Vocabulary Acquisition Strategies & Language Aptitude

  • Jakob PoschnerEmail author
Part of the English Language Education book series (ELED, volume 16)


According to the lexical approach in language teaching, it is lexis which functions as the most important building block for communication. Therefore, it is of great importance to examine how vocabulary, also in the form of multiword lexical units, can be acquired most efficiently. Vocabulary learning strategies haven been a constant field of research since the 1970s, providing linguists and teachers with information about different cognitive vocabulary learning strategies. Additionally, language aptitude tests improved significantly since their development and were able to prove their validity. Studies showed that low aptitude learners drastically improved with the help of specific vocabulary acquisition strategies, whereas high aptitude learners did not benefit from such strategies. Taking this finding into consideration, this research investigates whether people with a lower language aptitude use particular cognitive strategies more frequently compared to persons with a higher aptitude. A questionnaire has been designed to measure people’s preferences for various cognitive vocabulary acquisition strategies. The questionnaire focuses on three well known and two little-known, but innovative, strategies: learning vocabulary with the help of pictorial representations, grouping corresponding words together, antonyms and synonyms, using physical actions accompanying vocabulary learning and the keyword method. A total of 19 German native speakers participated in the study. The LLAMA B test has been chosen to measure vocabulary acquisition aptitude. The research shows that low aptitude learners do not use significantly more cognitive vocabulary acquisition strategies than high aptitude learners.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Linguistics & Department of English and American StudiesUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

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