Less proficient vs. more proficient L2 learners’ preferences for compensation strategies: L1-based, L2-based, and non-linguistic

Zia Tajeddin, Minoo Alemi


This study addressed high- and low-proficiency learners' preferences for two compensation strategies: guessing and compensating for missing knowledge. To this end, the TOEFL and a compensation strategy questionnaire were administered to 229 EFL learners. The results showed there was a simple pattern in guessing strategy use in that high- proficiency learners drew more frequently on guessing strategies. However, a curvilinear pattern emerged as to the strategies of overcoming limitations. More proficient learners manifested less preference for these strategies but used them more effectively. By contrast, less proficient learners took recourse to L1-based and avoidance strategies to overcome limitations. 

Key words: compensation strategies, language proficiency, guessing the meaning, compensating for missing knowledge

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