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Volume 17 Number 2, Summer 2020, Pages 319-757 PDF Download

The Effects of Dictionary App Use on College-level Korean EFL Learnersʼ Narrative and Argumentative Writing

    Haewon Pyo

Studies of a dictionary app in EFL learners' composition are limited in language education research. This study investigated this issue in the view of genres. Two groups of 45 EFL undergraduates participated in the study. One group performed two genre-based writing tasks, narrative and argumentative, with the help of a dictionary app and the other without it. The written outcomes were rated on five components of writing such as vocabulary, grammar, content, organization, and communicative achievement. Lexical diversity and lexical sophistication of each text were measured and words written after dictionary look-up were examined in both accuracy of use and parts of speech. The results found that in the dictionary use condition, scores of vocabulary improved significantly in both genres. The diversity of vocabulary appeared to increase with dictionary aid, but not necessarily in sophistication. These changes were generally apparent in the narrative genre. Accuracy analysis revealed up to 60% of errors were detected in words written after dictionary look-up and the probability of error occurrence was noticeable in the argumentative genre, where the ratio of verb use was high. Implications for further studies are suggested.

Keywords: dictionary app, second-language writing, vocabulary, genres