Vocabulary learning strategies : a case study of form four students in a Chinese-medium secondary school

by Law, Bik-yuk

Abstract (Summary)
(Uncorrected OCR) Abstract of thesis entitled

Vocabulary Learning Strategies: A Case Study of Form Four Students in a Chinese-medium Secondary School

submitted by

Law Bik Yuk, Sally

for the degree of Master of Applied Linguistics at the University of Hong Kong September 2003

This dissertation explores and describes the vocabulary learning strategies used by 80 Form Four students in a Chinese-medium secondary school. Analyses were based on the data from semi-structured interviews, a survey and think-aloud vocabulary tasks. It was found that the students focused on learning the word form and neglected the context. This might partly result from reliance or dependence on using L I and L2 word lists in teaching and learning L2 vocabulary. Some L I learning strategies, for example, visual recognition and rote learning were commonly used, especially by the low proficiency students, to learn L2 vocabulary. Guessing or inferencing was the most common strategy for the students at the first encounter of a new L2 word. Students used various kinds of previous knowledge including word features, context and world knowledge when attempting to infer meanings of new words.

The results suggested that successful inferencing required referring to several knowledge sources of which context was the most prominent one. In order to succeed in using the guessing skills, learners must have attained a threshold level of vocabulary knowledge and language skills. Using the dictionary, the next most common strategy, was widely used to confirm guesses from context.

Since word meanings are context sensitive, learning in context and learning with word lists and definitions would probably work in a complementary manner. Strategy training especially on guessing, dictionary strategies and semantic processing strategies is essential. It would be good if teachers could provide different opportunities such as group work activities for students to retrieve the vocabulary learned in different contexts. The use of newly learned words through spoken and written interactions could enrich the word knowledge and facilitate the access to the mental lexicon. The results suggested that teachers should make learners aware of their own responsibility in vocabulary learning and expose them to different approaches and strategies in enhancing vocabulary acquisition.

Bibliographical Information:


School:The University of Hong Kong

School Location:China - Hong Kong SAR

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:vocabulary study and teaching secondary china hong kong high school students language


Date of Publication:01/01/2003

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