Dictionary Use in Foreign Language Writing Exams: Impact and Implications

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John Benjamins Publishing, 2008 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 228 pages
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This book provides an in-depth analysis of what happens when intermediate level learners of a foreign language use a bilingual dictionary when writing. Dictionaries are frequently promoted to people learning a foreign language. Nevertheless, teachers often talk about their students' inability to use dictionaries properly, especially when they write, and this can be problematic. This book paints a comprehensive picture of the differences a dictionary makes and brings out the implications for language learning, teaching, and testing practices. It draws on research in which participants in three studies took writing tests in two test conditions with and without a dictionary. They were also asked what they thought about the two test types. Their performances and opinions were analyzed in a variety of ways. Conclusions from the data highlight some of the practical issues to be kept in mind if we want to help foreign language learners to use bilingual dictionaries effectively when writing.
 

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Contents

1 What is the problem with dictionaries?
1
2 On dictionaries and writing
13
3 Does the dictionary really make a difference?
37
4 How do test takers use dictionaries?
65
5 When the dictionary becomes a liability
95
6 What do the test takers think of having a dictionary?
125
7 Some more test taker perspectives
147
8 Having a dictionary in writing exams is it useful and is it fair?
169
References
203
A note on intermediate level students
211
A note on data and procedures to establish reliability
213
The writing tasks used in the first two studies
217
A note on inferential statistics
221
Index
227
The series Language Learning Language Teaching
229
Copyright

9 Maximizing the opportunity and minimizing the liability
187

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