An Investigation into Bilingual Dictionary Use: Do the Frequency of Use and Type of Dictionary Make a Difference in L2 Writing Performance?

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor Shahrekord University, Shahrekord

2 M. A., TEFL Islamic Azad University, Najafabad


Bilingual dictionary use in L2 writing test performance has recently been the subject of debate. Opinions differ according to how the trait is understood and whether the system favors the process-oriented or product-oriented views towards the assessment and writing skill. Given the need for more empirical support, this study is aimed at investigating the availability of bilingual dictionary use, frequency of use and type of bilingual dictionary (Persian-to-English and/or English-to-Persian) in L2 writing tests. To these ends, 60 Iranian EFL learners, in a counterbalancing procedure, were asked to write 2 timed essays in 2 test conditions: with and without a dictionary. The frequency of use in this study was defined in terms of number of look-ups in the bilingual dictionaries. The t-test between writing mean scores in the 2 test conditions revealed that using a bilingual dictionary made a significant difference in the writing test scores. The results of ANOVA also showed that frequency of dictionary use made a significant difference, but the high frequency of use was not found to be positive. Furthermore, the type of bilingual dictionary was found to be a significant variable, with the highest writing mean score for those who used English-to-Persian dictionaries in writing the essays. Finally, pedagogical implications for L2 learners and teachers are presented.