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For the time being, English pedagogical lexicography has changed dramatically. It is now a field of study that has been developing in the recent three decades for three reasons. First, there has been a growing interest in the concept of the lexicon and vocabulary learning, features that are linked to dictionaries (e.g. Lewis, 1993; 1997; Nation, 2001; Koya, 2005; Nesselhauf, 2003; Sessink, 2007, as cited in AL-Sayed, 2013).
Second, simultaneously with the interest in vocabulary, there has been a huge advance in compilation and analysis of written and spoken corpora through the tools of computational linguistics which has eased the tools of traditional lexicographers and enabled them to produce dictionaries based on new insights.
Thirdly, according to Crystal (1997) and Graddol (2000, as cited in AL-Sayed, 2013), English has been playing the role of an international language and a lingua-franca for writing and speaking. As a result, since learning language seems inevitable, EFL dictionaries as indispensable tools to learn English vocabulary explicitly came to the picture.
Dictionaries are practical for learning accurate pronunciation and having comprehension. It serves numerous activities; we consult a dictionary to understand peoples’ utterances and reading texts and to say what we intend to say. In other words, dictionary is a means of perception (EL-Sayed, 2013).
However, native and non-native English speakers have different reasons for consulting a dictionary. Cowie (1993, as cited in EL-Sayed, 2013) mentions the expectations of both groups as below:
Dictionaries can also be employed regarding decoding and encoding functions. The most prominent one was suggested by Schofield (1982, EL-Sayed, 2013) which mostly considers those strategies employed by users for decoding purposes. He proposes that to look up and understand information, this process should be broken down into steps as following:
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