Wat is er moeilijk aan woordenboekgebruik? | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 51, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0165-8204
  • E-ISSN: 2667-1573



This article discusses the ineffective dictionary use by school pupils while translating Latin and Greek texts. Although widely acknowledged by teachers as problematic, surprisingly little research has been done on the subject. We do know that pupils show excessive lookup behaviour, which suggests that they consider the use of their dictionary as the most important ‘strategy’ for understanding authentic texts. Education in Latin and Greek, however, does not offer a structural dictionary instruction. This article hopes to pave the way for designing such an instruction by further analysing problematic dictionary behaviour among pupils. First, it offers an analysis of five factors of ineffective dictionary behaviour, based on literature and the outcomes of a focus group of teachers. Second, by including Cognitive Load Theory, the article explains these factors in terms of cognitive (over)load. This theory shows that each of the five factors is a symptom of ‘extraneous’ cognitive load. To be effective, dictionary behaviour should be directly related to the task and contribute to so-called schema development and automation. The article concludes with several suggestions for didactic activities to point pupils’ dictionary behaviour in the right direction.


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