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This study investigates the effect of different vocabulary learning strategies
(VLS) as well as different learner styles on vocabulary size in Saudi
Arabic-speaking students in higher education. The goals of this study were
to examine which VLS undergraduates used more frequently than postgraduates
and vice versa, to determine which VLS related positively and
significantly to vocabulary size, and to explore individual learner styles
and their relationship to vocabulary size. Participants filled in a VLS questionnaire
and completed a vocabulary size test. The results indicated that
undergraduates tended to use simpler strategies than postgraduates. The
strategies of guessing a word’s meaning from context and watching television
related positively with vocabulary size in both groups. Clustering analysis
revealed two learner groups which differed in how frequently they used
VLS overall, rather than in terms of which VLS they preferred. Those students
who used more VLS overall also had larger vocabulary sizes, irrespective
of educational level. We thus found no evidence for differences
in individual learner styles in the current groups. We conclude that VLS
usage should be encouraged overall, but that the need for instructors to
cater to individual vocabulary learning styles may not be warranted.


  • Vocabulary acquisition, vocabulary learning strategies, postgraduates, Arabic learners of English, vocabulary size
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-34
Number of pages21
JournalVocabulary Learning and Instruction
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2018
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