A study of Chinese medical students as dictionary users and potential users for an online medical termfinder
Keywords:Chinese medical students, Dictionary use for ESP learning, Online medical termbank, The bilingualized health termfinder
This paper examines the dictionary use of Chinese medical students as ESP learners and their trial experience with the online Health Termfinder (HTF), a specialized dictionary tool for medical terms. Empirical data were collected first from a survey among a group of medical students at Fudan University on their previous dictionary-use behaviors and initial response to the introduction to the HTF and its bilingualization, and second from an assignment of using the bilingualized HTF for reading comprehension with the same group of students. The survey findings reveal that the medical students in general are aware of the importance of dictionaries in their ESP learning in spite of the alarming fact that the majority of them have not even used any English medical dictionaries (monolingual or bilingual). They are thus quite open to the idea of using an online termbank of specialized medical terms. But the HTF assignment findings also show that proper guidance and training is necessary for the termbank to be made actually useful for the lexical needs of Chinese ESP learners. It is also expected that the students’ feedback on their HTF experience, especially their demand for the termbank to include more cross-disciplinary medical terms, could be taken into consideration by the HTF builders.
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