Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 11 : 4 April 2011
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.
         G. Baskaran, Ph.D.
         L. Ramamoorthy, Ph.D.



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A Study of Behaviour of Medical Students Towards Dictionary Use

Ali Ahmad, Ph.D. Scholar
Hafiz Mansoor-ul-Haq, M.B.BS., FCPS
Zafar Iqbal, Ph.D.


People from different fields of life use a dictionary for their linguistic as well as professional enrichment. General purpose as well as specialised dictionaries are compiled on the basis of the needs users. The users decide about the dictionaries according to their academic and professional needs.

The present study aims at finding out dictionary using habits of medical students. The study is quantitative in nature. 100 MBBS students studying at Sharif Medical College, Lahore are selected as a sample of the study. A questionnaire adapted from Hartmann (1999), Nesi (2000), Tono (2001) and Ahmad (2009) is administered among these students.

The analysis reveals that the medical students least use the dictionary for language needs. They do not intend to find out definitions, pronunciations, grammatical usages and phrasal verbs. On the contrary, the students of medical science use the dictionary to find the encyclopaedic information. They just want the explanations of the medical terms. The language information tagged to these terms does not attract their attention though this is provided in the dictionary they claim to be in their use.

It is also found that the medical students are not aware of the diversity of information provided in the dictionaries whether they are language (general purpose) or medical (LSP) dictionaries. The study concludes that the medical students do not pay attention to their language needs. They just use dictionaries as a tool of information.

Key Words: dictionary, professional, language learning, medical, students


The dictionaries are an integral part of language. Their use holds great importance in language learning. Jakson, (2002:21) declares that the dictionaries are the "book about language" because they cover the language comprehensively. For this reason, they find prime importance in language teaching and learning. The importance and interference of dictionaries is not limited to the language learning only, the specialized dictionaries have revolutionised the world of learning.

Dealing with Specialized Fields

These dictionaries deal with the specialized field of study (Bowker, 2003:154). They are restricted to one specific area and provide information or definitions of the terminology used in this specific field of study. They may be treating one or more language(s), may be giving only the explanations of the lexemes or attaching the related information like pronunciations, derivations, usage notes and so on with the meaning. The specialised dictionary can be alphabetically arranged or thematically organised. They list the headwords of a specialised field with complete explanations. These explanations are quite comprehensive and define the term completely. The information included in these dictionaries is mostly factual and such dictionaries tend to avoid linguistic information on this ground.

Users of Dictionary

The lexicographers are quite curious about the users of the dictionary. The knowledge about the users help the compilers/lexicographers to decide about the features of the dictionary because they will only focus on the features which cater the needs of the users. For this reason, the dictionary use and the habits of the languages users have always been in focus of the researchers in lexicography.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Ali Ahmad, Ph.D. Scholar
Assistant Professor
Department of Management Sciences
COMSATS Institute of Information technology
Sahiwal 57000

Hafiz Mansoor-ul-Haq, M.B.B.S., FCPS
Assistant Professor
Sharif Medical and Dental College
Jati Umrah Raiwind Road
Lahore 54000

Zafar Iqbal, Ph.D.
Department of English
University of Management Sciences
Lahore 54000

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