Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics, Yeditepe University, Istanbul, Turkey
Language learning strategies have been controversial ever since Rubin’s (1975) landmark article more that 30 years ago. To this day, there is no consensus regarding exactly what a strategy is, which has impeded research initiatives and at times threatened the validity of research findings. The relationship between strategies and successful language learning has also been questioned. Based on the literature of the last three decades, this paper attempts to establish a definition of strategies as activities consciously chosen by learners for the purpose of regulating their own language learning. Using the Strategy Inventory for Language Learning or SILL (Oxford, 1990) complemented by interviews, the paper looks at the strategies used by two successful learners, Nina and Kira, and considers the effect of other learner variables (motivation, nationality, age, gender, personality) on successful language learning. The paper concludes that although they were different in many ways, Nina and Kira were both frequent strategy users. Pedagogical implications of the findings are suggested.