Theoretical Framework Of Project Paper English Language Essay

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Our main focus in this project paper is to investigate the most effective strategies in term of learning a new word. So, in this section, some research works that have carried by linguists and educators will be discussed in order to have a better understanding of the state of current research. The focus will be aimed on the effectiveness of using vocabulary learning strategies among English learners from worldwide.

2.2 Theoretical Framework

The history of putting vocabulary on the shed light started on 1974 by Richards. He is the first scholars to point out the fact that vocabulary is typically neglected in foreign or second language instruction (Wu, 2005). Situation was getting improved when vocabulary studies have received increased attention by various publications in the field and more empirical studies were being conducted on vocabulary learning strategies.

Schmitt (1997), a famous researcher for vocabulary language strategies has conducted a large-scale survey who investigated 600 Japanese learners from four different age levels that are junior high school students, high school students, university students and adult learners. It was aimed to gather information about what Vocabulary Learning Strategies were used and how useful they were rated. 85% of the subjects have showed the positive relationship in the use of a bilingual dictionary to look up for meaning while verbal repetition and written repetition come next. Besides, bilingual dictionary also being selected to be used in the helpfulness evaluation results. From the finding, Schmitt concluded that learners can see value in strategies which they do not currently use and may be willing to try new strategies if they are introduced to and instructed in them.

Besides, Schmitt (1997) also came out with a taxonomy of vocabulary learning strategies which divides the vocabulary learning strategies into two big compartments, that is discovery and consolidation. It contains all together five strategy groups with 58 individual strategies. This taxonomy was then being used broadly by authors, linguists and educators in order to investigate the issue of vocabulary learning strategies. The table on the next paper represents the taxonomy of vocabulary learning strategies by Schmitt (1997)

Strategies for the DISCOVERY of a new word’s meaning

Strategies for CONSOLIDATING a word once it has been encountered

DET

Analyze part of speech

SOC

Study and practice meaning in group

DET

Analyze affixes and roots

SOC

Check teacher’s flash cards or word lists for accuracy

DET

Check of L1 cognate

SOC

Interact with native speakers

DET

Analyze any available pictures or gesture

MEM

Study word with pictorial representation of its meaning

DET

Guess from contextual context

MEM

Image word’s meaning

DET

Bilingual dictionary

MEM

Connect word to a personal experience

DET

Flash cards

MEM

Use semantic maps

SOC

Ask teacher for an L1 translation

MEM

Use scales for gradable adjectives

SOC

Ask teacher for paraphrase or synonym

MEM

Peg method

SOC

Ask teacher for a sentence including the new word

MEM

Loci method

SOC

Ask classmates for meaning

MEM

Group words together to study them

SOC

Discovery through group work

MEM

Group words together spatially on a page

MEM

Use new word in sentence

MEM

Group words together within a storyline

MEM

Study the spelling of the word

MEM

Study the sound of the word

MEM

Say new word aloud when studying

MEM

Use keyword method

MEM

Affixes and roots

MEM

Part of speech

MEM

Use cognates in study

MEM

Learn it with its idiom together

COG

Verbal repetition

COG

Written repetition

COG

COG Word lists

COG

Flash cards

COG

Take note in lesson

COG

Use the vocabulary section in textbook

COG

Listen to tape of word lists

COG

Put English labels on physical objects

COG

Keep a vocabulary notebook

META

Use English language media

META

Testing oneself with word tests

META

Use a spaced word practice

META

Skip or pass new word

META

Continue to study word over time

Next, there was a research revealed the ranking of most effective strategies in helping learner acquire vocabulary by Wu (2005). The subjects of the study targeted on 180 secondary school students and 112 undergraduates in Taiwan. The finding of Wu has concluded that students found discovery strategies like using bilingual dictionaries to search the translations of English words to be most effective. Second and third most used strategies including guessing the textual context and asking classmates for the meaning of words.

Another Wu (2008) has conducted an investigation to look into the use and helpfulness rankings of vocabulary learning strategies by EFL learners in Taiwan. There were all together 352 participant who took the interview which questions were set based on O'Malley and Chamot’s taxonomy of language learning strategies. The results showed that the learners love to use social affective strategies more than cognitive and meta-cognitive strategies. The findings also revealed that learners used auditory representation, selective attention, mental rehearsal, imagery, auditory representation, co-operation and checking the dictionary to find out the meaning of words.

Lip (2009) has conducted an investigation on the most frequently used and most useful vocabulary language learning strategies among Chinese post secondary students in Hong Kong. The result of the study revealed that there is a direct relationship between the frequencies of vocabulary learning strategies use among postsecondary Chinese students with their perceptions about the usefulness of it. It seemed that learners who often use a VLS would regard it as a very useful strategy to use. The more often a learner uses a strategy, the more useful he/she will find it for learning vocabulary. In the second part of the study, Lip also found that the most useful vocabulary strategies in the perceptions of the postsecondary Chinese EFL students in this study are a first, repeating the spelling of the word in their minds, second, analyzing the word by breaking it into sound segments, then, remembering words by doing a project lastly, asking classmates for the meaning of a word.

In Malaysia, it was proven that there is a direct relationship between the strategies used by English learners with their vocabulary size. According to a research by Hamzah et. Al (2009), it showed that vocabulary learning strategies contribute to amount of vocabulary being absorbed. A total of 125 undergraduate students participated in the study. 9 out of 41 vocabulary learning strategies showed a contribution and significant relation to vocabulary size. These strategies consist of three most frequently used strategies belong to cognitive, meta- cognitive and social.

2.3 Summary

After reviewing a portion of researches conducted by linguists and educators which are more relevant to the focus of this project paper, we can see some similarities between these studies. Most of them synthesized that there are some strategies which are more famous being adopted by second or foreign learners. Some of these strategies have relationship with the vocabulary size that the users have. Therefore, so extend the investigation to Sultan Idris Education University, the research has proposed to have this study and find some significant answers from this teacher training varsity.

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