L2 vocabulary learning strategies: analysing teaching materials and learners’ perspectives



The present study analyses the vocabulary learning strategies used by a group of undergraduates studying EFL as part of their university Primary and Pre-Primary teacher training degree, and those strategies contained in the two EFL coursebooks used by those students. Coursebooks were analyzed according to seven types of vocabulary learning strategies: metacognition, inference, dictionary use, note taking, practicing, codifying and activation. Likewise, participants were asked to rank these seven strategies from the most used to the least used in their L2 vocabulary learning process. The results reveal that only four of the seven strategies, namely, codifying, practicing, activation, and inference are promoted by the coursebooks. They show a very similar line opting particularly for the development of practice and codifying. This contrasts with the EFL learners, who tend to adopt inference in the first place, followed by dictionary use and note taking, the last two being absent in the coursebooks. Therefore, in the light of these results, we can suggest that the way students monitor their vocabulary learning significantly differs from the strategies promoted by the teaching materials they use.

Palabras clave:

coursebook, learning strategies, second language acquisition, vocabulary learning


Akbari, Z. 2015. Key Vocabulary Learning Strategies in ESP And EGP Course Books. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature 4(1): 1-7.

Alcaraz-Mármol, G. 2010. The role of frequency in the Elementary Foreign Language classroom. Malaysian Journal of ELT Research 6(1): 167-194.

Alcaraz-Mármol, G. 2012. Systematic introduction of vocabulary and its effect on acquisition: Primary Education students of English as a Foreign Language. Porta Linguarum 18: 149-160.

Alcaraz-Mármol, G. 2015. Dispersion and frequency: Is there any difference as regards their relation to L2 vocabulary gains? International Journal of English Studies 15(2): 1-16.

Alcaraz-Mármol, G. & Almela, A. 2013. The Involvement Load Hypothesis: Its effect on vocabulary learning in Primary Education. Revista Española de Lingüística Aplicada 26: 11-24.

Anderson, N. J. 2002. The role of metacognition in second language teaching and learning. ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED463659.

Asyiah, N. D. 2017. The vocabulary teaching and vocabulary learning: Perception, strategies, and influences on students’ vocabulary mastery. Jurnal Bahasa Lingua Scientia 9(2): 293-318. https://doi.org/10.21274/ls.2017.9.2.293-318.

Bae, S. 2015. A course in dictionary use for Korean EFL teachers. ASIALEX 2: 45-69.

Bastanfar, A. & Hashemi, T. 2010. Vocabulary Learning Strategies and ELT Materials: A Study of the Extent to Which VLS Research Informs Local Coursebooks in Iran. International Education Studies 3(3): 158-166.

Carrasco-Flores, J. A. 2019. Analysing English for Translation and Interpreting materials: skills, subcompetences and types of knowledge. The Interpreter and Translator Trainer. http://doi.org/10.1080/1750399X.2019.1647920.

Carrasco Flores, J. A. & Alcaraz-Marmol, G. 2020. Exploring ESP textbooks for commerce and medicine: An analysis of skills and types of instruction. Journal of Teaching English for Specific and Academic Purposes 8(3):265-281. https://doi.org/10.22190/JTESAP2003265C.

Cohen, A. H. 2007. Coming to terms with language learner strategies: surveying the experts. In Cohen A.D. & Macaro E. (Eds.), Language learner strategies: 30 years of research and practice: 29-45. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cohen, A. D. & Weaver, S.J. 2006. Styles and strategies-based instruction: A teachers’ guide. Minnesota: University of Minnesota.

Common European Framework of Reference. 2016. Council of Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cubukcu, F. 2008. Enhancing vocabulary development and reading comprehension through metacognitive strategies. Issues in Educational Research 18(1): 1-11.

De Bot, K., Lowie, W. & Verspoor, M. 2007. A dynamic systems theory approach to second language acquisition. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 10(1): 7-21.

Doff, A., Thaine, C., Puchta, H., Stranks, J. & Lewis-Jones, P. 2018. Empower B1 (4th Edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dubiner, D. 2017. Using vocabulary notebooks for vocabulary acquisition and teaching. ELT Journal 71(4): 456-466.

Dülger, O. 2016. Evaluation of EFL coursebooks taught in Turkey based on teachers’ views. Journal of Advances in English Language Teaching 4(1): 1-11.

Elizondo, J. F., Pilgrim, Y. & Sánchez, A. 2019. Assessing ESP vocabulary and grammar through Task-Based Language Teaching. Revista de Lenguas Modernas 30: 73-95.

Fan, M. 2003. Frequency of use, perceived usefulness, and actual usefulness of second language vocabulary strategies: A study of Hong Kong Learners. The Modern Language Journal 87(2): 222-241.

Fowle, C. 2002. Vocabulary notebooks: Implementation and outcomes. ELT Journal 56(4): 380-388.

