ASSESSING DICTIONARIES IN ASIAN EFL USAGE

| March 31, 2003
Title
ASSESSING DICTIONARIES IN ASIAN EFL USAGE

Keywords: No Keyword

Author
Ms. Kim, Su-Jin

Bio Data
The author, Ms. Kim, Su-Jin, formerly a High school teacher in Korea, completed her Ma Education in 2002 in Australia. Ms. Kim worked in Korea for 17 years before moving to China to teach in a University in Beijing. She obtained her Ma Education from the Seoul National University in Korea.

Abstract
The primary subject of this work is the dictionary entitled, “Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition” hereafter referred to simply as Merriam’s. Further reference by way of a comparison, which is essential to evaluate carefully the primary work, will be made to the “Longman English-English-Korean Dictionary,” hereafter referred to as Longman’s, and the “Collin’s Concise Dictionary,” hereinafter referred to as Collin’s.
What is a dictionary? Collin’s defines dictionary primarily as, “a book that consists of an alphabetical list of words with their meaning, parts of speech, pronunciations, etymologies, etc,” (Collins Concise Dictionary, 404). Merriam’s expands that definition by saying, “…a reference book containing words alphabetically arranged along with information about their forms, pronunciations, functions, etymologies, meanings and syntactical and idiomatic uses,” (Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 322). Whilst similarities appear in word order, Merriam’s uses the word ‘reference’ to precede the word ‘book.’

[private]

A. A definition.
The primary subject of this work is the dictionary entitled, “Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition” hereafter referred to simply as Merriam’s. Further reference by way of a comparison, which is essential to evaluate carefully the primary work, will be made to the “Longman English-English-Korean Dictionary,” hereafter referred to as Longman’s, and the “Collin’s Concise Dictionary,” hereinafter referred to as Collin’s.
What is a dictionary? Collin’s defines dictionary primarily as, “a book that consists of an alphabetical list of words with their meaning, parts of speech, pronunciations, etymologies, etc,” (Collins Concise Dictionary, 404). Merriam’s expands that definition by saying, “…a reference book containing words alphabetically arranged along with information about their forms, pronunciations, functions, etymologies, meanings and syntactical and idiomatic uses,” (Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 322). Whilst similarities appear in word order, Merriam’s uses the word ‘reference’ to precede the word ‘book.’

This clearly defines the scope of the dictionary and connects it to the requirement of ‘search for knowledge’, as opposed to the meaning provided by Collin’s.
Yet in the introductory pages in Merriam’s, strangely residing under the heading of ‘Grammar and Usage in the Dictionary’, we find further meaning as to what a dictionary is; “…dictionaries will continue to form, as the best dictionaries have always done, a helpful bridge between what we know about language and how we use it,” (Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 30a). Collin’s, in their introduction, shy away from connecting what one knows about language and how one can apply it, to the opposite side of the coin of finding out what one doesn’t know about, “…those knotty points…” (Collins Concise Dictionary, ix), and is merely “… a resource for those who love English,” (ix). Thus we are left with conflicting interpretations of similar definitions.
A glance at the covers also is very telling about the contents, as opposed to the definition, about what the book publishers want the reader to believe. Merriam’s has the words “THE WORDS YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY” in bold on the front cover. Collin’s has the word “new” appearing 8 times on the back cover. Clearly both are trying to persuade the viewer that his/her English language is either out of date or her/his development of her/his own language is somehow lacking. This must be viewed from 2 perspectives, namely an educated English speaker and the learner in an L2 situation. Arguably the former could be insulted, whilst the later would feel his knowledge is still substantially lacking in his quest to speak his English L2 proficiently. This point will be developed within ‘Inter-cultural Aspects of dictionary usage’ hereunder.

