Strategies Used by Saudi EFL Students to Determine the Meaning of English Words

Abdallah Ahmad Baniabdelrahman, Yousif Al-shumaimeri


This study investigated the strategies which first-year Saudi university EFL students used to derive the meaning of unfamiliar words while reading English texts. Using cluster sampling method, participants chosen to be included in the study consisted of six male and six female classes (120 male and 120 female students) of the preparatory year deanship students at King Saud University, 2009-2010. Following the administration of a vocabulary test as the instrument, descriptive statistics and ANOVA tests were used to analyze the collected data. Results revealed that the students were weak in using the right strategies in guessing the meaning of unknown vocabulary. The use of a combination of two or more strategies was found to result in a better correct guessing rate, but few students tended to use this technique. The results support the importance of practical training in when and how to use various strategies: students need to be given regular practice in order to learn how to use them most effectively. Highlighting the main strategies which students use to correctly derive the meaning of words, the findings indicate EFL teachers should train their students in the use of a variety of strategies for guessing the meaning of unfamiliar words.

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English Language Teaching       ISSN 1916-4742 (Print)   ISSN  1916-4750 (Online)

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