University L2 learners' voices and experience in making use of dictionary apps in Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticles

Abstract

Language learners can now access language learning information anywhere and anytime with handheld mobile devices connected to unlimited online information. Searching the meaning of unknown language items encountered online may be the first step for language learning to take place. Making good use of e-dictionaries and dictionary apps is a key factor that affects learning efficiency. Using a survey questionnaire completed by more than 200 participants and examining both quantitative and qualitative data, this study investigated how Hong Kong university L2 learners make use of dictionary apps and probed into what dictionary functions they actually use and what functions they desire when they engage in MALL. Four categories of dictionary functions, including lexical information, extra resources, lexical tutors, and lexical tools, are used to describe all dictionary functions that students accessed or desired. The results show that dictionary apps have become essential tools for Hong Kong university students to learn an L2 as well as facilitate their academic studies; bilingual dictionaries with multiple functions and rich resources are meaning decoders that help students engage in learning both in their subject courses and English learning. Some discrepancies exist in learners' actual use and desired use of dictionary functions, which deserve the further attention of both app developers and language teachers to improve learners' efficiency of vocabulary learning. In addition, teachers play an important role in guiding students' lexical learning. Based on the findings, a framework for understanding Hong Kong university students' choice and use of dictionary apps is provided, based on which implications are offered and discussed. Copyright © 2019 IGI Global.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-36
JournalInternational Journal of Computer-Assisted Language Learning and Teaching
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

Citation

Ma, Q. (2019). University L2 learners' voices and experience in making use of dictionary apps in Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL). International Journal of Computer-Assisted Language Learning and Teaching, 9(4), 18-36. doi: 10.4018/IJCALLT.2019100102

Keywords

  • Bilingual dictionaries
  • Dictionary Apps
  • Dictionary functions
  • MALL

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