But if dictionaries contain words, then as Fromkin and Rodman (1998:63) ask, “What is a word?” Is it as defined by Merriam’s (1998, 1363), ‘something that is said’ or as Collin’s (1740) expands, ‘one of the units of speech or writing that is the smallest isolable meaningful element of the language,’ or more widely as spoken by Humpty to Alice, “When I say a word, it means exactly what I want it to mean, nothing more, nothing less,” (Carrol, 1865) Possibly, they could define ‘word’ to mean ‘a unit of speech that is described in various contexts of usage in modern day English.’
B. Survey.
The question requires us to consider (a) the teacher, and (b) the learner. Prior to an analysis of what either category sees, reads or understands by looking at the dictionary, it is submitted that a prerequisite survey is essential to obtain subjective insights into the users.
One inquiry was conducted directly by myself on the two and only EFL booksellers in Pusan (a port city of 4.5 million people) and a survey in Elementary and Middle schools was carried out. Though Bibel and Or (1996) have evaluated and surveyed a list of dictionaries, their research starts from the premise that it is what is in the dictionary that is important. It is submitted this is flawed, and puts the cart before the horse.

i) Research considerations.
Whilst not impinging upon the topic per se’, a few notes must be made to justify the research for it is submitted any teaching involving a dictionary or dictionaries as is required by the question needs a sound methodological base or the results/findings are without basis and lay no foundation for subsequent inquiry. Various user-type research has been carried out, (Cowie, 1999:177) yet it is submitted that a critical component of user research in Korea, for example, or in any non-English speaking country must include preliminary research questions enunciated by Saville-Troike (1989) or the research may be seriously flawed. Swann (1994) mentions the qualitative quantitative distinction is not always clear cut in practice as applied to education research; the distinction is more on the continuum than the dichotomy, and it is often useful to draw on a combination of methods that may complement one another and provide a more complete picture of language. From the viewpoint of mixed methods, some studies employ a quasi-experiment and observations as a major source for data collection, along with questionnaires as an auxiliary method for the following reasons.

First, a quasi experiment, as McDonough, J. and McDonough, S. (1997) explains, yields valuable information and enables a teacher to answer some specific questions arising from his or her experience. Second, as Hopkins (1993 cited in McDonough, J. and McDonough, S. 1997) describes, observation is a “pivotal activity with a crucial role to play in classroom research,” (p.101). It is interrelated to the “research in the interests of increasing knowledge and understanding a phenomenon” and “whether that knowledge aspires to be idiographic and particular, or transferable and general,” (McDonough, J. and McDonough, S. 1997: 104).

This approach is considered the best to collect the required information when the researcher is more interested in the behavior than in the perceptions of the individuals, (Kumar, 1996). Third, the questionnaire is one of the most commonly used descriptive methods in educational research and its purpose is to obtain a snapshot of conditions and attitudes. It can afford precision and clarity because the knowledge needed is controlled by the questions. In addition, questionnaires can be used on a small scale and in the classroom environment, (McDonough, J. and McDonough, S. 1997: 171).

ii. Survey one.
Question to the Owner of two books stores, (Young-Kwan bookstore and Kyobo book store) October 2002.
a) How many dictionaries do you sell a week?
b) Do customers exhibit a preference for a particular type of dictionary?

Insert Table

Comment:
(a) Korea has an insatiable thirst for American English. This is seen by direct observation and as found in articles, (Dahlin, 1999) et al. Despite the comments of learned authors (Akmajian, 1993:36), that U.S. English can be sub-divided into “standard” and “nonstandard” forms, Ladefoged, (1993) suggest, “…there is no such thing as British English or General American English. There are (only) numerous dialects in both countries.” In Korea there is still a popular belief that American English is superior to the British and that British English vowels are beyond understanding. Thus the obvious success of Merriam’s sales above noted, despite the cost.
Whilst dictionary purchasing appears to be substantial, it will be suggested below that the reasons for purchasing a dictionary have little to do with grammar, pronunciation or the search for meaning, but more so something that may termed the ‘Jones principle.’ namely, my neighbor has one so I must too!
(b) Shop owners indicate that customers frequently buy 2 dictionaries together, namely a bilingual and mono English American English dictionary. This is worthy of research to confirm or refute Cowie’s (1997) research that noted a link between learning and advancing in English and that certain dictionaries are used at specific stages of the learning curve.
iii. Survey two.
This survey was carried out in government schools. Issues pertaining to confusion of translation were substantially overcome so as not to be an issue.

