Journal of Education & Social Policy

ISSN 2375-0782 (Print) 2375-0790 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/jesp

Investigating Students' Attitudes towards Pedagogical Dictionaries: A Study of Sudanese English Majors
Dr. Nauman Al Amin Ali Al Sayed, Dr. Ahmed Gumaa Siddiek

This study attempts to uncover the overall perceptions and actual dictionary practices among a sample of 160 Sudanese English majors. A questionnaire based on Bejoint’s (1981) classic study, with more recent modifications such as Hartmann (2005), is utilized. Results indicate that students are overwhelmingly aware of the crucial role of dictionaries in language learning. Also, while most of the subjects are convinced of the superiority of advanced paper- based monolingual dictionaries, they almost as frequently refer to the more accessible electronic and bilingualized dictionaries. Yet, on the whole, dictionary use is limited and is almost invariably associated with reading rather than productive language skills. More significantly, in tandem with earlier studies, the subjects of the present study employ the (monolingual) dictionary primarily as a decoding tool to locate definitions, to the almost utter neglect of such vital entry components as pronunciation, collocations and level of usage. Finally, the subjects manifest a marked lack of knowledge, both of ancillary dictionary matter such as appendices and abbreviations and the organization of definitions in the main dictionary entry. It is suggested that such ignorance is largely due to the exclusion of lexicography from university syllabi and teaching practices in Sudanese universities.

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