LEXICOGRAPHIC COMPETENCE OF FOREIGN LANGUAGE STUDENTS
Although it is often considered that successful use of a dictionary does not require any special knowledge or skills, research has shown that most users do not consult dictionaries efficiently or frequently enough. Users often avoid consulting dictionaries as much as they can, because they consider it to be a tedious and uninteresting task. Even when they consult a dictionary, most of them are not familiar with types of dictionaries, what type of dictionary would be the most useful one or how to assess the quality of a dictionary. A lot of information in a dictionary remains unnoticed and/or users fail to interpret it. These statements hold true for most users and for students of humanities or linguistics. Just like other users, students of linguistics fail to notice their own lack of user competence and are often unwilling to invest some time and effort to improve it. They may be willing to change this attitude only after being persuaded through a series of obvious examples that they fail to notice a lot of useful information that would allow them to avoid certain mistakes or to solve a problem.
In this paper the authors will analyze responses to a questionnaire completed by students of English, Scandinavian languages and German at the Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade, which show their attitude to using dictionaries, their habits and what they know about the dictionaries that are crucial for their studies and future careers. The authors will use this analysis to point to the necessary improvements in user competence these students are supposed to achieve and possible ways of achieving it.