Investigating in language learning such as; listening,

Investigating the most
common used vocabulary learning strategies among the preparatory class students
at a private university

Emin
GÜRKAN

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Introduction

          For many years,
vocabulary teaching has been ignored  in many
English language classrooms. The current 
study carried out  on vocabulary
learning strategies has aimed to deal with individual and small numbers of
strategies so as to underline significance of words, especially vocabulary
learning strategies. Without vocabulary, conveying grammatical or other type of
linguistic knowledge is challenging. It is useful for language learners have
enough information about vocabulary learning strategies. As everybody knows,
there are four basic skills in language learning such as; listening, speaking,
writing, and reading. Moreover, vocabulary knowledge affects all of these
skills. That is to say; the more vocabulary knowledge brings the more
meaningful texts. Therefore; vocabulary has a crucial role in reading. Thus,
these four skills cannot be applied in classrooms without having enough
vocabulary knowledge. It is clear that the words are the simplest way of the
communication. For instance; when a baby has started to speak he/she just uses
vocabularies instead of taking grammar rules or other linguistic knowledge into
consideration. If you forget what to say while you are speaking it is the most
frustrating condition. This example explains how the words have crucial role in
communication. Furthermore, every learner wants to learn much more vocabulary.
Indeed, they are not aware of the strategies. At that point, it is not enough
to know just the meaning of the word. To exemplify; a good learner should be
able to use in different contexts. In addition, he/she must use appropriate
formality. In order to learn more vocabulary in a limited time it can be useful
having some information about vocabulary learning strategies. These strategies
are explained in the literature review in a detailed way.

To conclude; each vocabulary is just like
another brick in the wall. They come together and the wall is constructed. That
is to say; wall refers to sentences.

 

Literature Review

 

         Meaning of a word written in
dictionaries  is the basic meaning
element, what’s more, a word may have different meanings in different contexts
(He, 2010). Most students in Turkey spend many years to learn English grammar.
In spite of the   fact many English
learners cannot speak fluently. The reason why they cannot communicate with the
others as they wish is the lack of vocabulary knowledge. Language divided into
parts to facilitate learning but if the learner focuses on only one aspects of
the language the improvement decreases day by day. Wilkins (1972) emphasizes ”without grammar very little can be conveyed,
without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed.” That is to say, vocabulary is
the central in language learning because without vocabulary knowledge, learners
cannot express their ideas. Furthermore; they don’t understand each other in a
certain classroom atmosphere. To minimize all these barriers some new
vocabulary learning strategies can be developed. Schmitt’s study (2000 cited in
Lip, 2009) strongly claims learning a new vocabulary in a foreign language requires  effective use of vocabulary learning
strategies, which have had growing interest  in the field of  language learning.  Hence, many researchers have tried to
discover  the most and the least common
vocabulary learning strategies which are used by different groups of language
learners in different contexts while learning a langauge. Schmitt (1997)
conducted a survey in Japan. The survey was 
carried out to  different
groups  from various learning
environments consisting of  junior high
school students, high school
students, university students, and adult learners. At the light of the results,
the most common  strategies were using
bilingual dictionaries, estimating  from
written text and  getting help from
classmates to learn the meaning of an unknown word.  On the contrary, the least common strategy
was identified as a checking for L1 cognate of a new word. As the findings have
demonstrated,  preference of vocabulary
learning strategies  depends on different
variables such as age, learning atmosphere, mother tongue, instructor, background,
proficiency level of learners.

 

Vocabulary
learning strategies enhances learners’ motivation. Before learning a language,
any learner can determine vocabulary learning strategies. At that point, it can
be useful to have an idea about Schmitt’s taxonomy. They are divided into determination strategies, memory strategies, and social
strategies. Determination strategies can be defined as individual
learning strategies that enable learners to understand the meaning of words
without getting any assistance from other learners(Schmitt, 2000). There are
also some other classifications about vocabulary learning strategies. Beck,
McKeown, and Kucan’ study (2002) suggests a clear framework for classifying
vocabulary;  that is to say, finding best
implications  in order to determine which
words to teach. According to this model, vocabulary given in a reading text can
be divided into three tiers.  These tiers
specifically include basic words, academic words, rarely used words by
depending on some criteria. By aiming to highlight some discussions about
vocabulary learning strategies,  Nation
(2001) defined  a new taxonomy in which  vocabulary learning strategies can be
separated  into three main parts such a
sources, planning, and processes.