Location:
(a) government elementary schools.
Students surveyed: total 95
Age range. 11-13
Sex. male and female
Years of English study: 1-4
(b) government middle schools.
Students surveyed: total 125
Sex: male
Age range. 14-16
Years of English study: 5-7

total students surveyed 220

1. Do you have a dictionary?………Yes = 205….No = 10….Don’t know = 5

2. Is it:-
a) English – English…………………..0
b) Korean – English………………….164
c) English – Korean…………………..21
d) Don’t know…………………………..20

3. How often do you use it?
a) once a week………………………..5
b) once a month……………………….64
c) not often……………………………..134
d) don’t know………………………….2

4. Why do you use a dictionary?
a) to check the spelling…………….8
b) to learn pronunciation…………..1
c) find meaning in English from Korean..196

5. Does using a dictionary help you learn
English?
a) very much……………………………0
b) some…………………………………..23
c) not sure………………………………182

C.
i. Pronunciation.
In the Explanatory notes (Merriam’s, 12a) appears a small paragraph entitled ‘Pronunciation.’ This preliminary introduction indicates that ‘symbols’ can be located in both front and back covers, and that pronunciation is identified as being between a pair of virgules immediately following the head word. This small heading refers the reader of to a further explanation of the ‘symbols’ in another section oddly not indicated by page number.
Upon reading the introduction in the Guide to Pronunciation, (Merriam’s, p 31a-35) the reader is immediately assailed by two recurring themes. Firstly that this dictionary, and by implication, all dictionaries, are not particular involved with such an issue, “Pronunciation is not an intrinsic component of the dictionary,” (31a). Secondly, that the reader encounters here, as well as consistently throughout the introductory pages, the pronunciation used herein is that attributed to ‘…educated speakers of the English language,’ (31a).

Finally, as if the these two negative weren’t enough, a student who has or may have studied the IPA symbols discovers that Merriam’s uses another set of symbols combined with some IPA symbols. Conversely, the less commonly used (according to this research survey) Collin’s employs the IPA list of symbols with multiple examples attached to each character. Longman employs the IPA characters with a single word example for each character.
Like Merriam’s dictionary that appears prima facie to suggest only ‘educated people’ should be using this dictionary, Collins also notes abruptly that certain pronunciations use different sounds, and “Such variations are acceptable and are to be assumed by the reader,” leaving the reader to guess what that could possibly mean, (Collins, xxi). Longman’s has no introductory commentary at all for the student.

It is submitted that none of three dictionaries under scrutiny, and in particular the primary source, see pronunciation as something they should be giving overt guidance on, but merely to point the reader in other directions of study towards more specifically oriented books.
Nevertheless, the question at the outset asks how helpful students find the dictionary in pronouncing new words, etc. It is submitted this also includes such inquiry into how helpful the students find the dictionary in the pronunciation of known areas of concern. In that respect we must consider what concerns a Korean school student has, namely pronunciation of T and D, (th and th in Merriam’s) and pronunciation of the sounds l and r. Adults often comment that they have concerns with z, ? and ? sounds. (Z, j, zh, in Merriam’s).

Also Korean’s, like Italians, frequently add a vowel to the end of a word. Koreans frequently “…explode,” (Ladefoged, 1997:53) (“…slight glottal or unreleased stop…” (Chang, 1987,225) their final stop consonants; “it’s a big supermarket.” ~ “it’s a bigga supermarket.” [ its ? ‘big?]. The remedy(ies) may not be found by reference to Merriam’s, and needs reference to a specific book, e.g. Ladefoged (1993) or by way of viewing on the multimedia system. This excellent multimedia is available to all government school teachers with such software programs as Accent Coach 1, which allows the student to hear examples, see the external labial view and inside mouth view, followed by the opportunity to repeat into the microphone and observe the computer graphics of her sound pattern matched against the computer sound pattern. Reference to a dictionary, providing the class has an understanding of IPA symbols (which it does not unless briefly taught by the adventurous teacher) can show the difference between correct forms and incorrect forms, followed by a class exercise. Students often noted that they self teach themselves IPA symbol meanings and pronunciation by transferring their knowledge from a word they know to other words containing the same symbol.

