Who is Sharpest at Looking Up <sup>sharp</sup>? Comparing Two Parallel Groups of Dictionary Users

  • Marjeta Vrbinc Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Donna M.T.Cr. Farina Department of Multicultural Education, New Jersey City University, New Jersey, USA
  • Alenka Vrbinc School of Economics and Business, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia


This article is a comparison of two previous research studies (Farina et al. 2019; Vrbinc et al. in press), both of which examined the dictionary look-up behaviors of two very different cohorts of undergraduate students from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. At the time the two original and parallel look-up studies were carried out, one cohort was majoring in business and economics in the School of Economics and Business and the other was majoring in English in the Faculty of Arts. The previously published work reports on how, in both groups, participants were given nine contexts containing a clearly marked common English word used in an infrequent and often unknown sense; they had to locate the relevant sense related to a given context in an unknown-to-them learner's dictionary, The Britannica Dictionary. The participants were asked to think aloud as they looked up words; the researchers observed and recorded their approaches and problems. Prior to, during, and after the look-up process, the members of these two cohorts responded to fourteen questions about their habits of dictionary use and their perceptions of the utility and quality of definitions and illustrative examples that they encountered. This article contrasting the two studies indicates that the look-up proficiency of the two groups differed significantly. Keywords: dictionary user, advanced English learner, learner's dictionary, dictionary awareness, look-up behavior, quality of definition, quality of examples
How to Cite
Vrbinc, M., Farina, D. M., & Vrbinc, A. (2022). Who is Sharpest at Looking Up <sup>sharp</sup&gt;? Comparing Two Parallel Groups of Dictionary Users. Lexikos, 32(1), 368-391. https://doi.org/10.5788/32-1-1750