Vocabulary Learning Strategies in Foreign Language


One of the language learning is vocabulary learning. The vocabulary learning is the most basic and fundamental unit of language learning. Specifically, it is more important for second/foreign language learners. They can understand word meanings well and maintain the new words longer, having their own effective vocabulary learning strategies.

This chapter reviews various vocabulary learning strategies in foreign language learning.
  • Thematic organization of vocabulary
  • Wholes to parts.( body-arms/legs-fingers/toes)
  • General to specific(food-vegetables-cabbages)
  • Degree of difference(hot-warm-cold, always-usually-sometimes-never)
  • Guessing from context
  • Using dictionary/E-dictionary
  • Note-taking
  • Rote-rehearsal
  • Repeating aloud: the ear does assist the eye in the long-term retention of lexis.(Kelly)
  • Mnemonics; focusing on memory
  • Word formation; focusing on form
  • Semantic networks; focusing on meaning

In conclusion, myriad strategies have been used in language learning process. However, there is not a single best strategy in vocabulary learning. Different people have different strategies. Thus the choice, use, and effectiveness of vocabulary learning strategies depend on the task, the learner, and the context. Furthermore, as a teacher, he or she is responsible for providing students with opportunities to choose their individual strategy by themselves.