A Comparison of English Vocabulary Learning Strategies Employed by Bilingual and Multilingual Students
Keywords:bilingualism, multilingualism, primary schoolers
Linguistic diversity has become an issue of some importance as societies are becoming more and more multilingual as a result of globalization. This forces people to go beyond their borders and learn other languages in order to help them meet their needs. The question of whether multilinguals or bilinguals have a deeper understanding of how languages are learned has long been studied by various scholars. Hence, this study is an attempt to investigate whether bilingual and multilingual primary school students differ significantly in using vocabulary learning strategies or not. The present study was carried out using a questionnaire, “Vocabulary Learning Strategies Questionnaire” by Schmitt (1997), which was adapted to make it compatible with the very young participants’ proficiency level and translated into Turkish to ensure accurate responses on the part of students. which showed a higher level of overall strategy use for multilingual students in comparison with bilingual students. The results revealed that multilinguals are better at utilizing more strategies and that the more frequent use of strategies by multilinguals to learn and practice new words might arise from both their awareness of how they can learn an additional language, and their utilization of these strategies in a flexible and appropriate manner. The findings also revealed that there are significant differences between bilingual and multilingual learners only in terms of the use of cognitive and metacognitive strategies, which are deployed more often by the latter group, which paves the way for the notion that suggests that multilinguals’ language learning experience might contribute to their greater sense of autonomy by enabling them to plan and control their own learning process, which leads to a higher success rate for multilingual primary schoolers.
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