Vocabulary Memorization Strategies among Arab Postgraduate English Foreign Language Learners

Fouad Hussein Al-Qaysi, Ahmad Affendi Shabdin


Many studies have investigated vocabulary memorization strategies in the EFL context, but few researches have been conducted on the types of memorization strategies used by the Arab students in Malaysia. Thus, this study investigates the types of vocabulary memorization strategies employed by the Arab students in the Intensive English course at UUM. The aims of the study were to investigate vocabulary memorization strategies used by the Arab students and to examine the most and the least frequent strategies employed by the Arab students in learning and memorizing vocabulary. The samples of the study were 65 postgraduate Arab students from different colleges; COB, CAS and COLGIS at UUM. One instrument was used in this study, which is a questionnaire. The questionnaire was adapted from Li (2004) which is based on Oxford’s taxonomy (2003). The results indicated that the Arab students use different strategies in learning and memorizing vocabulary. Reviewing well strategies were found to be the most preferred strategies in contrast with Employing actions which was found to be as the least category employed by the Arab students. Writing words repeatedly a strategy from Reviewing well category was found to be the most strategy used by the Arab students in the Intensive English course while the Associate sounds of words with similar English from Employing actions category was the least strategy used by them. The findings revealed that Arab students see vocabulary memorization strategies help them in learning the English language and consistent with their cultural and educational background.

Keywords:  vocabulary memorization strategies, UUM, Intensive English course, Arab students

Full Text:



Asgari, A., & Mustapha, G. B. (2011). The type of vocabulary learning strategies used by ESL students in University Putra Malaysia. English Language Teaching, 4(2), 84-90.

Askar, w. A. (2014). A survey on The Use of Vocabulary Learning Strategies By ELT and ELL Students of Duhok University in Northern Iraq.‏Unpublishedd master’s thesis, Cyprus. Turkey.

Cameron, L. (2005). Teaching languages to young learners. U.K.: Cambridge University Press.

Catalan, R. M. J. (2003). Sex differences in L2 vocabulary learning strategies. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 13(1), 54-77.

Cohen, A. D. (1998). Strategies in learning and using a second language. London, UK: Longman.

Craik, F. I. M., & Lockhart, R. S. (1972). Levels of processing: A framework for memory research. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 11, 671-684.

Craik, F. I. M., & Tulving, E. (1975). Depth of processing and the retention of words in episodic memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology (104), 268-284.

Ellis, R. (1994). The study of second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gairns, R. & Redman (1986). Working with Words—A Guide to Teaching and Learning Vocabulary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gardner, D. (2013). Exploring vocabulary: Language in action. Routledge.

Ghorbani, M. R., & Riabi, N. K. (2011). The impact of memory strategy instruction on learners' EFL vocabulary retention. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 1(9), 1222-1226.

Graves, K. (2000). Designing language courses: A guide for teachers. Boston: Heinle & Heinle Publishers.

Gu, P. Y. (2003). Vocabulary learning in a second language: Person, task, context and strategies. TESL-EJ, 7(2), 1-25.‏

Gu, Y., & Johnson, R. K. (1996). Vocabulary learning strategies and language learning outcomes. Language Learning 46 (4), 643-679.

Hatch, E., & Brown, C. (1995). Vocabulary, semantics, and language education, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hedge, T. (2000). Teaching and learning in the language classroom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Heidari, F. L., Karimi, F., & Imani, A. (2012). Vocabulary learning strategy instruction: Its impact on English for specific purpose vocabulary achievement and reading comprehension. Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research, 12(11), 1488-1496.

Lee, K. R., & Oxford, R. (2008). Understanding EFL learners’ strategy use and strategy awareness. Asian EFL Journal, 10 (1), 7–32.

Li, X. (2004). An analysis of Chinese EFL learners' beliefs about the role of rote learning in vocabulary learning strategies. Doctoral dissertation, University of Sunderland.‏

Ma, Q. (2009). Second language vocabulary acquisition, (Vol. 79). Peter Lang.

Nation, I.S.P. (2001). Learning vocabulary in another language. London: Cambridge University.

Nemati, A. (2009). Memory vocabulary learning strategies and long-term retention. International Journal of Vocational and Technical Education, 1(2), 14-24.

Nunan, D. (1992). Research Methods in Language Learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Oanh, D. T. H., & Hien, N. T. (2006). Memorization and EFL students' strategies at university level in Vietnam. TESL-EJ, 10(2), 1-21.

O'Malley, J., & Chamot, A. (1990). Learning strategies in second language acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

O’Malley, J. M., Chamot, A.U., Stewner-Manzanares, G., Russo, R.P. & Kupper, L. (1985). Learning Strategy Applications with Students of English as a Second Language. TESOL Quarterly, 19,pp. 557-584.

Oxford, R, (1990). Language learning strategies: What every teacher should know. New York: Newbury House.

Oxford, R. L. (2003). Language learning styles and strategies: An overview. GALA. Retrieved December 20, 2014, from http://web.ntpu.edu.tw/~language/ workshop/ read2.pdf

Purpura, J. E. (1994). The Role of Learner Strategies in Language Learning and Testing. Paper given at the Thai TESOL Conference, Bangkok, January, 1994.

Read, J. (2000). Assessing vocabulary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rubin, J. (1981). Study of cognitive Processes in Second Language Learning. Applied Linguistics, 2, 117-131.

Schmitt, N. (1997). Vocabulary learning strategies. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Schmitt, N. (2000). Vocabulary in language teaching. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Sinhaneti, K., & Kyaw, E. K. (2012). A study of the role of rote learning in vocabulary learning strategies of Burmese students. Online Submission.

Siriwan, M. (2007). English vocabulary learning strategies employed by Rajabhat university students. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Suranaree University of Technology, Thailand.

Stern, H. (1983). Fundamental Concepts of Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Tarone, E. (1981). Some thoughts on the notion of communication strategy. TESOL Quarterly, 15, 285-295.

Yang, W., & Dai, W. (2011). Rote memorization of vocabulary and vocabulary development. Canadian Center of Science and Education, 4(4), 61-64.

Yusuf, M. (2010). Memorization as a learning style: A balance approach to academic excellence. OIDA International Journal of Sustainable Development, 1(6), 49-58.

Webb, S. (2008). Receptive and productive vocabulary sizes of L2 learners. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 30, 79-95.

Wenden, A., & Rubin, J. (1987). Learner strategies in language learning. New York: Prentice Hall. pp. 15-30.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2010-2019 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

Advances in Language and Literary Studies

You may require to add the 'aiac.org.au' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.