The vocabulary learning strategies of Chinese and British university students, with an analysis of approaches to selected cultural keywords
Phase I of this study investigates students' perceptions of vocabulary learning strategies that they use in studying foreign languages: how frequently these strategies are used and how efficient they are believed to be. Questionnaires were analysed from 359 Chinese learners of English, 276 British learners of French, and 80 British learners of Mandarin. The first and last groups were also interviewed in depth.;The results suggest that there are a few similar patterns of learning strategies between the three groups. However, there are large number of significant differences in emphasis in the use of key strategies. Thus, it seems that there are two types of asymmetry in vocabulary learning strategies: those that stem from cultural background including academic cultural background, and those that relate to the target language.;In Phase II, six Chinese key words are selected, firstly to ascertain differences in students' perceptions of the meanings of the words and secondly to examine their evaluations of strategies to learn these specific words. Differences between 153 Chinese native speakers, and 34 British learners who are learning Mandarin were investigated. A reference group is British who are not learning Chinese (N=41).;The results show that Chinese learners of English have a wider range of lexical knowledge than British learner of Mandarin. Furthermore, the results show that the vocabulary learning strategies suggested that British learners of Mandarin and Chinese learners of English are not significantly different from general vocabulary learning strategies investigated in Phase I. A number of conclusions, implications and suggestions are drawn from the results for cross-cultural vocabulary pedagogy.