The relationship between the language learning strategy use and language proficiency of Vietnamese-speaking learners of English as a foreign language

Kotze, Henno (2012-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Research into the variables which affect second language (L2) learning has shown varying results. The relationship between one of these factors, language learning strategies (LLSs), and language proficiency has been studied extensively in the English as a second language (ESL) setting, often with inconclusive results. Other variables which have been shown to influence the type and frequency of LLS use include gender and length of exposure to the L2. There has however been a dearth of studies focusing on the relationship between LLSs and these variables, including language proficiency, in the English as a foreign language (EFL) context, and especially in East-Asian and South-East Asian tertiary settings. Against this backdrop, this study sets out to investigate the relationship between the LLSs and language proficiency of Vietnamese-speaking EFL learners in Vietnam in an attempt to add to the body of literature in this field. This study begins by discussing various prominent classification systems of LLSs and provides a definition which will be used in this investigation. This is followed by a discussion of the existing LLS literature, focusing on the variables to be tested, and LLS research in the Asian setting. To test whether there is a significant relationship between the participants’ LLS use and their language proficiency, and also whether gender and length and type of exposure to the L2 influenced their LLS use, data was collected quantitatively. Firstly, data was gathered on the students’ type and frequency of LLS use by means of a commonly implemented self-report questionnaire, the Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL) and on their language proficiency by means of their course assessment results. A background questionnaire was used to collect information on the other variables to be tested. The participants were found to be medium to high frequency LLS users overall, with their reported use of certain LLS categories contradicting the general stereotype that Asian students are passive and rote learners. No significant correlations were found between frequency of LLS use and language proficiency. Furthermore, no significant difference was found between the reported frequency and type of LLS use of female and male participants, nor any correlation between additional exposure to English outside of high school and LLS use. These results are then discussed in the socio-cultural context of Vietnamese-speaking learners in a tertiary EFL setting, followed by conclusions drawn from these results, and suggestions for future research.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Navorsing rakende die faktore wat die verwerwing van ’n tweede taal (T2) beïnvloed, het verskillende resultate opgelewer oor die afgelope paar dekades. Die verhouding tussen een van hierdie faktore, naamlik taalleerstrategieë (TLSe), en taalvaardigheid is reeds uitvoerig ondersoek in die konteks van Engels as tweedetaal (ET2), dikwels met onbesliste resultate. Ander faktore wat volgens navorsing ook ’n invloed blyk te hê op die tipe en gereeldheid van TLS-gebruik, sluit in geslag, sowel as lengte van blootstelling aan die T2. Daar is egter ’n tekort aan studies wat fokus op die verhouding tussen TLSe en hierdie veranderlikes, insluitend taalvaardigheid, in die konteks van Engels as vreemdetaal (EVT), spesifiek in Oos-Asiese en Suid-Oos-Asiese tersiêre instansies. Teen hierdie agtergrond het hierdie studie ten doel om die verhouding tussen die TLS-gebruik en taalvaardigheid van Viëtnameessprekende EVT-leerders in Viëtnam te ondersoek, ten einde by te dra tot die literatuur in hierdie veld. Hierdie studie begin met ‘n bespreking van verskeie prominente TLS-klassifikasiesisteme en die uiteensetting van die definisie van “TLS” wat in hierdie ondersoek gebruik sal word. Daarna volg ’n bespreking van die bestaande TLS-literatuur. Ten einde te toets of daar ’n beduidende verhouding is tussen die deelnemers se TLS-gebruik en hulle taalvaardigheid, en ook of geslag en die lengte en tipe blootstelling aan die T2 die deelnemers se TLS-gebruik beïnvloed, is kwantitatiewe data ingesamel. Data rakende die tipe en gereeldheid van die deelnemers se TLS-gebruik is deur middel van ’n wyd geïmplementeerde self-rapporteringsvraelys, naamlik die sogenaamde “Strategy Inventory for Language Learning” (SILL), ingesamel. Die deelnemers se kursusassesseringsresultate is geïnterpreteer as ‘n aanduiding van hulle taalvaardigheid. Die gerapporteerde gebruik van sekere TLS-kategorieë weerspreek die algemene stereotipe dat Asiese studente passiewe leerders is wat staatmaak op blote memorisering. Geen beduidende korrelasies is gevind tussen taalvaardigheid en die gereeldheid waarmee TLSe gebruik word nie. Verder is geen beduidende verskille gevind tussen die gerapporteerde gereeldheid of tipe TLS-gebruik van manlike teenoor vroulike deelnemers nie. Daar is ook geen beduidende korrelasie gevind tussen TLS-gebruik en addisionele blootstelling aan Engels wat deelnemers gedurende hulle hoërskooljare buite skoolverband ontvang het nie. Hierdie resultate word geïnterpreteer en bespreek met inagname van die sosiokulturele konteks van Viëtnamees-sprekende leerders in ’n tersiêre EVT-omgewing. Daarna word gevolgtrekkings gemaak op grond van die resultate, en voorstelle vir verdere navorsing gebied.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/71839
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