Vocabulary learning strategies used by AFL (Arabic as a Foreign Language) learners in Saudi Arabia
This study investigates vocabulary learning strategies used by AFL learners in Saudi Arabia. It seeks to explore the relationship between vocabulary strategy use and success. Further, the study - aims to examine the effect of certain individual, situational and social factors on the use of vocabulary learning strategies. The methodological approach adopted for this study is a combination of a 'multiple cases' approach and survey. The purpose of the multiple cases is to identify vocabulary learning strategies employed by successful and less successful learners of Arabic. The survey, on the other hand, has been conducted to examine variations in vocabulary strategy use according to the following factors: students' first language, proficiency level, level of achievement, course type, the variety of Arabic used out of class, and religious identity. The results of the multiple cases demonstrate that there are major differences between the two groups of students in the seven categories of vocabulary learning adopted in this study, namely, non-dictionary strategies for discovering the meanings of new words, dictionary use, note-taking, memorization, practice, metacognitive strategies, and expanding lexical knowledge. Moreover, the data of the multiple cases identified three levels of strategies. The first level is termed the 'main strategy level', which includes the seven main categories mentioned above. The second and third levels are termed the 'strategy level' and the 'substrategy level' respectively. The multiple cases data also show that students seem to use vocabulary learning strategies in particular combinations and certain orders. The results of the survey indicate that the two situational factors (course type and variety of Arabic used out of class)investigated in this study seem to have a fairly strong relationship with vocabulary strategy use. The individual factors (students' first language proficiency level and level of achievement) examined in this study,on the other hand, appear to have a very weak relationship with the use of vocabulary learning strategies and finally the social factor (religious identity) appears to have some relationship with vocabulary strategy use.