Academic journal article Studies in Literature and Language

A Study on English Vocabulary Learning Strategies Used by Chinese College Students

Academic journal article Studies in Literature and Language

A Study on English Vocabulary Learning Strategies Used by Chinese College Students

Article excerpt


This article is a study on the learning strategies of English vocabulary used by Chinese College English learners. The study is to draw on related theories as well as a case study to ascertain the strategies that are useful for Chinese college students in particular. Due to their large percentage as ESL learners, the study will illuminate the strategies that may be conductive to learning English vocabulary in general. The participants in the study are 119 fourth-year students from Inner Mongolian University for nationalities, China. For data collection, the study applies a vocabulary test and a vocabulary learning strategy questionnaire. And ANOVA is employed for data analysis. The result of the study shows the effecive vocabulary learning strategies of the Chinese college students.

Key words: L2 vocabulary; Chinese college students; Strategies; Frequency of use; Usefulness

Xu, G. (2014). A Study on English Vocabulary Learning S t r a teg ies Used by Chines e College S tuden t s . S t u d ies in Literature and Language, 9 (1), 111-116. Available from: http://www. c /5397 DOI:


Vocabulary learning is a very important aspect for all English learners, especially for learners of ESL. As for the strategies for vocabulary learning, it involves keeping a notebook, or using a dictionary properly, and above all, the learners should be active and independent. And all these strategies are closely related to the learnercentered approach to language teaching, which is based on the assumption that language learners who take intiative in their learning will become more successful. So the strategies employed by good language learners are worthy of further investigation for English teachers and researchers.

The importance of vocabulary learning strategies in second language (L2) study can be illustrated through the application of the schema-based approach to language learning. The learning theory based on information processing and the role of cognitive processes suggests that "the information from long-term memory can be used to enrich the learners' understanding or retention of the new ideas by providing related information or schemata into which the new ideas can be organized" (O'Malley & Chamot,1990, P.18). For L2 learning, only when the appropriate schema for a given language situation or text is activated, will learners have better comprehension of the related text. So Background knowledge is very important to the understanding of L2 texts. Therefore, it's very essential to expore the related English vocabulary learning strategies based on the schema-based theory.


As we know, the strategies for learning cannot be separated from what is being learned or the process of learning. For the learning of L2 vocabulary, Brown and Payne (1994, as cited in Hatch & Brown,1995, p.373) have identified five steps: (a) having sources for encountering new words, (b) getting a clear image, either visual or auditory or both, of the forms of the new words, (c) learning the meaning of the words, (d) making a strong memory connection between the forms and the meanings of the words, and (e) using the words. Accordingly, all strategies for learning L2 vocabulary are, to a certain extent, related to these five steps.

But in effect, no classification of the learning strategies of English vocabulary is perfect, and any individual strategy may fall into one category or another, depending on the aspect of focus. All the strategies may generally be classified as those that are "more directly related to individual learning tasks and entail direct manipulation or transformation of the learning materials," that is, the cognitive strategies, and those that are connected with the learning process, planning for learning, monitoring of comprehension or production. Therefore it is necessary to conduct a study that is intended to investigate the relationship between vocabulary learning beliefs and vocabulary learning strategies to see how learnersf beliefs about learning affect the choice of strategies. …

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