Bilingualised dictionaries: How learners really use them

Batia Laufer, Michal Kimmel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bilingualised dictionaries contain the monolingual information about a word and its translation into the learner's mother tongue. But what part of the entry do learners read when they look up an unfamiliar word: the monolingual, the bilingual, or both? This was the research question of the study. Seventy EFL learners, native speakers of Hebrew participated in the experiment. The test items were 15 unfamiliar low frequency words (10 targets, 5 distractors). These were presented in their bilingualised form, with the monolingual information and the translation. But in the case of the target items, a mismatch between the English and the Hebrew parts of the entry was built in. In five items, the English part of the entry was wrong, in the other five - the Hebrew. The five distractors were given with the correct entries. The subjects were given a multiple choice test in which they were asked to mark the correct meaning or meanings of the target items. Two responses on each test item corresponded to the Hebrew part, two to the English part. One response of each two was an exact equivalent, the other an approximate one. Learners' responses were divided into Hebrew-motivated, English-motivated, English- and Hebrew-motivated. Each learner was classified by his favourite look-up pattern, whether it was using one specific language, or different languages for different words, or both languages for the same words. The results show the distribution of the different look-up patterns and the differences between them. On the basis of these, we argue that the bilingualised dictionary is very effective as it is compatible with all types of individual preferences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-369
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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