The Use of Dictionary and Contextual Guessing Strategies for Vocabulary Learning by Advanced English-Language Learners

Shufen Huang, Zohreh Eslami


The present study provides insight into the use of dictionaries and contextual guessing by advanced English-language learners. This report identifies dictionary use and contextual guessing strategies used by these learners most often and least often. Participants were 100 international graduate students at a large southwestern U.S. university who completed a vocabulary learning strategy questionnaire. The results indicated that these learners consulted a dictionary most often to find out the pronunciation of a new word and least often to learn the frequency of use and appropriate usage of an unknown word. Participants most often based their guesses of a word’s meaning from the paragraph’s main ideas and background information. Using the meaning of individual parts of an unfamiliar compound word (such as note-book) and the part of speech of a new word were the least-used guessing strategies.

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English Language and Literature Studies   ISSN 1925-4768 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4776 (Online)

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