Language Learning Aptitude (LLA) and Language Learning Strategy (LLS) use among Iranian university EFL students: Patterns and relationships

Karim Sadeghi, Zainab Abolfazli Khonbi


Fundamental to any consideration of research into students roles in any educational program is the focus on the most efficient way(s) of learning for students. Following the same thread, this study aimed to explore the patterns of language learning strategy (LLS) use (based on Oxfords SILL, 1990a) and its links with language learning aptitude (LLA) (as measured by Carroll and Sapons MLAT, 1983) of a cohort of male (N = 16) and female (N = 32) Iranian students at Urmia University. One-way ANOVA indicated significant differences between the two genders on their use of cognitive and metacognitive LLSs in favor of males but not on their aptitude scores. Two-way ANOVA revealed a significant role for aptitude level but not gender on students language learning strategy use. Pearson product-moment correlation also revealed significant relationships among the components of MLAT and LLSs. Detailed findings and discussions are presented in the paper.


Iranian EFL students; Language learning aptitude; Language learning strategy use

Full Text:



Abraham, R. G., & Vann, R. J. (1987). Strategies of two language learners. In A. Wenden & J. Rubin (Eds.), Learners strategies in language learning (pp. 85-102). Cambridge: Prentice Hall.

Bidabadi, F. S., & Yamat, H. (2011). The relationship between listening strategies used by Iranian EFL freshman university students and their listening proficiency levels. English Language Teaching, 4(1), 26-32.

Carpenter, H. (2009). A behavioral and electrophysiological investigation of different aptitudes for L2 grammar in learners equated for proficiency level. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from Dissertation Abstracts International, A: The Humanities and Social Sciences, 69, 12 4602. (Accession No. 200920807).

Carroll, J. B., & Sapon, S. M. (1983). Modern Language Aptitude Test (MLAT): Manual. New York: The Psychological Corporation Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Carroll, J. B. (1962). The prediction of success in intensive foreign language training. Pittsburgh, PA: Training Research and Education, University of Pittsburgh Press.

Carroll, J. B. (1963). Programmed self?instruction in Mandarin Chinese: Observations of student progress with an automated audio?visual instructional device. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Carroll, J. B. (1966). A parametric study of language training in the Peace Corps. Cambridge, MA: Laboratory for Research in Instruction, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University Press.

Carroll, J. B. (1990). Cognitive abilities in foreign language aptitude: Then and now. In T. S. Parry & C. W. Stansfield (Eds.), Language aptitude reconsidered (pp. 1129). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall Regents.

Chamot, A. U., & OMalley, J. M. (1994). The CALLA handbook: Implementing the cognitive language learning approach. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley.

Chamot, A. U. (1987). Inferencing: Testing the hypothesistesting hypothesis. In A. Wenden & J. Rubin (Eds.), Learner strategy in language learning (pp. 71-83). Cambridge: Prentice Hall.

Chamot, A. U. (2004). Issues in language learning strategy research and teaching. Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, 1(1), 14-26.

Chamot, A. U., & Kupper, L. (1989). Learning strategies in foreign language instruction. Foreign Language Annuals, 22(1), 13-24.

Chang, H-H. (2005). The relationship between extrinsic/intrinsic motivation and language learning strategies among college students of English in Taiwan. Masters thesis, Ming Chuan University, Taiwan.

Cohen, A.D. (1998). Strategies in learning and using a second language. New York: Addison Wesley Longman.

Cohen, A.D. (2010). Focus on the language learner: Styles, strategies and motivation. In N. Schmitt (Ed.), An introduction to applied linguistics (pp. 161178). (2nd ed.). London: Hodder Education.

Cohen, J. W. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillslade, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Cook, V. (2001). Second language learning and language teaching (3rd ed.). New York: Arnold.

Corno, L., Cronback, L. J., Kupermintz, H., Lohman, D. F., Mandinach, E. B., Porteus, A. W., et al. (2002). Remaking the concept of aptitude: Extending the legacy of Richard E. Snow. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Crookes, G., & Schmidt, R. W. (1991). Motivation: Reopening the research agenda. Language Learning, 41, 469512.