ii. D and T
The two sounds seem to provide difficulty to adult Koreans, but not to juveniles. This may relate more to the fact that adults never had any oral practice at school, as this element has only been introduced since the beginning of the 7th government school curriculum in 2000. This goes further to issues of the critical age hypotheses debate started by Lennenberg (1967) and still consumes academic debate, but beyond the scope of this question. The two sounds are usually replaced by /t/-T, /d/ D.
Example~ this is a book – dis is book. (note no article)

Turning to guidance from Merriam’s, we find that T is transcribed as /th/ and receives little guidance apart from examples, thin and ether. The explanation goes on to confuse the reader, namely that it is a single sound, not two, but when they appear in sequence, as in knighthood, this dictionary will place a hyphen between the /t/ and /h/. Looking for guidance from the book for D is also vague, with a similar description of two examples and that it is a single sound. Collins provides no advice but many more examples, and Longman provides one example for each class. Merriam’s gives guidance when one turns to the entry for ‘the’ (Merriam’s, 1221) to read which sound, th or th to use, (though the print is so minuscule one need a magnifying glass to see what it says.)
Again recourse is best had in the classroom to the Accent Coach program, which clearly demonstrates the two differences with practice examples. The tongue position is clearly shown between the lips in Accent Coach, yet Ladefoged (1997) suggests this is more a difference between AmE and BrE. The important fact is the sound and its understandability.

iii. l and r.
These sounds do not occur in Korean. There is no similar sound position. Like the southern Chinese, (Chang, 1987:225) Koreans adults sometimes have difficulty distinguishing/l/ and /r/. Like the Chinese, /l/ in final position may be dropped, or replaced with /i„./ This does not cause great misunderstandings, however, r, following a plosive bilabial results in the /r/ becoming /l./ This leads to confusion and misunderstanding, e.g. ‘I played in the tempe,’ should have meant, ‘I prayed in the temple.’ Two sounds in this sentence thus causing speaker difficulty, namely beginning /r/, final /l/. Collateral issues relating to Intercultural communication arise, which requires skilled listeners who fit the criteria of Saville Troike (1989) to handle so as to avoid the Korean speaker losing face.
iv. ?/?/z/
Adult students frequently show a desire to practice these sounds. In speech they do not perceptibly appear to have problems, yet it is common to hear a request for practice. Turning to Merriam’s there is, in this situation, words one can use to practice, though one must be aware that IPA ? is Merriam’s /j./ IPA z and Merriam’s are equivalent but IPA /?/ is Merriam’s /zh./ It can be argued that when a student merely wants practice, as opposed to guidance, then the dictionary is a useful resource as in this case.
v. Consonant clusters.
Unlike the Chinese, initial consonant clusters do not seem a problem, however, it is clear that final consonant clusters can cause difficulty. There are close similarities between Chinese and Korean learners of English in trying to simplify the final cluster, usually by adding a /?z/ sound. None of the dictionaries makes any reference to this and no guidance can be gleaned by student or teacher. Accent Coach is again the remedy.
vi. /ch/ /tS/
Initial sounds cause no problem and have a proximity to a Korea sound, yet final sound is alien to the Korean language. Thus it is common to hear the closest sound in Korean being applied by adding a long vowel /ii¹/ sound after the final cluster. No overt guidance in found in the bilingual dictionary.
vi. Electronic Dictionaries.
During the course of this work a collateral fact became apparent. Many students possess expensive electronic dictionaries (pocket size) which contain the spoken word. Students thus use this to hear the correct pronunciation of a word. IPA symbols do not appear in some models, and do in others. Cost ranges from Aud $50.00 to Aud $300.00.

