A Survey of Chinese Character Learning Strategy in Learning Chinese as a Foreign Language

Research output: Conference Papers (RGC: 31A, 31B, 32, 33)32_Refereed conference paper (no ISBN/ISSN)peer-review

View graph of relations

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages49-50
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Conference

Title3rd International Symposium of the European Association of Chinese Teaching (EACT)
LocationUniversity of Minho
PlacePortugal
CityBraga
Period29 - 30 October 2021

Abstract

Previous studies on learning Chinese as a foreign language investigated Chinese character learning strategies used by learners. Among these studies, very little attention was paid to examine the relationships between Chinese character learning strategies and the learner-related variables, including age, Chinese language proficiency, native language background, learning experience, and learning motivation. The present quantitative research aims to fill this gap by conducting a survey on Chinese learners to explore whether and how these variables are related to cognitive learning strategies concerning learners’ attention to shape, pronunciation, and meaning of Chinese characters.
In this study, an online questionnaire was completed by 184 Chinese learners who have learned Chinese as a foreign language and have basic knowledge about Chinese characters. They were categorized into different groups based on their age, native language, Chinese proficiency, learning experience, and learning motivation.
The results of the survey indicate that character learning strategies adopted vary with different learner-related variables. Firstly, learners’ age influenced the use of semantic-related strategy, application strategy, and practicing strategy as reflected from a significant difference between teenagers and young adults, and between children and adults. Secondly, with regards to the variable of Chinese language proficiency, elementary learners and advanced learners adopted different orthography-related and application strategies. Compared with elementary learners, advanced learners who learned characters for a longer period of time employed more radical-related methods. Thirdly, learners’ native language background was related to the use of learning strategies. Japanese and Korean speakers whose native language use non-alphabetic writing system adopted semantic-related strategies. Fourthly, the use of strategy was affected by learners’ learning experiences in class and after class. Teachers’ instructions, including teaching focuses, in-class and take-home practice, encouraged learners to apply cognitive strategies for memorizing a character’s shape, pronunciation, and meaning. Last but not least, learners’ motivation associated with learning purposes played a vital role in learning Chinese characters. Learners with instrumental or integrative motivation adopted more diverse strategies compared with learners with low learning motivation.
The results of this study shed light on the teaching of Chinese characters to foreign learners. We suggest that different learning activities should be designed to arouse learners’ learning motivation. Teachers should adjust their in-class instructions and after-class learning activities to encourage learners to use different cognitive learning strategies based on learners’ age, native language, and proficiency level.

Research Area(s)

  • Chinese characters, learning strategy, learning motivation

Bibliographic Note

Research Unit(s) information for this publication is provided by the author(s) concerned.

Citation Format(s)

A Survey of Chinese Character Learning Strategy in Learning Chinese as a Foreign Language. / Yu, Mingyang; Chan, Cecilia Yuet Hung.

2021. 49-50 Paper presented at 3rd International Symposium of the European Association of Chinese Teaching (EACT), Braga, Portugal.

Research output: Conference Papers (RGC: 31A, 31B, 32, 33)32_Refereed conference paper (no ISBN/ISSN)peer-review