the Relationship between Vocabulary Size and Training in Vocabulary-Learning Strategies A Case Study of Preparatory Year Students at Saudi University
The present study investigates the relationship between vocabulary size and training in vocabulary-learning strategies (VLSs) among preparatory year students at a university in Saudi Arabia. Vocabulary size is important because there is a close association between the size of speakers’ vocabulary and the level of communication they can achieve (Nation, 2001). Sixty male students, twenty each from the humanities, science and health streams, participated in the study and ten students chosen randomly from each group participated in one one-hour long training session on VLSs each day for five consecutive days. The objectives of the study were (i) to discover VLSs that can be utilized by preparatory year students; (ii) to identify the English vocabulary size of the students, and (iii) to examine the effects of VLSs training on the results of vocabulary size tests taken by the students. Data were collected before and after the treatment using a VLSs Questionnaire adapted from Schmitt and McCarthy (1997), consisting of 50 Likert-scale items with a 0.78 reliability coefficient to explore the students’ use of VLSs before and after training. Secondly, XK-Lex (Masrai and Milton, 2012), a word recognition test, was used to measure the students’ vocabulary size before and after training. Thirdly, I used a research diary to record trainees’ expressions of their attitudes to VLSs at the end of each training session. The data were entered into the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS), version 25. The study found significant differences between the experimental and the control groups’ use of VLSs in the post-treatment, and the differences were positive in favour of the experimental group. When the experimental group was divided into fields of study, there was a statistically significant gain in the participants’ total vocabulary size after training in some fields, suggesting that the VLSs training had had a beneficial effect. The sample size in this field-specific analysis was, however, small and so the findings need to be treated with caution.