Improving Access to Second Language Vocabulary and Comprehension Using Bilingual Dictonaries

Scientific Study, 2010
16 Pages, Grade: Grade A



Learning of English in Pakistan is not so simple that it takes only a few minutes to learn. Pakistan is a country where no less than 24 languages and a number of dialects are spoken .Despite having a large number of speakers the regional languages are regarded as ‘minority’ languages, because These languages are dominated politically, economically and culturally by Urdu and English, which enjoy “higher status”. The latter are dedicated for public and official use. The advocates of regionalism also want to promote their regional languages .In the wake of this multilingualism it is imperative for Pakistani to devise an effective language policy We have presently a dual medium of instruction in our institutions of learning .This language quandary evidences that Pakistani policy makers have failed to design a uniform language policy. A look into the 60 year history of Pakistan can give us a better view of language policies with respect to education. Pakistan is a developing country with one of the pitiable rate of adult literacy. To survive, it must integrate with the world making use of all available means of communication In Pakistani, Urdu and English are limited to a hand full of speakers. Both languages are extensively spoken English remain as a second language in Pakistan. It is used for all the practical purposes in the country English has established itself the language of Science and Technology, Administration. Business and Trade, Diplomacy, Advertisement and Forces in Pakistan. It has become a strong vehicle of international communication. Urdu is the National language of Pakistan and in many schools the medium of instruction is Urdu. Thus at national level, Urdu provides social mobility. Pakistan is experiencing the effects of globalization. The country is considered an emerging nation with a rapidly growing economy. Many of the outsourced service jobs from the United States have been exported to Pakistan and other nations in the region. This has drastically changed Pakistan's cultural landscape in the past generation, and a rapidly growing middle class has developed. One of the results of these changes is an increasing interest in English language education. While Pakistan does not have as developed an English teaching system as other areas of the world, it is quickly catching up. English language is bound to play an effective role in our march towards the attainment of our goals. In our country the realization for learning of English language is there for the reason that this area remained under the subjugation of the English rulers for over one hundred years. But lack of clear cut policy towards English language teaching has created three mediums in our country. These are Urdu Medium schools, English Medium schools, and Mixed Medium schools. Due to English and Urdu controversy in Pakistan we have deprived the second language learner of a large bulk of his dynamism and made him artificially silent, still language teachers are wasting time on flogging a dead horse. They are having reservations about using L1 in L2 classrooms; objecting on the grounds that L1 limits exposure to the target language This research points out that teachers actually waste half of the valuable lesson time by limiting input to incomprehensible activities .They should realize that Pedagogy has advanced beyond the days when students were passive participants; and teachers, the sole directors of the language learning process.I do support comunicative methodological arguments that students should be exposed as much as possible to the target language to permit its acquisition considering that their language class is the only time when they can be in contact with the target language.and the one stating that by inhibiting L1 use in the class, students are forced to think and speak English therefore to produce comprehensible output and negotiate meaning.However, I suggest that in contrast to traditional Communicative Language Teaching methodology a controlled and judicious use of L1 can have both pedagogical and affective positive effects in the communicative language class.Teachers can allow the use of L1 in class by allowing the use of bilingual dictionary in language classes .I have noticed these students spend hours and hours poring through their monolingual dictionaries, doing their and class work. Much of their class time is wasted on flipping the dictionary pages. The idea of using bilingual dictionary in Reading classes is a great time-saver ,but this element has not been given an importance,that effectively use a monolingual dictionary, learners need to have a large enough vocabulary of L2 and need to be able to interpret definitions;-however, no such skill is required for consulting a bilingual dictionary. If the role of the teacher is as a facilitator for foreign language learning in the classroom, for students, the bilingual dictionary is a preference to its counterpart. Bilingual dictionaries have been a long time mate of many foreign language students. They are a vital source for data concerning vocabulary items, and they are not a simple classroom tool but an object of life long use.A benefit of utilizing the bilingual dictionary is that it allows learners to search for terms they wish to express in the target language. When students need the meaning of a new word or grammatical structure, they access it through translation. When the students encounter difficulty--in grasping the general sense or meaning of a word or text, or when they think that a translation -of a word is necessary for their comprehension of the text, they resort to bilingual dictionaries.


Learners were seen to- prefer bilingual dictionaries they consider it less time consuming Learners understand the meaning of words given in bilingual dictionaries-more easily and quickly as compared to meaning of words which are defined in a monolingual dictionary of the target language (English). Therefore, the time one spends to read a passage with the help of a bilingual dictionary is substantially lesser than that spent on consulting a monolingual dictionary. Bilingual dictionary seems to give them confidence, derived from a clear understanding of the meaning of a given word; while the monolingual dictionary often forces them to guess the meaning, adding more doubts to already existing ones. It is also relatively more time consuming. Since there are serious constraints of time, especially in short courses, the bilingual dictionary helps teachers and students save valuable time. The time thus saved is available for utilization on related academic activities..Researcher observed that the time students spent on reading a passage with the help of a bilingual dictionary was shorter than that spent consulting a monolingual dictionary. Monolingual dictionary was effective only when time limitation did not exist. Apropos of the memory process, the researcher noticed that the amount of time it took to comprehend meaning of words and texts had a positive direct relationship with the depth of storage: the deeper the storage, the easier the retention For purposes of recall and retention, bilingual dictionaries were found to be more effective Overall, using a dictionary apparently has a significant effect on students’s performance on the vocabulary ,that is why Monolingual dictionary has been issued to all language learners of Numl and it is the essential part of their course books. Whereas these learners bring their personal bilingual dictionary as well ,and they are benefitted from both dictionaries equally. The finding provides empirical evidence, that using a monolingual dictionary while reading causes a decrease in reading speed. Therefore, the bilingual dictionary seems more beneficial when everything is equal and only time limitation exists. Since time is gold especially in intensive courses, the bilingual dictionary helps teachers and students allot the saved time for other class test .Regarding the memory process, the amount of time bilingual dictionary takes has a positive direct relation with the depth of storage -- the deeper the storage, the easier the retention, Therefore findings verify Chastain (1988) belief once more ,that for the recall purposes, whether for the immediate situation or a two-week testing period, bilingual dictionaries are more effective whereas for retention purposes, monolingual dictionaries are much preferred. These findings provided empirical evidence to the theory , that using a monolingual dictionary while reading decreased reading speed. Under the given circumstances, the use of bilingual dictionaries was found more beneficial.

Bilingual dictionaries have been a long time mate of many foreign language students. They are a vital source of data concerning vocabulary items, and they are not a simple classroom tool but an object of life long use. Bilingual dictionaries are helpful in doing translation Bilingual dictionaries of major languages are usually written by consulting monolingual dictionaries or by relying on a native speaker’s intuition.In this way, the compiler has access to specific choices that skilled, bilingual translators have made in matching words between languages


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Improving Access to Second Language Vocabulary and Comprehension Using Bilingual Dictonaries
National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad
Reading Skills
Grade A
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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462 KB
This research describes an experiment to find whether Bilingual dictionaries are faster to use than monolingual dictionaries. Monolingual dictionary works well for advanced learners. In fact, the unknown words advanced learners encounter are usually more complicated that they need more complicated explanations. Whereas Bilingual dictionary works well for beginners, because they become able to research and translate words from all parts of speech utilizing a bilingual dictionary. It enhances their confidence level and increases their vocabulary on their own in a short period of time.
improving, access, second, language, vocabulary, comprehension, using, bilingual, dictonaries
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Dr. Shamim Ali (Author), 2010, Improving Access to Second Language Vocabulary and Comprehension Using Bilingual Dictonaries, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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