Drnyei, Z. (1990). Conceptualizing motivation in foreign language learning. Language Learning, 40, 4678.

Drnyei, Z. (2001). New themes and approaches in second language motivation research. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 21, 4359.

Drnyei, Z. (2005). The psychology of the language learner: Individual differences in second language acquisition. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Ehrman, M. E., & Oxford, R. L. (1990). Adult language learning styles and strategies in an intensive training setting. The Modern Language Journal, 74, 311327.

Ehrman, M. E., Leaver, B. L., & Oxford, R. L. (2003). A brief overview of individual differences in second language learning. System, 31, 313330.

Ellis, R. (1985). Understanding second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ellis, R. (1997). Second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ellis, R. (2008). The study of second language acquisition (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gardner, R. C. (1990). Attitudes, motivation, and personality as predictors of success in foreign language learning. In T. S. Parry & C.W. Stansfield (Eds.), Language aptitude reconsidered (pp. 179221). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall Regents.

Gardner, R. C., & Lambert, W. E. (1959). Motivational variables in second language acquisition. Canadian Journal of Psychology, 13, 266272.

Green, J. M., & Oxford, R. L. (1995). A closer look at learning strategies, L2 proficiency, and gender. TESOL Quarterly, 29(3), 261-297.

Griffiths, C. (2003). Patterns of language learning strategy use. System, 31, 367383.

Griffiths, C. (2010). Strategies of successful language learners. Journal of English Language Studies, 1(3), 1-18.

Grigorenko, E. L., Sternberg, R. J., & Ehrman, M. E. (2000). A theory?based approach to the measurement of foreign?language aptitude: The CANALF theory and test. The Modern Language Journal, 84, 390 405.

Hong?Nam, K., & Leavell, A. G. (2006). Language learning strategy use of ESL students in an intensive English learning context. System, 34, 399415.

Hwu, F., & Sun, S. (2012). The aptitude-treatment interaction effects on the learning of grammar rules. System, 40, 505-521.

Jordan, G. (2004). Theory construction and second language acquisition. Amsterdam, Netherlands: John Benjamins.

Khabiri, M., & Azaminejad, M. (2009). The relationship between EFL learners use of language learning strategies and self-perceived language proficiency. The Journal of Applied linguistics, 2(2), 130-159.

Kinoshita, C. Y. (2003). Integrating language learning strategy instruction into ESL/EFL lessons. The Internet TESL Journal, 9(4). Retrieved on April 25, 2011 from

Lan, R., & Oxford, R. (2003). Language learning strategy profiles of elementary school students in Taiwan. IRAL, 41, 339-379.

Leaver, B. L. (2005). Achieving success in second language acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lightbown, P. & Spada, N. (2006). How languages are learned (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Macaro, E. (2006). Strategies for language learning and for language use: Revising the theoretical framework. The Modern Language Journal, 90, 320337.

MacIntyre, P. D. (1994). Toward a social psychological model of strategy use. Foreign Language Annuals, 27(2), 185-195.

Magogwe, J. M., & Oliver, R. (2007). The relationship between language learning strategies, proficiency, age and self-efficacy beliefs: A study of language learners in Botswana. System, 35, 338352.

McDonough, S. (2005) Training language learning expertise. In K. Johnson (Ed.), Expertise in second language learning and teaching (pp. 150164). London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Nikoopour, J., Amini Farsani, M., & Nasiri, M. (2011). On the relationship between critical thinking and language learning strategies among Iranian EFL learners. Journal of Technology & Education, 5(3), 195-199.

Nikoupour, J., Salimian, Sh., Salimian, Sh., Amini Farsani, M. (2011). Motivation and the Choice of Language Learning Strategies. Journal of Language Teaching Research, 3(6), 1277-1283.

OMalley, J. M., & Chamot, A. U. (1989). Learning strategies in second language acquisition. New York: Cambridge University Press.

OMalley, J. M., & Chamot, A. U. (1990). Learning strategies in second language acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Oliveras-Cuhat, G. (2002). Learning strategies and achievement in the Spanish writing classrooms: A case study. Foreign Language Annals, 35(5), 561-70.

