English Dictionaries for Foreign Learners: A History

By A. P. Cowie | Go to book overview

( McLean to Rockefeller, cited in Henrichsen 1989:143). McLean's joy was premature, however, as later events were to prove. There was, for instance, a strong tendency among more conservative teachers either 'to stick to the old grammar- translation method or to be loyal to and defend Palmer's oral method against the oral approach' ( Yambe, cited in Henrichsen 1989: 143). Nor was Hornby's performance unimpressive to all of those who witnessed it. His emphasis, characteristically, was on the importance of experience in language teaching: 'he pointed out that any teacher of English with a number of years of experience was aware of the special difficulties of Japanese learners' ( Ogawa 1978: 9). As for the influence of structural linguistics, it is true that 'pattern practice' became the focus of attention of English teachers in Japan, but in the view of Ogawa, 'this is merely a different version of the exercise known as "substitution drill", advocated by Palmer and Hornby thirty years earlier' (ibid.).

Hornby's influence on English language teaching has been enduring and profound, not simply because of his contributions to language teaching methodology and his work on learners' dictionaries but also through the A. S. Hornby Educational Trust, which he set up in 1961 ( Brown 1978). This was a far-sighted and generous initiative whereby a substantial part of Hornby's income from royalties was set aside to improve the teaching and learning of English as a Foreign Language, chiefly by providing grants to enable teachers of English from overseas to come to Britain for advanced professional training. Hornby's aim was that the Trust's money should be used for education and 'go back to the countries from which it comes' ( Collier, Neale, and Quirk 1978: 3). The generosity was part of a wider humanity. Hornby was never a remote, dry-as-dust academic, but a man of broad sympathies and practical instincts who believed that the knowledge of the expert should be put to the service of the ordinary learner and teacher.

Hornby's pre-eminence in the field of learner lexicography and language teaching methodology was recognized, towards the end of his life, by the award of several honours. He was appointed OBE and made a Fellow of University College London and a Master of Arts of the University of Oxford. Shortly before his death in 1978, the volume In Honour of A. S. Hornby, edited by Peter Strevens and with contributions by many of his friends and former colleagues, was presented to him to mark his eightieth birthday.


Conclusion

As we turn, in Chapter 1, to consider in much greater detail the lexical research of the 1920s and 1930s and the dictionaries which eventually grew from it, we shall see that in both fields Palmer, West, and Hornby played a dominant role, and that, though in dictionary-making their achievements were distinctive and original, their work touched and overlapped at several points.

-12-

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English Dictionaries for Foreign Learners: A History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Publisher's Acknowledgement v
  • Acknowledgements vi
  • Contents vii
  • List of Figures ix
  • List of Tables x
  • Abbreviations xi
  • Chronological List of Dictionaries Analysed xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Conclusion 12
  • 1 - The Genesis of the Learner's Dictionary 14
  • 1.5. Conclusion 51
  • 2 - Phraseology and the Learner's Dictionary 52
  • 2.8. Conclusion 80
  • 3 - The Second Generation of Learners' Dictionaries 82
  • 3.1. Introduction 82
  • 3.5. Conclusion 116
  • 4.1. Introduction 118
  • 4.7. Conclusion 143
  • 5 - The Third Generation of Learners' Dictionaries 144
  • 5.1. Introduction 144
  • 5.7. Conclusion 173
  • 6 - Focus on the Dictionary User 175
  • 6. 1. Introduction 175
  • Postscript 199
  • References 201
  • Index 217
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