Lexicographical Landscape: An Investigation into Digital Tools, Preferences, Challenges and Usage Patterns among Pakistani Graduate ESL Learners
Keywords:Digital lexicographical tools (DLT), lexical development, English as Second Language (ESL), English as Second Language Learners (ESLL)
The present study explores the uses, preferences and challenges of ESL learners in using digital lexicographical tools in typical Pakistani context. As technologies continue to shape language learning, the importance of digital lexicographical tools has increased substantially. However, the specific preferences and challenges in using these tools by the ESL learners are less explored in Pakistani context. The researchers employed mixed method approach and floated a questionnaire among 200 ESL learners from public sector universities eliciting their preferences, challenges and frequency of use. Additionally, focus group discussions and individual interviews provide deeper insights into participant’s perspective. Findings of the study reveal that these ESL learners exhibit strong tendency in using digital lexicographical tools (DLTs) due to easy accessibility and convenience in use. Most popular DLTs include Google online dictionary, Oxford Dictionary, thesauruses and Merriam Webster (Mobile Apps). Nevertheless, the study identifies challenges faced by the participants, such as limited internet connectivity, Google advertisements that impede a successful and trouble-free consultation process, the terminology used to describe the difficult terms they seek is beyond their comprehension lack of teachers’ guidance in selecting appropriate tools. They have positive attitude towards digital lexicographical tools to help them enhance their lexical development and language knowledge. Through DLTs, they have experienced a sense of autonomy and independence in learning. Furthermore, the study proposed that there is a need to gain guidance from teacher to select an appropriate and suitable digital lexicographical tools and suggested digital lexicographical tools based on their level of understanding.
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