Developing a Taxonomy of Vocabulary Learning Strategies for an ESP Context

Zahra Akbari


The purpose behind challenging taxonomies of VLSs is to gain more insights about vocabulary learning process and point out to effective ways for teaching and learning vocabulary. At issue was the extent to which students spontaneously developed or adopted effective vocabulary comprehension and learning practices as a result of their language learning experience.  Schmitt’s taxonomy (1997) was used as a starting point and attempts have been made to develop a taxonomy of VLSs for ESP contexts. To do so, a qualitative study was designed and carried out in which 137 participants were selected randomly from among medical and paramedical students who had enrolled in ESP I in Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. Data on VLSs in an ESP context were elicited by observation, interview and questionnaire. The VLSs were divided into two major groups: strategies for the discovery of a new word’s meaning and strategies for consolidating a word once it has been encountered. Comprehension strategies included determination strategies and transactional strategies. Learning strategies were subdivided into two categories: the knowledge-oriented strategies and skill-/use-oriented strategies.


Vocabulary learning strategies, Schmitt's taxonomy, English for specific purposes, Specialized and non-specialized vocabulary, EFL learners

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