© 2018

Learning Vocabulary Strategically in a Study Abroad Context

  • Reveals the complexity of strategic vocabulary learning experiences of Chinese students as they study for their degrees in English-speaking countries

  • Offers an in-depth account of how and why learners select and combine certain strategies to enhance their vocabulary learning

  • Explores the complex interplay between the students' strategy use, their agency as a learner and their discrete learning contexts


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Isobel Kai-Hui Wang
    Pages 1-15
  3. Isobel Kai-Hui Wang
    Pages 17-66
  4. Isobel Kai-Hui Wang
    Pages 117-168
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 269-294

About this book


This book focuses on case studies of vocabulary strategy use and presents an in-depth account of the vocabulary learning experiences of Chinese students in the UK. It challenges the view that vocabulary strategies result only from learners’ cognitive choices, and provides insightful analysis of the interplay between learner characteristics, agency and context in the process of strategic learning. The author makes a strong case for using qualitative methodologies to examine the dynamic, complex and contextually situated nature of strategic vocabulary learning. Drawing on multiple data sources, the book discusses issues that are central to the continuing development of vocabulary strategy research and offers theoretical, research-based and practical suggestions for future exploration. This book will appeal to students and scholars of second language acquisition, vocabulary and applied linguistics.


study abroad learning vocabulary strategic vocabulary learning ESL universities higher education vocabulary strategy use

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Nankai UniversityTianjinChina

About the authors

Isobel Kai-Hui Wang is Lecturer in Applied Linguistics at the Department of English, Nankai University, China. Her research interests lie in the area of vocabulary learner strategies, second language vocabulary acquisition, and intercultural communication. 

Bibliographic information


"This book makes an outstanding contribution to the language learner strategy literature. It is unique both for its detailed description via case studies of ESL students’ efforts to strategize in their learning of vocabulary, and for its comprehensive coverage of the myriad of factors involved in the learning process. Furthermore, its attention to vocabulary strategies for study abroad and to web-based tools for vocabulary learning are especially timely.” (Andrew D. Cohen, Professor Emeritus of the University of Minnesota, USA)

“This book focuses on learning vocabulary for authentic use in a study abroad context. The case study approach helps situate learning agents in learning sites. Vocabulary learning strategies are shown as purposefully chosen, customised, dynamic, situated, flexibly coordinated, and sometimes co-constructed and shared. A must read for language learners, teachers, and learning strategy researchers.” (Peter Gu, Associate Professor in the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)

“The richness of this book’s suggestions for strategic vocabulary learning is based on Wang’s holistic analysis of authentic on-campus and off-campus problems encountered by six Chinese students in the UK. By mixing research methods and emphasising the dynamic nature and complexity of individual vocabulary learning situations, Wang’s book hits the pulse of our time.” (Carmen M. Amerstorfer, Director of the School of Education and Senior Scientist at the Department of English, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Austria)