Dissertation Defense Announcement

College of Arts and Sciences announces the Final Dissertation Defense of

Adel Alharbi

for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

May 3, 2019 at 9:00 AM in Patterson Hall, Room 448

Advisor: Teresa S Dalle

Investigating sequential vocabulary learning strategies as a means of improving L2 vocabulary acquisition.

ABSTRACT: One of the key aspects to learning a language is building good vocabulary knowledge. However, building vocabulary is considered to be as hard a process as developing the language itself in the long term. In second language acquisition (SLA), the larger vocabulary size has been connected to intelligence and as a major determinant of successful language use. With the constant use of vocabulary learning strategies (VLSs), language learners have reported successful growth of their language learning. The current study investigated Spanish–English bilingual speakers' beliefs and practices about sequential VLS processes as a means of improving second language vocabulary acquisition. The study recruited participants from two groups (each group has 35 participants, N = 70) attending public high school in a Spanish speaking country. The effects of five preselected sequential VLSs (Guessing meaning of a new word with its context, building synonyms network, listening and pronunciation process [speaking strategies], bookmark word search [note-taking strategies], and remembering strategy for writing) on 35 participants were investigated through a 4-week VLS intervention design. A convergent mixed-methods design has been used, in which quantitative and qualitative data were collected in parallel, analyzed separately, and finally merged. The study used a questionnaire followed by the vocabulary size test (VST) to test the theory that certain VLS processes positively influence the growth of vocabulary size or knowledge for bilingual learners of English during the language learning process. The findings showed that specific sequential VLS processes (the vocab-backup strategy model VBS) accounted for a change of the vocabulary size scores. Statistical analysis revealed that, all participants preferred the same VBS model sequencing when it comes to vocabulary learning. On the effective use of sequential VLS processes, participants were recorded performing two types of VLS: initial-VLS processes and consolidated-VLS processes. The sequential and frequency of use for the VLSs from the interview's findings reported that participants favored mostly guessing meaning from context, synonyms relation strategies, and dictionary use as initial attempts for their vocabulary learning. The overall results suggest that deeper processes of VLS use result in successful vocabulary learning but also enhance language learning input.