Oxford, R. L. (1989). Use of language learning strategies: A synthesis of studies with implication for strategy training. System, 17(3), 235-247.

Oxford, R. L. (1990a). Language learning strategies: What every teacher should know. New York: Newbury House.

Oxford, R. L. (1990b). Styles, strategies, and aptitude: Connections for language learning. In T. S. Parry& C. W. Stansfield (Eds.), Language aptitude reconsidered (pp. 67125). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Oxford, R. L. (2001). Language learning styles and strategies. In M. CelceMurcia (Ed.), Teaching English as a second or foreign language (3rd ed., pp. 359366). Boston: Heinle & Heinle.

Oxford, R. L. (2003). Language learning styles and strategies: Concepts and relationships. IRAL: International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 41(4), 271-409.

Oxford, R. L. (2008). Hero with a Thousand Faces: Learner Autonomy, Learning Strategies and Learning Tactics in Independent Language Learning.S. Hurd & T. Lewis (Eds.), Language learning strategies in independent settings (pp. 25-41). New York: Multilingual Matters.

Oxford, R. L. (2011). Teaching and researching language learning strategies. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Longman, Pearson ESL.

Oxford, R., & Ehrman, M., (1995). Adults language learning strategies in an intensive foreign language pro-gram in the United States. System, 23, 359- 386.

Parry, T. S., & Child, J. R. (1990). Preliminary investigation of the relationship between VORD, MLAT and language proficiency. In T. S. Parry & C. W. Stansfield (Eds.), Language aptitude reconsidered (pp. 3066). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall Regents.

Pimsleur, P. (1966). Testing foreign language learning. In A. Valdman (Ed.), Trends in language teaching (pp. 175214). New York: McGrawHill.

Rahimi, M. (2005). An Investigation into the factors affecting the use of language learning strategies by Persian EFL learners. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran.

Robinson, P. (2005). Aptitude and second language acquisition. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 25, 4573.

Robinson, P. (2007). Aptitudes, abilities, contexts, and practice. In R. DeKeyser (Ed.), Practice in a second language: Perspectives from applied linguistics and cognitive psychology (pp. 256286). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Skehan, P. (1989). Individual differences in second?language learning. London: Arnold.

Skehan, P. (1998). A cognitive approach to language learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Skehan, P. (2002). Theorising and updating aptitude. In P. Robinson (Ed.), Individual differences and instructed language learning (pp. 6993). Philadelphia/ Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Stansfield, C. W., & Reed, D. J. (2004). The story behind the Modern Language Aptitude Test: An interview with John B. Carroll (19162003). Language Assessment Quarterly, 1, 4356.

Tabrizi, A., Nikoopour, J., Ariyannejad, A., & AminiFarsani, M. (2010). Reading Comprehension Skill in EFL Classrooms: The Impact of Teaching Reading Strategies on the Iranian EFL Learners Reading Comprehension. Paper presented at the 35th ALAA congress, 4-7, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

Tseng, W.T., & Schmitt, N. (2008). Toward a model of motivated vocabulary learning: A structural equation modeling approach. Language Learning, 58, 357400.

Vandergrift, L. (2003). Orchestrating strategy use: Towards a model of the skilled L2 listener. Language Learning, 53, 461496.

Vandergrift, L. (2005). Relationships among motivation, orientations, metacognitive awareness and proficiency in L2 listening. Applied Linguistics, 26, 7089.

Vossoughi, H., & Ebrahimi, A. (2003). A comparative study of language learning strategies employed by bilinguals and monolinguals with reference to attitudes and motivation. IJAL, 6(2), 117-132.

Wenden, A. (1991). Learner strategies for learner autonomy. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Wharton, G. (2000). Language learning strategy use of bilingual foreign language learners in Singapore. Language Learning, 50(2), 203-43.

Winke, P. (2013). An investigation into second language aptitude for advanced Chinese language learning. The Modern Language Journal, 97(1), 109-130.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

 Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Eurasian Journal of Applied Linguistics

ISSN 2149­-1135
Copyright © Eurasian Journal of Applied Linguistics

Ejal Editorial | Create Your Badge

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.