D.
i. Grammar.
What use does a dictionary play for L2 learners when it comes to grammar? Cowie (1997, 178) suggests that research shows students use this function the least. There is evidence to suggest that students use a dictionary most often to look up verbs, nouns, and adjectives, with least attention paid to repositions, conjunctions and articles, (Cowie, 1997:181). It is submitted that the latter items may well in fact to be shown in Korean centered research to be at the top of the order because articles are not part of the Korean grammar, and prepositions cause much confusion.
Merriam’s provides a lengthy introduction into ‘Grammar and Usage in the Dictionary’ (30a), yet at the outset they seem to dissuade users from using the dictionary as a comprehensive or authoritative source in this field, “…we may see, at least briefly and occasionally, in the dictionary is the grammatical system,” (Merriam’s, 30a). However, unlike Collin’s or Longman’s, Merriam’s provides a very comprehensive section on punctuation and capitalization. The coma is used indiscriminately by Korean students with absolutely no regard for correct usage, but more so for appearance. (Plug in, the tape recorder, Yujin.) ((example from student’s training manual on correct classroom English)).

ii. Prepositions.
Students of English as an L2 in Korea find difficulty in applying the correct preposition. That a preposition is needed is not the problem, but using the correct one confuses them. Reference to Merriam’s does not assist the student, for should they turn to the word ‘preposition’ they merely get a definition (Merriam’s, 920). Collin’s provides the student with useful information (in a Usage Note box,) in that it notes that whilst it was once formerly impermissible to end a phrase with a preposition, now it is acceptable form of English grammar. However, here is where the bi-lingual excels in its function for the L2 student, and clearly raises the issue again (as noted in Cowie, 1997) that bi-lingual dictionaries may have their purpose if used at the appropriate stage of L2 acquisition.
Apart from the basic definition as seen in the other two dictionaries, Longman’s provides two illustrated pages (under the title of ‘study notes’) that demonstrate clearly for the student various prepositions and their usage. The student can refer to the word definition and then see it illustrated in a picture in the study notes. The student both sees the demonstration, then is asked to fill in the correct preposition in the examples provided.
In this regard, the dictionary proves to be a valuable aid to the L2 teacher. Further, the ‘study notes’ are monolingual. Whilst Tomaszczyk (cited in Cowie, 1997:179) suggests research results that show users prefer monolingual dictionaries, Koreans appear to have an advantage using bilingual dictionaries.

iii. Articles.

Koreans do not use articles. Like the Chinese, students find them very difficult to master. Common phrases are; ‘Did you see doctor?’, ‘My father is businessman,’ and ‘I have apple and the carrot.’ It appears that on the whole articles are almost without exception omitted by students in both written and oral production, and inserted randomly (as the last example) in the hope of getting it right. Teaching articles in itself seems to be widely understood at the classroom level yet in practice they disappear from use. It is submitted that no dictionary will be of benefit, apart from supplying a definition. Even the Longman bilingual dictionary provides no guidance or usage notes for student reference or practice.

E.
Inter cultural language teaching issue:

Any cross-cultural communication with a Korean has a potential to lead to the ‘loss of face’ syndrome, (Kramsch, 2001). A non-Korean will fail to read the Korean body language, unless, as noted by Saville Troike, (1989:110) “…extensive background study of the community…” has first been carried out. In my case this decree arguably can be substituted for along term residency in the host country.

It became quite clear by a combination of chance and awareness of Korean body language that there was another issue at play not related to any of the above discussion. It was described to me by the Director of the Department of Eye Surgery, of the Bong Memorial Hospital recently while sitting with him and assisting him in the writing of an English presentation he was to give.

A situation arose where we needed to refer to a bilingual dictionary. One was available which I handed to Dr. Kim. It immediately became apparent from his negative body language that something was wrong and he did not wish to look inside it. Under friendly interrogation he admitted that most Koreans had very bad eyesight, even those with glasses had difficulty at times. He indicated the size of the print in the dictionary and said in low voice that Koreans were afraid to open a book that they knew contained small print, for it may lead to a loss of face as viewed by their peers if they could not read the print, (which though attributable to small print and bad eyes,) may be seen as an under educated issue. Education is the corner stone of Confucionist tradition.
The Korean term (chaemyoun) has far greater meaning than the western words and meaning, and includes a sensitivity to the other view. “Chaemyoun and honor are more important than life and death,” (Yang, S. 2002). According to Kramsch (2001:46), communication, whether cross cultural or otherwise, has, as it’s ultimate aim, the need to “…protect one’s own and other participant’s face at all times”.

