Definition of Language Learning Strategy

Research on language learning strategies began with the studies of Rubin (1975) and Stern (1975) focusing on the strategies used by the “good language learner.” However, from the outset, researchers differed from each other as to the definition of learning strategies. Rubin (1975) defined language-learning strategies as the specific techniques or devices that learners use to acquire knowledge. Other early L2 learning and acquisition theorists refer to language-learning strategies as the conscious enterprises of learners (e.g., Bialystok, 1978). Some researchers also see learning strategies as some more general higher order approaches to learning that govern the choice of more specific techniques (Naiman et al., 1978; Stern, 1983). Wenden (1986) sees language learning strategies as the adults’ utilization of the “conscious process” in learning. Oxford (1990, p.1) claimed “learning strategies are steps taken by students to enhance their own learning.” She proposed a more specific definition of learning strategies as “specific actions taken by the learner to make their learning easier, faster, more enjoyable, more self-directed, more effective, and more transferable to new situations” (Oxford, 1990, p.8).

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