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How English Speakers Learn Chinese Characters



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How English Speakers Learn Chinese Characters by Michelle Yao
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This dissertation, "How English Speakers Learn Chinese Characters" by Michelle, Yao, 姚君霓, was obtained from The University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong) and is being sold pursuant to Creative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License. The content of this dissertation has not been altered in any way. We have altered the formatting in order to facilitate the ease of printing and reading of the dissertation. All rights not granted by the above license are retained by the author. Abstract: Abstract of dissertation entitled: How English Speakers Learn Chinese Characters Phonological Awareness and Visual Orthographic Skills for Alphabet Language Adults in the learning of Spoken Chinese Language and Written Chinese Characters Although there are many research studies for phonological awareness and visual orthographic skills, most subjects are children, Middle school students or University students in similar age groups. Almost no subjects are adult in different age groups who have different histories of learning Chinese reading and spoken Chinese. Therefore, it is hoped that the present study could fill a gap in the field. There are several purposes of the study: (1) to find out adult students' sensitivity to Chinese phonetic attributes (especially tone awareness) in the learning of Chinese; (2) to find out how radical frequency plays an important role in the learning of Chinese characters; (3) to discover the relationship between the length of time in learning spoken and/or written Chinese AND sensitivities towards Chinese tone awareness in spoken Chinese and the reading of Chinese characters. Experiments involving 5 adult alphabetic language students were 2conducted to investigate the various issues of interest. The results suggest that the common-sense theory that "the longer the students learn Chinese and the more characters they know, the more accurate they can handle the tone," is inconsistent with the findings from my experiments. In other words, there is no absolute connection between the years of learning and tone awareness. For instance, a student with only 1.5 years of learning experience much outperformed other students with much longer periods of learning experience. The study also discovers that the more frequent the radical shows up and more information of semantic radicals giving, the more likely that the students could figure out the meaning and the pronunciation of the corresponding characters; and this is so even if the information is merely provided by a sub-radical. The high frequency radicals help students to remember the whole characters better than the low frequency radicals do. The study also indicates that their listening ability is better than their speaking ability. And, different from tone awareness, the study has also shown that the longer the students' experience in learning Chinese characters, the better their visual orthographic skills. Finally, after comparing the experiments in the study, the result shows the degrees of difficulties for alphabetic students to learn Chinese: the homophonic graphic form is easier for them to recognize and pronounce, while the same Pinyin with different tone is harder. 3 DOI: 10.5353/th_b3160179 Subjects: Chinese characters - Study and teaching - English speakersChinese language - EtymologyChinese language - Tone
Release date NZ
January 26th, 2017
Created by
Country of Publication
United States
colour illustrations
Open Dissertation Press
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