Clearly at play here were two issues as seen by the Korean doctor, namely he was embarrassed to open a dictionary whose print would force him to squint etc, just to read, and possibly the issue that he did not know what word it was he was searching for in English. This further translates to the student learner situation, where it is known and obvious that bad eyesight predominates many students who frequently hold books centimeters from their eyes to read. This issue may in fact be so significant as to be a leading factor in the reluctance to use a dictionary. Thus the issues of ‘chaemyoun’ (teacher) and bad eyes (students) combine to silently defeat a dictionaries use. However, with this fact at the forefront, and considering inter cultural language teaching issues, any dictionary exercise (in Korea) must be planned such that either pages are photocopies at an enlarged size, or by choosing (entry/ies) that cause as little discomfort as possible.

F.
Conclusion:
The question at the outset asks for comment on the suitability of this dictionary for an actual or hypothetical class. A simple summary would say that whilst a dictionary (Merriam’s) provides little or no guidance in addressing pronunciation problems, it does provide basic help in simple practice. This is self-admitted in Merriam’s introduction. Grammar issues are more thoroughly dealt with, but again are a guide, not a primary resource for learning.
The specific question is now addressed in two parts. First is a summary of usage as seen academically. Secondly, specifics of actual classroom usage are listed.

(a) The use of dictionaries as a tool for L2 learning and teaching in this country is arguably underutilized. Clearly an educator’s duty is to search out that dictionary which is suited for her purposes or those of the curriculum and cultural restraints, and use it as an active and effective tool; as Seal (1991) says “…not only do teachers need to have their students learn how to use the dictionary, but teachers should keep an eye open for ways of integrating the dictionary with class work.” The gulf that exists, however, between what dictionary publishers believe their dictionary is for (Merriam’s, p1, above) and what educators believe dictionaries do, namely “… that their intention is to tell people what to do rather than describe what actually occurs,” (Romaine, 2000:91) suggests the rift is quite large between the two extremes. Indeed, if dictionaries are assumed to have a useful purpose, then one may ask why, inter alia, Methodology in TESOL, (Long and Richards, 1987) makes no reference at all to dictionary usage as a tool in TESOL?

Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary gives the appearance of fulfilling the ideal of linking language to usage; however, it is the negative conscious or subconscious perceptions of teachers and students that a dictionary may serve little value that prevents such a dictionary as examined herein from finding its way into active L2 usage.

Until these perceptions are addressed as a serious academic area of research with appropriate research methods, then dictionaries, no matter how good they are, will sit on shelves on view as opposed to being essential classroom tools for the learning and teaching of English L2 grammar and pronunciation. The paradox of dictionaries noted by Cowie (1997:182) clearly still exists, though not necessarily for the reasons noted by that author.
In the vast cross section of class teaching I have encountered in Korea, I have yet to see a government school, university or college actively use these in the classroom L2 learning context. Statistically we know that a large percentage of the students have them, and similarly we know that statistically a large percentage of them use them infrequently and only partially make use of the resources contained therein. Similarly we know that a large percentage of the educators have them but see them as a personal resource to solve an individual question. Somehow the educators have to address and rectify the situation that dictionaries are seen as a status of learning (an L2) without being used to fulfill that status.

(b) Classroom usage. This conclusion is presented in tabular form. It was the result of a controlled demonstration class that ran from 09.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. during normal school hours. The subjects were Korean Middle school students (boys 14 years old) in their 5th year of English L2 instruction. Following a demonstration class co-taught by a Korean teacher, students were given instruction in the use of two of the three dictionaries, Merriam’s, and Longman’s, to find certain information, (no instruction was mentioned about the Collin’s dictionary). Ten dictionaries of each were under the teacher’s control and usage in and out was monitored, (dictionaries were borrowed and returned by students (group work). The activity involved finding correct spelling, AmE or BrE, writing word meanings, speaking and transcribing two words into IPA. There were 46 students in the class (average size) divided into 12 teams. Groups often used a second dictionary to confirm or check information gained from the first. Usage for each question was delineated into time slots, and the Korean teacher randomly checked item usage.

