Language learning strategies and beliefs about language learning: a study of university students of Persian in the United States
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This study identifies and compares the language learning strategies and beliefs about language learning of 166 university students learning Persian (Farsi), a strategic less commonly taught language. The data were collected from three settings in the United States; the University of California at Berkeley (UCB), the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), and the University of Texas at Austin (UT), using three questionnaires: the Individual Background Questionnaire (IBQ), the Beliefs about Language Learning Inventory (BALLI), and the Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL). In descriptive analyses of the BALLI, results showed that participants reported holding strong beliefs in the categories of "motivation and expectation" and "foreign language aptitude". A good number of the participants also reported strong beliefs about the importance of learning Persian and strong motivations for learning Persian, particularly to get to know native speakers of Persian better. Descriptive analyses of the SILL showed that participants reported using compensation and social strategies most, followed by cognitive, metacognitive, memory, and affective strategies. On the other hand, students reported less frequent use of memory and affective strategies. This higher use of language learning strategies, as well as stronger beliefs about language learning held by students of Persian, likely corresponds to the number of heritage learners and is an indication of a potential existing association. In short, the results of this study provide empirical description of the language learning beliefs and strategies in learners of Persian, a previously unstudied group of language learners. The study concludes with a list of practical implications for Persian instruction.