Learners’ Perceptions of Monolingual Dictionaries in Learning English as a Foreign Language

Wajahat Taj Abbasi, Mudassar Mahmood Ahmad, Faiza Abdalla Elhussien Mohammed


Dictionary is an acknowledged learning tool which has a tremendous role in acquiring a language. It has proved to be helpful in learning vocabulary and developing language proficiency. The use of monolingual dictionaries is thought to be very fruitful for learning vocabulary. The present study used survey method to gain the perception of the students about the use of monolingual dictionaries for learning EFL. The study also used interviews of EFL teachers to support the findings of the study by eliciting their perceptions about the use of dictionaries by students. A questionnaire was administered in two governmental secondary schools of Zulfi, Saudi Arabia. It was sent to 99 students but a number 92 students responded. Internal reliability of the questionnaire was.81. Descriptive statistical methods were used for analyzing the quantitative data. Additional interviews with 9 teachers were also conducted to support the findings of the questionnaire. Collective thematic analysis of all interviews was conducted to analyze the qualitative data. The results showed that students have positive views about the use of dictionaries for learning EFL; they prefer to use monolingual dictionaries, but they cannot truly use them because bilingual dictionaries are easier and more helpful for them in translation as well as their process of learning English language due to their low proficiency levels. The paper puts forth some recommendations and suggestions that will be helpful for using monolingual dictionaries. It concludes by focussing on the problems in handling monolingual dictionaries.


Bilingual, Dictionaries, EFL Context, Monolingual

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