Learning to read Chinese as a second language: building lexical representations in the initial stages of character learning

Sun, Weize Kristian (2019). Learning to read Chinese as a second language: building lexical representations in the initial stages of character learning. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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How do learners of Chinese as a second language acquire characters? When and how do initial L2 Chinese learners build the phonological, semantic and orthographic representations of the graphics? My research investigated the very earliest stages of learning Chinese and the effect of grouping, focusing on how we initially build these representations especially for a writing system which differs from our original one. My research demonstrated, for the first time, that in a time span of only seven days, a considerable number of behavioural changes could be observed to confirm that the learning of Chinese characters takes places. Moreover, representations of the learnt Chinese characters were maintained in long-term memory over the course of several days without further inputs. In this thesis, I provided clear evidence for that learning Chinese characters in semantic group without semantic radical and in phonological group by homophones contributes to better learning results compared to ungrouped learning. Meantime, grouping in semantic category with shared radicals or in rhyming sets inhibits the specification of representations. Reasons for such effects could be attributed to the coactivation of relevant lexical representations as well as to the degree of specification of newly formed lexical representations. A timeline of the initial L2 Chinese learning was also reconstructed based on empirical evidence. The consolidation effect of sleep was also addressed and discussed in this thesis.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
L Education > L Education (General)
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/8969


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