The Relationship between Vocabulary Learning Strategies and Vocabulary Proficiency of English Language Learners

F. Filiz Yalçın Tılfarlıoğlu, Yunus Bozgeyik


The current study was carried out to examine L2 learners’ VLS use habits and the relationship of VLS with their vocabulary proficiency levels. In addition, language learners’ beliefs about VLS in terms of usefulness were also studied to understand L2 learners’ VLS use habits more deeply. To examine these matters, a descriptive research design was employed. The participants included 252 preparatory students from different proficiency groups (Upper-Intermediate, Intermediate, Pre-Intermediate, Beginner) at Gaziantep University Higher School of Foreign Languages. To collect the related data, they were given “Vocabulary Learning Strategies Questionnaire” and “Vocabulary Levels Test”. The data analyses were conducted by descriptive and inferential statistics. The results of the study showed that the participants used a wide range of VLS, and there was an overlap between their beliefs about VLS in terms of usefulness and how often they used them to a large extent. Secondly, Memory Strategies correlated positively with the participants’ academic and general vocabulary proficiency levels. However, there were also some differences among the proficiency groups about which specific VLS are correlated with their vocabulary proficiency levels. As to the regression analysis results, none of the VLS predicted participants’ vocabulary proficiency levels.



Vocabulary learning strategies, vocabulary proficiency, learner beliefs

Full Text:



Aitchison, J. (2003). Words in the Mind: An Introduction to the Mental Lexicon. Blackwell Publishing, Malden.

Al-Seghayer, K. (2001). The effect of multimedia annotation modes on L2 vocabulary acquisition: A Comparative Study. Language Learning and Technology. 5(1), 202-232.

Barcroft, J. (2009). Strategies and performance in ıntentional L2 vocabulary learning. Language Awareness, 18(1), 74-89.

Bernat, E. and Lloyd, R. (2007). Exploring the gender effect on efl learners’ beliefs about language learning. Australian Journal of Educational & Developmental Psychology. 7, 79-91.

Bock, J.K. and Levelt, W. (1994). Language production: grammatical encoding. In Handbook of Psycholinguistics, Gernsbacher, M.A. (Ed.). Academic Press, San Diego. pp. 945-984.

Carroll, D. (2008). Psychology of language. Thomson Wadsworth, Belmont.

Carter, R. (1998). Vocabulary: Applied linguistic perspectives. Routledge, London.

Collins, A.M. and Loftus, E.F. (1975). A spreading activation theory of semantic processing. Psychological Review, 82, 407-428.

Collins, A.M. and Quillian, M.R. (1969). Retrieval time from semantic memory. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Bahaviour, 8, 240-247.

Ekmekci, N. M. (1999). Vocabulary learning strategies and their effect on turkish EFL learners outcomes. Master’s Thesis, Eskisehir Anadolu University, Eskisehir.

Fan, M.Y. (2003). Frequency of use, perceived usefulness, and actual usefulness of second language vocabulary. The Modern Language Journal, 87(2), 222-241.

Goulden, R., Nation, P., and Read, J. (1990). How large can a receptive vocabulary be? Applied Linguistics, 11, 341-363.

Graves, M. (1986). Vocabulary learning and instruction. Review of Research in Education. 13, 49-89.

Gu, Y. and Johnson, R.K. (1996). Vocabulary learning strategies and language learning outcomes. Language Learning Journal, 46(4), 643-679.

Hakan, R. (2006). Cross-linguistic similarity in foreign language learning. Multilingual Matters Limited, Clevedon.

Hamzah, M.S.G., Kafipour, R., and Abdullah, S.K. (2009). Vocabulary learning strategies of Iranian undergraduate EFL students and its relation to their vocabulary size. European Journal of Social Sciences, 11(1), 39-50.

Marckwardt, A.H. (1973). The dictionary as an English teaching resource. TESOL Quarterly, 7(4), 369-379.

Nation, P. (1990). Teaching and learning vocabulary. Heinle and Heinle: Boston.

Nation, P. (2001). Learning vocabulary in another language. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.

Rasekh, Z.E. and Ranjbary, R. (2003). Metacognitive strategy training for vocabulary learning. TESL-EJ, 7(2), 1-15

Sanaoui, R. (1995). Adult learners' approaches to learning vocabulary in second languages. The Modern Language Journal, 79(1), 15-28.

Schmitt, N. (1997). Vocabulary learning strategies. In Schmitt, N. and McCarthy, M. (Ed.). Vocabulary: Description, acquisition and pedagogy (199-228). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Sheng, Li., McGregor, K.K. and Marian, V. (2006). Lexical-semantic organization in bilingual children: Evidence from a repeated word association task. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 49(3), 572-587.

Schoonen, R. and Verhallen, M. (2008). The assessment of deep word knowledge in young first and second language learners. Language Testing, 25(2), 211-236.

Sener, S. (2003). The relationship between vocabulary learning strategies and vocabulary size of Turkish EFL students. Unpublished M. A. Thesis, Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University. Canakkale.

Slavin, R. E. (1987). Developmental and motivational perspectives on cooperative learning: a reconciliation. child development, 58(5). Special Issue on Schools and Development: 1161-1167.

Stahl, S.A., and Vancil, S.J. (1986) Discussion is what makes semantic maps work. The Reading Teacher, 40, 62-67.

Sternberg, R.J. (1987) Most vocabulary is learnt from context. In McKeown and Curtis M.E. (Eds.). The nature of vocabulary learning (89-106). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc., New Jersey

Torun, Y.E. (2010). The effects of strategy training on vocabulary development. Master’s Thesis, University of Gaziantep, Gaziantep

Victori, M. and Lockhart, W. (1995). Enhancing metacognition in self-directed language learning. System, 23(2), 223-234.

Zhao, N. (2009) An experimental study on the effects of different reading tasks on L2 vocabulary acquisition. English Language Teaching Journal, 2(3), 69-79.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2022 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.