A glossary-based approach to ESP terminology acquisition
Learning technical terminology is an important goal in ESP training. To this end,
students adopt various approaches, one being reading texts which abound with technical
words and phrases. However, students often do not have enough linguistic knowledge
to understand specific terminology in a foreign language. In order to find the meaning
of such terminology and acquire new vocabulary they use dictionaries and glossaries,
yet they often lack the sufficient skills to use these and other suitable resources.
The objective of this paper is to present the analysis of an activity which was implemented
within the first and third year university-level business English courses at the
Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Maribor. With this activity, students
learn professional vocabulary by compiling bilingual lists of technical terms and
their definitions/translations based on professional paper(s)/books in English from
any field of economics and business.
The central idea behind this activity was to encourage the students’ autonomous learning
of technical terminology by reading technical literature and using various forms
of dictionaries, glossaries and terminology databases. At the same time, the tasks
are aimed at raising the students’ awareness of the importance of assessing the appropriateness
of the information these resources provide. The paper is divided into three sections.
First, the rationale and implementation of the activity are presented. Second, the
results of the analysis of the students’ work are given and discussed in terms of
the selection of professional papers and terminology, choice of definitions of terminology
and their translations into Slovenian. In the conclusion, the focus shifts to the
outcomes of the activity.
Keywords: reading, language for specific purposes, learner autonomy, terminology
acquisition, bilingual dictionaries, glossaries, terminology databases.
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