A Survey Study of the Dictionary Use Sub-strategies of English Majors in Saudi Arabia: Dictionary Related Aspects

  •  Sultan Alhatmi    


This study explored the sub-strategies Saudi English majors use most when consulting the dictionary. In particular, it looked at the aspects of the dictionary use strategy relevant to the dictionary itself rather than the lookup words (mainly purposes for consulting the dictionary, means of dictionary ownership and type of dictionary consulted). The participants were 90 English major students enrolled in an English undergraduate program at the Department of European Languages at King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia. A survey questionnaire adapted from the literature was used to collect data for the study. The results showed that the learners’ strategic preferences were largely affected by the features they liked (e.g. free dictionaries, the ease of use and search as well as portability of tech-based digital dictionaries) or disliked (e.g. the difficulty of search and use in paper dictionaries as well as their heavy weight and high thickness) most about dictionaries. Thus, they preferred to either download dictionary apps to their phones from application stores or go online whenever they needed to consult a dictionary for a word. Moreover, in terms of dictionary types, learners favored the bilingual English-Arabic dictionary (language-wise), dictionary apps and online dictionaries (medium-wise) and the ordinary dictionary (content-wise). Also, they consulted the dictionary no more than five times a day and tended to look up more words when consulting tech-based (digital) dictionaries than when using paper dictionaries. Finally, they used their dictionaries mainly to understand new words while reading.

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