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Revista signos

On-line version ISSN 0718-0934


CASSANY, Daniel. Online linguistic resources: Contexts, practices and challenges. Rev. signos [online]. 2016, vol.49, suppl.1, pp.7-29. ISSN 0718-0934.

Based on 30 in-deep semi-structured interviews, we explore how 59 Spanish multilingual college students (11-17 year olds) use digital language resources (translators, dictionaries, checkers) in their daily literacy practices within and outside the classroom. Previous studies analyse these resources (Buyse, 2014) and their affordances for verbal learning (Sinclair, 2004), but we lack ethnographic descriptions of the actual queries of each of these resources and the communicative contexts in which they occur. Our data suggest that the most popular resource is the translator in L2 reading and L1 / L2 writing situations, followed by the dictionary and the checker in schools and private contexts. These attitudes and practices establish differences between a basic user, who employs any mechanical and uncritical resource, and a sophisticated and autonomous user, who consciously chooses the resource in context and shows refined knowledge and skills and verifies the results obtained with several strategies (backtranslation, use of a third language, comparison of resources, photographs). These practices contrast with teachers’ point of view who advise the non usage of translators, and recommend well-known  dictionaries and grammars and prohibit the use of certain resources in classrooms. Among other findings, we recommend the formal instructiton for students in the use of these resources and the development of a more detailed research on this emerging field.

Keywords : Data-driven learning; digital literacy; online reading and writing; corpus linguistics; computer-assisted-translation.

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