Dictionary Use by EFL Writers: What Really Happens?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


All of the words that 51 Japanese EFL university students had looked up in their dictionaries were identified in a 41,024-word corpus of student writing. Forty-two percent of these "dictionary words" were found to have been used incorrectly in some way. An analysis of the errors themselves and of interviews with more and less successful dictionary users was conducted in an attempt to better understand why these errors were committed and what can be done to assist students in avoiding such errors. The findings indicate that successful dictionary users, regardless of their level of English proficiency, employ a variety of sophisticated look-up strategies. Furthermore, this research brings into question some of the claims of previous studies into FL dictionary use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-43
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Second Language Writing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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