Empirical Studies on English Vocabulary Learning Strategies in Mainland China over the Past Two Decades


  • Zhongxin Dai North China Electric Power University
  • Yao Zhou North China Electric Power University




China, English learner, strategy, vocabulary learning.


Wen and Wang (2004) reviewed the empirical studies over the past two decades (from 1984 to 2003) on learning strategies that Chinese EFL learners used. This article, following their methodological framework, reviews about 45 empirical studies on Chinese EFL learners’ English vocabulary learning strategies, conducted by Mainland Chinese scholars over the past two decades. The review shows that more than half of the Chinese scholars are interested in questionnaire investigation of EFL learners’ preferences for vocabulary learning. The reports of the questionnaire investigations indicate that most Chinese EFL learners prefer rote learning of vocabulary to learning vocabulary in context or through language use. The experimental studies suggest that strategies-based instruction results in the learners’ vocabulary achievement. Cognitive and metacognitive strategies are the two groups of strategies that Chinese researchers show particular interest in.

Author Biographies

  • Zhongxin Dai, North China Electric Power University
    English Department, School of Foreign Languages
  • Yao Zhou, North China Electric Power University
    English Department, School of Foreign Languages


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