Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2013

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Teaching and Learning

First Advisor

Leslie Schrier

Second Advisor

Lia Plakans

First Committee Member

Michael Everson

Second Committee Member

Pamela Wesely

Third Committee Member

Volker Thomas


Vocabulary learning strategies and word knowledge are two central factors in learning a foreign language. Researchers have acknowledged the vital role of vocabulary in second language acquisition. This particular study is trying to fill a void by looking at high-school aged learners, by looking at beginning learners of German and by looking at the expression of word knowledge and strategy use qualitatively.

The research methodology for this study is qualitative and exploratory in nature. The participants of this study are 29 high-school students, who participated in a vocabulary review game and filled out exit slips following the game. Of these students, 13 participated in a follow-up interview in which the prompts from the review game were discussed and analyzed.

The study revealed beginning learners of German use a variety of learning strategies. Students preferred semantic context over linguistic and social context. They were also able to describe vocabulary items in the target language German, without major breakdowns in communication. Students tried to avoid the use of the German articles and confused grammatical terminology at times. Overall, students knew high frequency vocabulary and how to use it.


German, Learning strategies, Vocabulary knowledge, Vocabulary strategies, Word knowledge


x, 144 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 128-144).


Copyright 2013 Kristin Kuchenbecker