‘Digital native’ dictionaries (DNDs): a proposal for an online dictionary prototype focusing on ‘combinations of words’ (COWs) for Italian learners as second or foreign language (L2/FL)

'Digital native' woordenboeken: een voorstel voor een prototype van een online woordenboek dat zich richt op 'woordcombinaties' voor leerlingen Italiaans als tweede of vreemde taal
Start - End 
2023 - 2025 (ongoing)
Department of Languages and Cultures
Department of Translation, Interpreting and Communication
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Our objective is to investigate how learners of Italian as a second and/or as a foreign language use dictionaries to look for new meanings. To do so, we aim to analyze Italian monolingual online dictionaries and Italian bilingual online dictionaries (English-Italian, French-Italian). We focus our attention on what is known in Italian as ‘combinazioni di parole’, rendered in English as ‘combinations of words’ (COWs), usually defined as ‘collocations’. In particular, we work on ‘groups of words’ such as multiword units; combinations that are ‘fundamental’ and/or ‘common’ for Italian speakers (such as ‘polirematiche FO’, ‘polirematiche CO’, see the online dictionary De Mauro-Internazionale); ‘collocazioni ristrette’ (i.e., unpredictable combinations of words, or idiomatic usage; cf. Marello 1994, 1996) selected by taking into account the Lexical Profiles for the Italian language according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR); and lastly, combinations that are ‘fixed expressions’ (known also as chunks in the Lexical Approach), essential for a learner because they include everyday basic expressions of the Italian language. Using eye-tracking tools, we intend to carry out some experiments to better understand how students of Italian as a foreign/second language navigate online dictionaries in search of new meanings, specifically collocations. One of the outcomes of our project will be the creation of a prototype dictionary, baptized ‘digital native’ dictionary (DND), because it is and should be realized for and on the web, a dictionary that will include some basic Italian COWs.



Phd Student(s)


Cristina Onesti

Dipartimento di Lingue e letterature straniere e Culture moderne - Università di Torino