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Volume 6 Number 1, Spring 2009, Pages 1-214   

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The Relationship of Language Learning Strategies and Personality on English Proficiency in Japanese University Students

    Sawako Kato

The purposes of this study were to explore the primary language learning strategies used by Japanese university students, to determine how language proficiency levels relate to the use of language learning strategies and personality type, and to practically apply the findings to university teaching situations. Factor analysis, conducted in a sample consisting of 187 Japanese university students, identified five underlying factors: Authentic-language-use strategies, Heuristic strategies, Social strategies, Pleasure-oriented strategies and Entrance-exam-measured strategies. Correlation analysis showed that Authentic-language-use, Heuristic, Social, and Pleasure-oriented strategies had positive correlations with proficiency, however, Entrance-exam-measured strategies, the distinctive factor in Japanese students, had no correlation with proficiency. Though there was no relationship between personality traits and proficiency, this study found that the students with personality traits such as endurance and order, which are conventionally regarded as being beneficial to Japanese students of English, used impractical strategies. This study suggests that being immersed in an enjoyable and interactive learning environment is more effective than solitary, repetitive study.

Keywords: language learning strategies, personality, English proficiency, Japanese university students