Gallo-Crail, R. & Zerwekh, R. 2002. Language learning and the Internet: Student strategies in vocabulary acquisition. In Spreen C. A. (Ed.), New technologies and language learning: Cases in the less commonly taught languages: 55-79. Hawaii: University of Hawaii.

Gorgoz, S. & Tican, C. 2020. Investigation of middle school students’ self-regulation skills and vocabulary learning strategies in foreign language. International Journal of Educational Methodology 6(1): 25 - 42. https://doi.org/10.12973/ijem.6.1.25.

Goundar, P. 2019. Vocabulary learning strategies (VLSs) employed by learners of English as a Foreign Language (EFL). English Language Teaching 12(5): 177-189.

Gu, P. Y. 2002. Gender, academic major, and vocabulary learning strategies of Chinese EFL learners. RELC Journal, 33(1): 35-54. https://doi.org/10.1177/003368820203300102.

Gu, P. Y. 2018. Validation of an online questionnaire of vocabulary learning strategies for ESL learners. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching 8(2): 325-350.

Gu, P. 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.

Hajar, A. & Wray, C. 2017. Helping Learners Learn: Exploring Strategy Instruction Into Language Learning Textbooks. In H. Masuhara, F. Mishan & B. Tomlinson, (Eds.), Practice And Theory For Materials Development In L2 Learning: 131-148. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Hulstijn, J. H. 2001. Intentional And Incidental Second Language vocabulary learning a reappraisal of elaboration, rehearsal and automaticity. In R. Peter (Ed.), Cognition and second language instruction: 258-286. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Jiménez Catalán, R. M. & Mancebo R. 2008. Vocabulary Input In Efl Textbooks. Resla 21: 147-165.

Jiménez Catalán, R. M. 2003. Sex Differences In L2 Vocabulary Learning Strategies. International Journal Of Applied Linguistics 13(1): 54-77.

Kocaman, O., Yildiz, M. & Kamaz, B. 2018. Use Of Vocabulary Learning Strategies In Turkish As A Foreign Language Context. International Journal Of Psychology And Educational Studies, 5(2): 54-63. Http://Dx.Doi.Org/10.17220/Ijpes.2018.02.007.

Latham-Koenig, C., Oxenden, C. & Lambert, J. 2019. English File Intermediate (3 rd Edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Limberg, H. 2016. Teaching How To Apologize: Efl Textbooks And Pragmatic Input. Language Teaching Research 20(6): 700-718.

Little, A. & Kobayashi, K. 2015. Vocabulary Learning Strategies Of Japanese Life Science Students. Tesol 6: 81-11. Https://Doi.Org/10.1002/Tesj.141.

Liu, L. 2014. The Integration Of Dictionary Use Strategy Training Into Basic English Class. Theory And Practice In Language Studies 4(10): 2138-3143.

López-Mezquita, M. T. 2005. La evaluación de la dimensión léxica a nivel receptivo: Un marco para el diseño de instrumentos de medida. Perspectivas interdisciplinares de la lingüística aplicada. Resla 19: 381–390.

Matsuoka, V. & Hirsh, D. 2010. Vocabulary Learning Through Reading: Does An Elt Course Book Provide Good Opportunities? Reading In A Foreign Language 22(1): 56-70.

Mckinley, S. & Hastings, B. 2007. Longman English Success. New Jersey: Pearson Longman.

Milton, J. 2009. Measuring Second Language Vocabulary Acquisiton. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Mungkonwong, P. & Wudthayagorn, J. 2017. An Investigation Of Vocabulary Size Of Thai Freshmen And Its Relationship To Years Of English Study. Learn Journal: Language Education And Acquisition Research Network Journal 10(2): 1-9.

Murray, C. 2019. Inclusion Of Vocabulary Learning Strategies In Elt Coursebooks. The Journal Of Asia Tefl, 16(2): 727-734. Http://Dx.Doi.Org/10.18823/Asiatefl.2019.

Nassaji, H. 2003. L2 Vocabulary Learning From Context: Strategies, Knowledge Sources, And Their Relationship With Success In L2 Lexical Inferencing. Tesol Quarterly 37(4): 645-670.

Nation, P. 2001. Learning Vocabulary In Another Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Nation, P. 2006. How Large A Vocabulary Is Needed For Reading And Listening? Canadian Modern Language Review 63(1): 59-82. Https://Doi.Org/10.3138/Cmlr.63.1.59.

Nation, P. 2015. Principles Guiding Vocabulary Learning Through Extensive Reading. Reading In A Foreign Language 27(1): 136-145.

Nematollahi, B., Behjat, F. & Kargar, A. 2017. A Meta-Analysis Of Vocabulary Learning Strategies Of Efl Learners. English Language Teaching 10(5): 1-10.

Nguyen, C. 2020. Lexical Features Of Reading Passages In English-Language Textbooks For Vietnamese High-School Students: Do They Foster Both Content And Vocabulary Gain? Relc Journal 58(2): 1-14. Https://Doi.Org/10.1177/0033688219895045.

