An investigation into the strategic competence of Arab learners of English at Jordanian universities
This thesis is a qualitative study of the strategic competence of Arab English majors at Yarmouk University in Jordan. Its aim is to fill the gap found in communication strategy (CS) research, which has at present little relevance to the Jordanian situation. Its main aim is to determine which communication strategies (CSs) are used by English majors while communicating in Ll Arabic and L2 English. Furthermore, since meaning is very important in language teaching, it aims to examine whether the messages transmitted by the learners are successful and comprehensible or not. This will increase our knowledge of how and by means of which strategies Arab English majors overcome their communication problems, and which strategies they use in communicating in their native language. The subjects of the study are 30 English majors at Yarmouk University, a typical Jordanian university, put into three proficiency levels according to an adapted TOEFL test. The sample represents a full range of English majors' ability at the English Department of the same university. Their ages range from 19-23. ... The main finding of the research is that English majors make wide use of CSs. These strategies are mostly L2- English based strategies. Another finding is that in spite of their limited linguistic knowledge, English majors manage to communicate their intended meaning by making use of CSs. It is also found that the learners' use of CSs is related to their proficiency level, in that Ll-Arabic based strategies decrease as proficiency improves. One of the most interesting additional findings is the effect of the mother tongue/Arabic which increases the variety of strategy use. For example, literal translation and word coinage are widely influenced by mother tongue interference. It is found that Arabic speakers use many communication strategies when compared with speakers of other languages in CS research. The subjects' use of CSs is also related to the type of task they are performing. Finally, Arab learners use CSs in their native language, but when compared to the CSs used in their target language, these are fewer in terms of frequency and vary in terms of type. Pedagogical implications and recommendations for further research are presented in light of the findings.