. written in dictionaries is the basic meaning

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 by paying little attention to
vocabulary. It is inevitable that some of English learners cannot speak fluently
because of several reasons including lack of vocabulary knowledge or being
unaware of how to use words effectively. The reason why they cannot communicate
with the others as they wish is the lack of vocabulary knowledge (Behbahani,
2016). 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 increase indented vocabulary learning and decrease all these
obstacles, several new vocabulary learning strategies can be improved by
depending on various classifications. Schmitt’s study (2000) claimed 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 language.
Schmitt (1997) conducted a survey in Japan. The survey was carried out to
different groups from various learning environments consisting of high school
students, university students, and advance 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.

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Classification of Vocabulary Learning Strategies

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) suggested
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, a number of studies related to vocabulary learning
strategies revealed that the ones who are using VLSs when encountering with a
new word rarely are generally less successful students. 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 is 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
research.  Nykos (1990) revealed that
gender affected strategy choice of learners. That is to say, percentage of
female students using vocabulary learning strategies was higher than males.   Grace
(2000) 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. Hassanzadeh, Khatib, and Rezaei (2011)
conducted a study with EFL learners by taking several variables such as gender,
proficiency level into account in Iran. The findings of the study indicated
that gender had no significance on the usage of VLSs.

A study conducted by several researchers proved that
there was high correlation between gender and strategy use (Pourshahian,
Rezvani Kalajahi, and Yousefi Azarfam, 2012). 
They examined EFL learners in Turkey in terms of gender. They concluded
that female learners use more vocabulary learning strategies than male

Proficiency Level

As well as gender, proficiency level of students can
be accepted as one of the main reasons affecting strategy choice. Zheng (2010)
stated that students whose proficiency level is different prefer various
strategies to learn vocabulary. To put in another word, learners who have
higher proficiency level use more strategies and have better understanding of
vocabulary. On the contrary, learners at lower level have limited vocabulary knowledge.
Also, he stated that most used vocabulary strategy was found as memory

Based on Li (2009) study, successful learners are good
at using vocabulary learning strategies more effectively. Interestingly, a few
of the learners claimed that using VLSs could be useful.  What’s more, his study suggested that
language teachers must guide their students while learning a second language by
integrating teaching-learning process.   Yet, according to Abu Shmais (2003), both
gender and proficiency level had no great impact on usage of vocabulary
learning strategies.  Lin-Fang (2013)
conducted a study in order to determine effects of some variables such as
gender, type of school, age, proficiency level, learning styles, learning
background on students’ vocabulary learning strategy use.  Population of the study composed of 450
participants at Fooyin University. The findings suggested that learners at
higher levels use vocabulary learning strategies more effectively than the ones
at lower levels. Furthermore, based on results of the study, the researcher
suggested that language teachers could focus on more vocabulary learning
strategies instead of paying attention traditional ones.