insert table

Comments.
An air of artificiality existed in this class, as dictionaries were present, which is never the norm.
The only information the students had about Collin’s was that it tended to show the British spelling more often than Merriam’s. This clearly influenced its usage, that being the simplest task of the four and confirming much hitherto noted research that a dictionaries main function is seen as a spelling aid. It was noted that Longman’s was used first in all cases of word meaning, with secondary guidance from Merriam’s. This somewhat confirms the results noted in Cowie, (1999:179) which noted a 95% primary usage of a bilingual dictionary.

Students were shown one example of the possibility of different IPA symbols without reference to any dictionary, thus the double-checking for the same words. Sounds known to be difficult to Koreans were chosen. (l/ r/f/v/D/T/) viz; ‘father prayed by the lake after viewing the theater.’ (= U.S. spelling) Although the ‘pronunciation lesson’ was a mere 10 minutes in length, (co-taught) the students seemed sufficiently aware of IPA symbols to make reference to the dictionaries. The exercise whilst primarily focusing on dictionary usage/non usage also noted the sentence was clearly spoken by a group captain chosen to speak the phrase.

Negative observations.
Sadly, as is so common, dictionaries, which are costly, came in for various abuses, and this happened in a controlled situation. As noted by the senior Korea staff member observing, this factor alone ensures schools do not provide dictionaries to students. (herein lies some clues to publishers to prepare dictionaries that are anti-paper-abuse) which may reverse the negativity of supplying the books to students.

insert table

Footnote:

Though some classes of words do not change, prepositions, conjunctions and determiners, the class that does change (excluding nouns, adjectives and adv/verbs) and does not find relief in any dictionary, is termed Konglish. This acronym from ‘Korean English’ is now believed to consist of 703 words that are of Korean origin and are part of the Korean English speak or use in every day Korean. None of the dictionaries noted above (even Longman’s Korean English) includes this category of words. Konglish can be words that are; (a) derivations of basic English, e.g. air-con from air conditioner, remote-con from remote control (b) incorrect translations from Korean, e.g. consent is the word Koreans use in Korean (loan word) to refer to the electric plug and power point (the link between dictionary meaning ad Korean application becomes obvious,) handle, means ‘steering wheel.’ Skinship, probably from /relationship/ and /touching the skin/ is used daily by teachers and mothers to represent any closeness, hugging or touching situation. Where do students find this information? Though part of every day language, both their L1 and their L2, they are unrecorded as of yet, apart from some Internet sites that dabble in the meanings and probable origins. Many Konglish words are compound nouns. Given that an elementary student must know 800 English words, a middle school student about 1,300 and high school about 2000, Konglish can play an important role in their vocabulary, yet an as of yet unrecorded function.

Footnotes.

1. Accent Coach. English Pronunciation Trainer. Syracuse Language. Language

Connect Institute. http://www.languageconect.com

2. Survey profile.
If we concede that 97% of students in the survey own or have unfettered access to a dictionary, but those who constitute 3b + 3c = 213, being some 99% of all students, we may legitimately ask why they have a dictionary at all, and go so far to hypothesize that the ‘domino theory’ which is so prevalent in Korean education may be one leading answer, combined with gross ignorance about the functions and uses a dictionary, bilingual or mono-lingual can serve. This however is clearly the work of well-framed field survey work

Index.

