously chose the most English-looking translation.

Mistakes based on inadequate use of dictionaries are not limited to the beginning stages of language learning. An English-speaking lecturer at a Spanish university was surprised to find that many of her students wrote ‘overcoat’ when they meant ‘above all’. Puzzled by the recurrence of this mistake, she did some lexicographic research, only to find that what her students had done was to look up in their bilingual dictionaries ‘sobre todo’, the Spanish equivalent of ‘above all’. There they found an entry for ‘sobretodo’, and they obviously thought the fact that it was a single word was an irrelevant detail, and they incorporated its translation, ‘overcoat’, into their compositions, with results such as ‘I liked the book very much, and, overcoat, the description of…’. Every language teacher can probably recall some examples of his/her own of this type of ‘dictionary-generated’ mistake, which, in fact, emphasizes the importance of the role that dictionaries play in language teaching and learning.

Dictionaries have traditionally been essential tools for language learning and have consistently been considered as such by most lexicographers, language teachers and language learners. In addition, publishing companies have become increasingly aware that language learners around the world represent a huge market whose needs deserve attention. Thus a considerable number of dictionaries specially designed for language learners have appeared in the last decades creating a tradition which fulfils one of the basic maxims of lexicography, as formulated by Householder and Saporta (1975:279):

-161-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Aspects of Modern Language Teaching in Europe
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 238

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.