“The Dictionary”: Outline
Task 2B asks you to discuss challenges students may face when studying in a foreign country, starting from a story included in the assignment. First, we will give you a summary of the text and then help you discuss the challenges the character faces when studying at Oxford.
The text is titled “The Dictionary” and follows Peri, a young Turkish woman, who has come to Oxford University to study. Peri goes to the UK focused only on one thing, studying. As a result, she does not go out to socialise, she does not want to fall in love, or to make new friends. She believes that all these activities would distract her from her study goals.
Peri struggles with the English language when it comes to debates and written assignments, although she understands lectures very well. In an attempt to learn the language better, she writes down new and interesting words from books.
However, when she reads an essay to her teacher using those words, the professor points out that the words do not make sense in the context of her essay. Even so, Peri continues to gather such words, seeing them as living keepsakes of the language.
An important part of the story focuses on the challenge of language barriers. Although Peri understands English very well, she does not speak and write the language at the same level: “She had no trouble following the lectures. Participating in the tutorials— the debates and writing assignments — proved more difficult. Putting her thoughts on paper in a language other than her mother tongue was challenging.” (ll. 14-16).
As a result, she develops self-esteem issues and beings to focus on learning new words: “She purchased stacks of coloured Post-it notes. On them she wrote the words she chanced upon, fell in love with and intended to use at the earliest opportunity…” (ll. 20-21).
However, because she only uses books and dictionaries to learn the language, she ends up making things worse when she writes an essay using her new words: “When it was...