 

 

According
to Oxford (1990),  there are mainly  eight factors influencing VLSs use of language
learners: (1) motivation; (2) gender; (3) . culture
background; (4) attitudes and beliefs; (5) types of task; (6) age and L2 stage;
(7) learning style; and (8) tolerance of ambiguity.

However,
Cohen and Macaro (2007) present four main factors on vocabulary learning.  These are proficiency level , gender,
strategy use improvement, and learning atmosphere. Interestingly, most of the
research found that less successful learners show little awareness of what they
could learn new words in language learning. They also emphasize the nature of
female makes them tend to use more VLSs than males.  By depending on this, , they assert that the
students whose proficiency level are not same  differ in applying VLSs.

 

One of the most important and discussed topics in
language learning is gender. Therefore, a large number of studies
have been conducted by many researchers in order to determine effect on gender
on strategy use. Similar to countless studies 
in language learning, the results dealing with  gender are quite different  in vocabulary learning strategy researches.  Siriwan (2007) tried to find out  the impact of different learner variables in using
vocabulary learning strategy  at a state
university. She stated that gender has a great impact in  conducting  VLSs (Behbahani, 2016).

 

 

Method

Revised version of Perspectives on
Vocabulary Learning Questionnaire  has
been chosen to understand  preferences
and attitudes of the students  to
vocabulary learning strategies (VLS) while learning a new language. The questionnaire
was prepared by Kantatip Sinhaneti,
Ei Kalayar Kyaw (2012) .Vocabulary knowledge is
key point to language learning. That is why the paper aims to determine which
vocabulary learning strategies are more common used for the preparatory class’
students. This study tries to investigate three questions below;

(a)    What
is the most common used vocabulary learning strategy by  preparatory class students at a private
university?

(b)   Is
there any significant difference in the use of vocabulary learning strategies
by gender?

(c)    Does
the proficiency  level affect VLS use?

 

References

 

Beck,
I. L., McKeown, M. G., & Kucan, L. (2002). Bringing words to life:
Robust

            vocabulary
instruction. New York: The Guilford Press

Behbahani, A.R. (2016). A Survey of
University Students’ Knowledge of Vocabulary Learning Strategies and
Influential Factors in Middle East, Journal of Language Teaching and Research,
Vol. 7, No. 4, pp. 646-654

 

Cohen, A. D., & Macaro, E. (2007). Language
learner strategies. Oxford: Oxford

               University Press.

He, Y. (2010). A study of L2
vocabulary learning strategies (Unpublished master  dissertation). Kristiansatd University,
Sweden.

 

Lip P. (2009).   Investigating the Most Frequently Used and
Most Useful Vocabulary

         
Language Learning Strategies among Chinese EFL Postsecondary Students in
Hong

         
Kong. Electronic Journal of Foreign Language   Teaching. 2009, Vol. 6, No. 1,p.77-

 

Nation,
I. S. P. (2001). Learning vocabulary in
another language. Victoria University of Wellington: Cambridge University
Press

 

Oxford,
R. (1990). Language learning strategies what every teacher should know.

            Boston, Massachusetts: Heinle.

Schmitt, N. (1997). Vocabulary learning strategies.
In Schmitt and McCarthy, 199-227.

Schmitt
N. (2000). Vocabulary in language
teaching. Cambridge University Press, 

Sinhaneti
and Kyaw K.(2012). A  Study of the Role
of Rote Learning in Vocabulary Learning Strategies of Burmese Students.
Shinawatra International University, Bangkok, Thailand. David Publishing                                                                                                    
                                            

 

Wilkins, David
A.(1972) Linguistics and Language
Teaching. London. Edward Arnold