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Volume 4 Number 4, Winter 2007, Pages 1-271   

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Incidental Vocabulary Learning of Non-English Major Graduates

    Hou Shujing and Xie Hui

Vocabulary learning is essential in second language acquisition, since it is a fundamental element of the target language learning. The present research investigates the overall pattern of English incidental vocabulary learning strategies employed by non-English major graduates, the specific strategies used by high-proficiency learners, intermediate and low-proficiency learners, as well as correlation between learning strategies and learning proficiency. The subjects are 150 non-English major graduates from Chongqing University, China. The research instruments are incidental vocabulary learning strategies questionnaire, vocabulary testing, and individual interviews. By using SPSS 13.0 with K-means cluster, Independent samples test and Bivariate correlate, the analyses of the data reveal that high-proficiency learners and low-proficiency learners show significant differences in choosing vocabulary learning strategies in their incidental vocabulary learning. With the increase of vocabulary level, the number of incidental vocabulary strategies used by the subjects also increases gradually. Drawing upon the research, the pedagogical implications of the research are suggested that teachers should encourage them to realize the importance of incidental vocabulary learning and to expand involvement in the learning process. With the findings of different learning strategies employed by high and low proficiency subjects, as well as correlations between learning strategies and their incidental vocabulary learning proficiency, teachers need to make further comparison and help learners discover the most beneficial learning strategies for themselves.

Keywords: incidental vocabulary learning; vocabulary leaning strategies