Exploring English Vocabulary Learning Strategies for Non-English Majors at the Undergraduate Level in China

Essay by rain0535College, UndergraduateA, June 2007

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IntroductionIn the Longman Advanced American Dictionary, vocabulary is defined as "all the words that someone knows, learns, or uses" (2003: 1612). In the process of learning language, vocabulary plays a significant role in developing the skills including listening, speaking, reading, writing and translation. Vocabulary is regarded as a foundation for the mastery of the language and it goes without saying that great importance should be attached to vocabulary. Hence, learners are supposed to enrich their vocabularies for the sake of proficiency in the language learning. However, as for most Chinese non-English majors, English vocabulary has been their big concern. Facing the pressure of passing CET 4 and CET 6, they devote a large amount of time to the vocabulary learning, but the progress isn't obvious. Thus, the researcher aims to explore English vocabulary learning strategies employed by Chinese non-English majors at the undergraduate level in order to seek ways of helping them for the improvement of English vocabulary learning.

Part I. Literature ReviewPrevious studies have shown that strategies can facilitate the language learning. Hence, during the process of learning vocabulary, the application of strategies will make it more effective. In this part, the theoretical basis for the present research is brought into discussion. The researcher introduces language learning strategies, vocabulary learning strategies and related studies on this issue at home and abroad.

A.Language Learning StrategiesDifferent researchers have given different definitions of language learning strategies. As Ellis (1994) puts it, "the concept of strategy is a fussy one." He lists five definitions of learning strategy, as shown in the following table.

SourcedddfdddDefinitionStern, 1983In our view strategy is best reserved for general tendencies or overall characteristics of the approach employed by the language learner, leaving techniques as the term to refer to particular forms of observable learning behavior.

Weinstein and Mayer,