Nizonkiza, D. & Van Dyk, T. 2015. Academic Literacy Of South African Higher Education Level Students: Does Vocabulary Size Matter? Stellenbosch Papers In Linguistics 44: 147-174. Https://Doi: 10.5774/44-0-159.

Norlund, M. 2016. Efl Textbooks For Young Learners: A Comparative Analysis Of Vocabulary. Education Inquiry 7(1): 47-68.

O’loughlin, R. 2012. Tuning Into Vocabulary Frequency In Coursebooks. Relc Journal 43(2): 255-269. Https://Doi.Org/10.1177/0033688212450640.

O’malley, J. M. & Chamot, A. U. 1990. Learning Strategies In Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Okyar, H. 2021. Vocabulary Learning Strategies Of Turkish Efl Learners: A Focus On Gender. Journal Of English Teaching 7(1): 43-54. Https://Doi.Org/10.33541/Jet.V7i1.2289.

Oxford, R. L. 1990. Language Learning Strategies. What Every Teacher Should Know. New York: Newbury House.

Oxford, R. L. 2011. Teaching And Researching Language Learning Strategies. Harlow: Pearson Longman.

Pawlak, M. 2019. Investigating Language Learning Strategies: Prospects, Pitfalls And Challenges. Language Teaching Research, 4: 1-19. Https://Doi.Org/10.1177/1362168819876156.

Pigada, M. & Schmitt, N. 2006. Vocabulary Acquisition From Extensive Reading: A Case Study. Reading In A Foreign Language 18(1): 1–28.

Rubin, J. 1975. What The ‘good Language Learner’ Can Teach Us. Tesol Quarterly 9: 41–51.

Sanaoui, R. 1995. Adult Learners’ Approaches To Learning Vocabulary In Second Languages. The Modern Language Journal 79(1): 15-28.

Schmitt, N. 1997. Vocabulary Learning Strategies. In N. Schmitt & M. Mccarthy (Eds.), Vocabulary: Description, Acquisition And Pedagogy: 199-227. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sibanda, J. & Baxen, J. 2016. Determining Esl Learners’ Vocabulary Needs From A Textbook Corpus: Challenges And Prospects. Southern African Linguistics And Applied Language Studies 34(1): 57-70. Http://Dx.Doi.Org/10.2989/16073614.2016.1159521.

Soureshijani, K. H. 2011. Gender-Oriented Use Of Vocabulary Strategies: A Comparative Study. Theory And Practice In Language Studies 1(7): 898-902.

Stern, H. H. 1992. Issues And Options In Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sun, Y. & Dang, T. 2020. Vocabulary In High-School Efl Textbooks: Texts And Learner Knowledge. System 93: 1-13. Https://Doi.Org/10.1016/J.System.2020.102279.

Tanyer, S. & Y. Ozturk. 2014. Pre-Service English Teachers’ Vocabulary Learning Strategy Use And Vocabulary Size: A Cross-Sectional Evaluation. Journal Of Language Teaching And Research 5(1): 37-45.

Tezgiden, Y. 2006. A Critical Review Of Teacher Education Models. International Journal Of Educational Policies 10(2): 121- 140.

Tomlinson, B. 2003. Developing Materials For Language Teaching. London: Bloomsbury.

Tomlinson, B. 2012. Materials Development For Language Learning And Teaching. Language Teaching 45: 143–179.

Uzun, L. 2013. Promoting Vocabulary Learning Through Vocabulary Notebooks: Teaching And Learning Strategies And Gender. Journal Of Academic Language & Learning 7(1): 1-13.

Van Zeeland, H. & Schmitt, N. 2013. Lexical Coverage In L1 And L2 Listening Comprehension: The Same Or Different From Reading Comprehension? Applied Linguistics 34(4): 457-479. Https://Doi.Org/10.1093/Applin/Ams074.

Vela, V. & Rushidi, J. 2016. The Effect Of Keeping Vocabulary Notebooks On Vocabulary Acquisition And Learner Autonomy. Procedia, Social And Behavioural Sciences 232: 201-208.

Yaghoubi, S. T. & Seyyedi, F. 2017. The Effect Of Explicit And Implicit Teaching Vocabulary On Iranian Efl Learners Vocabulary. Studies In English Language And Education 4(1): 15-25. Https://Doi.Org/10.24815/Siele.V4i1.7001.

Zhang, X. & Lu, X. 2015. The Relationship Between Vocabulary Learning Strategies And Breadth And Depth Of Vocabulary Knowledge. The Modern Language Journal 99(4): 740-753. Https://Doi.Org/10.1111/Modl.12277.

Zhou, M. 2016. The Roles Of Social Anxiety, Autonomy, And Learning Orientation In Second Language Learning: A Structural Equation Modelling Analysis. System 63: 89-10.

Zimmerman, B. J. 2001. Theories Of Self-Regulated Learning And Academic Achievement: An Overview And Analysis. In Zimmerman, B. J. & Schunk, D. H. (Eds.), Self-Regulated Learning And Academic Achievement: 1-37. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.