A study of English monolingual learners' dictionaries and their users

John Douglas Battenburg, Purdue University


The English monolingual learner's dictionary (MLD) is explored throughout this study. A number of researchers have investigated dictionaries from the lexicographer's perspective; however, this work considers dictionaries from the user's viewpoint. The dissertation is organized into five chapters. Chapter one discusses the increasing interest exhibited by lexicographers, linguists, and language teachers in how lexical information is selected, described, and arranged within dictionaries. The relationship between linguistics and lexicography is also explored.^ Chapter two focuses on the history of English lexicography and the development of the MLD. The status of MLDs in relation to other types of lexical reference books is also addressed. The MLD entry is dealt with in chapter three. Eleven components included within dictionaries are examined. A number of MLDs currently on the market are scrutinized, and in places preferences for one work are expressed. In addition, recommendations for necessary changes are made. Chapter four deals with the dictionary user. Research concerning the needs, usage habits, and reference skills of dictionary users is surveyed. Specifically, studies concerning EFL students, native English speakers, and EFL students are examined, and directions for future research are investigated. In addition, the complex yet important task of teaching dictionary usage is discussed.^ Finally, chapter five considers some of the future possibilities with MLDs. The strict division between bilingual and monolingual works is questioned, for dictionaries may better assist language learners if they include certain information in both the source and target languages. This chapter also explores how the computer is capable of transforming the dictionary into a more effective learning resource tool. Two general findings from this study are that lexicographers need to pay more attention to the requirements of their audience prior to compiling their works, and that MLDs must be designed for specific language proficiency levels and restricted activities. ^




Major Professor: Victor Raskin, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Language, Linguistics

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