First Advisor

Thomas G. Dieterich

Term of Graduation

Winter 2000

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Applied Linguistics




Chinese language -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- English speakers, Chinese language -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Japanese speakers, Chinese language -- Phonetics, Psycholinguistics



Physical Description

1 online resource (87 pages)


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between beginning Chinese language students' character memorization and the strategies they used for the recognition of Chinese characters. In the experiment, a new character teaching approach, the phonetic-ideograph strategy, was introduced to all the subjects during two quarter terms. Subjects participated in the study were divided into two groups depended upon their language backgrounds: the phonographic group and the morphographic group. All the subjects in the phonographic group were English speakers and subjects in the morphographic group were Japanese speakers. All the subjects received the same treatment in the study.

Two main questions were addressed in this study: 1) whether the phonetic-ideograph strategy was a better strategy to facilitate character recognition and retention. 2) whether there was a difference between character processing strategies used by phonographic students and morphographic students. The results in this study demonstrated that a significant positive correlation was detected between student's performance on pronunciations and on meanings of characters in retention tasks. In other words, phonetic-ideograph strategies seem to be effective for most of the subjects in recognizing and memorizing characters.

There was also a difference illustrated between the performance of phonographic students and of morphographic students. The phonographic group seemed to rely more heavily on characters with phonetic radicals than characters without. The morphographic group seemed to show more tolerance for processing characters without phonetic radicals than the phonographic group. Perhaps, the results indicated that there might have been a transfer of orthographic processing strategies underway from students' first languages to their second languages.


In Copyright. URI:

This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).


If you are the rightful copyright holder of this dissertation or thesis and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit a request to and include clear identification of the work, preferably with URL.

Persistent Identifier