Akmajian.A,. Demers.S., and Framer, S. 1993, Linguistics. An Introduction to Language and Communication. 3rd edn’, MIT Press, NY.
Argyle, M. 1988, Bodily Communication, Methuen and Co, London.
Bibel. B. & Or. V. 1996. Bilingual dictionaries. Booklist, June, v. 92,
Carrol, L. 1865, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Penguin Books Ltd., England.
Chang, J. 1987,’Chinese Speakers’, in Learner English: A Teacher’s Guide to Interference and Other Problems, eds, Swan, M and Smith, B., CUP, pp.224-237.
Cook, V. 2001, Second Language Learning And Teaching, Arnold, London.
Cowie, A. 1999, ‘Focus on the Dictionary user’, in Dictionaries for Foreign learners: A History, OUP, London, pp. 175-198.
Crookes, G. & Chaudron, C. 1991, ‘Guidelines for Classroom Language Teaching’, in Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language, ed M. Celce-Murcia, Heinle & Heinle. Massachusetts, pp. 46-66.
Crozet, C., & Liddicoat, A.J. 1997, ‘Teaching Culture as an Integrated Part of Language Teaching: An Introduction,’ ARAL Series S no. 14, pp.1-22.
Crozet, C. & Liddicoat, A.J. 1999, ‘The Challenge of Intercultural Language Teaching: Engaging with Culture in the Classroom’, in Striving for the Third Place: Intercultural Competence through Language Education, eds’ J. Lo Bianco, A. J. Liddicoat & C. Crozet. Language Australia, pp. 113-125.
Dahlin, R. 1999, ‘You’re as good as your word’, Publisher’s Weekly, v.246, p.249.
Douglas-Brown, H. 1994, Principles of Language Learning & Teaching, Prentice Hall, NY.
Ellis, R. 1996, The Study of Second Language Acquisition, O.U.P., Oxford.
Fromkin, V. & Rodman, R. 2000. An Introduction to Language 6th Edition, Harcourt Brace Orlando, Fl.
Kramsch, C. 2001, Language and Culture. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Kumar, R. 1996, Research Methodology. London, Longman
Lee, J. 2002, A Confucian Perspective, Korean Higher Education, Jimoondang Publishing Company, Seoul.
Ladefoged. P. 1993, A Course in Phonetics, Harcourt Brace, NJ.
Lennenberg, E. 1967, Biological Foundations of Language. Wiley, New York.
McDonough, J. & McDonough, S. 1997, Research Methods for English Language Teachers, Arnold, London.
McGloin, N. 1998, ‘Japanese English Code Switching : Syntax and Pragmatics, The Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 57. pp.545-546.
Ministry of Education 1999. The 7th Curriculum. Seoul. Korea
O’Grady, W., & Dobrovolsky, M. 1996. Contemporary Linguistic Analysis: An Introduction., 3rd edn., Copp Clark Ltd. Toronto.
Seal. B., 1991, ‘Vocabulary Learning and Teaching’, in Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language, ed. M. Celce-Murcia, Heinle & Heinle. Massachusetts, Heinle & Heinle. pp. 296 – 312.
Scovel. T. 1991, ‘Teaching English’, Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language, ed. M. Celce-Murcia, Heinle & Heinle. Massachusetts, pp. 46-66. Heinle & Heinle, pp.136-145.
Swann, J. 1994, Observing and Recording Talk in Educational Settings. In D.Graddol, J.Maybin & B.Stierer ,eds, Researching Language and Literacy in Social Context. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters Ltd.
Romaine, S. 2000. Language In Society, An Introduction to Sociolinguistics 2nd Edn, OUP, Oxford.
Saville-Troike, M. 1989, ‘The Analysis of Communicative Events’, in The Ethnography of Communication: An Introduction, 2nd edn, Basil Blackwell, Oxford, pp. 107-180.
Stapp. Y. 1999, (accessed June 25th 2002), ‘Neural Plasticity and the Issue of Mimicry Tasks in L2 Pronunciation Studies’, TESL-EJ (Online), vol. 3. No. 4, January, Available: http://www.kyoto-su.ac.jp/information/tesl-ej/ej12/a1.html
Yamada, R., & Tohkura, Y., 1997, (accessed April 4th 2002), ‘Training Japanese Listeners to Identify English’, http://www.ling.nwu.edu/~abradlow/Research.htm
Yamada, T. & Tohkura, Y. 1992, Perception of American English /r/ and /l/ by Native Speakers of Japanese. In Y. Tohkura, E. Bateson & Y. Sagisaka eds. Speech Perception. Production and Linguistic Structure. Tokyo: Ohmsha, Amsterdam, IOS Press, pp.155-174.[/private]

Category: Quarterly Journal