Date of Award

2021

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

College

College of Education and International Services

Program

Curriculum and Instruction PhD

First Advisor

Lori Imasiku

Second Advisor

Jimmy Kijai

Third Advisor

Eun-Young Julia Kim

Abstract

Problem

The purpose of this study was to discover the preferred and used English vocabulary learning strategies of Saudi Arabic-speaking English as a Second Language (ESL) learners. In the light insufficient empirical and theoretical studies exploring the complex structure of vocabulary learning by Arabic-speaking ESL learners, this study investigated which strategies students viewed as significant in assisting them in learning new English vocabulary. Finally, the study sought to identify Saudi Arabic-speaking student attitudes toward and motivations for learning English as a second language; and whether these attitudes influenced which vocabulary learning strategies they preferred and used commonly.

Method

The research design was a nonexperimental quantitative descriptive research. The study used self-report questionnaires to know what were the most common vocabulary learning strategies used by Saudi Arabic-speaking ESL students in the United States as well as to learn what were their overall attitudes toward and motivations for learning English as a second language. Participants completed a three-section survey: (a) a demographic section, (b) the vocabulary learning strategies section, and (c) the section about attitudes toward and motivations for learning English as a second language. Schmitt's (1997) vocabulary taxonomy was used for the vocabulary survey section, while the attitude and motivation section (ATM) came from Abu-Snoubar's (2017) study, who adapted Gardner’s (1985) AMTB.

Results

The findings indicated that Saudi Arabic-speaking ESL students preferred to use reinforcement strategies and linguistics analysis strategies to acquire new English words. The top 10 most common vocabulary learning strategies included guessing the meaning of the new word from the sentence, taking notes in class, translating to Arabic, and using new words in sentences. Furthermore, Saudi Arabic-speaking ESL student attitudes toward learning English were positive and their motivations for learning English were high.

Conclusions

This study asserted that Saudi Arabic-speaking ESL students preferred to use reinforcement strategies and linguistic analysis strategies to acquire and learn new English words. The study also demonstrated that Saudi Arabic-speaking ESL students have high positive attitudes toward learning English, which was associated with their high motivation for learning. The findings indicated a weak correlation between VLS and the ATM, indicating that English language learners choice of VLS is influenced by their attitudes and motivations. Based on these results, further research is needed to investigate the relationship between VLS and the ATM with other international English language learner populations, use an experimental quantitative research design, and explore gender differences in VLS. Implications for practice include using these findings to develop instructional design in ESL curricula and improve teaching of VLS to English language learners.

Subject Area

English language--Study and teaching--Foreign speakers; English language--Study and teaching--Saudi speakers; Vocabulary; Learning strategies

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