Semantic vs. Phonetic Decoding Strategies in Non-Native Readers of Chinese

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/195163
Title:
Semantic vs. Phonetic Decoding Strategies in Non-Native Readers of Chinese
Author:
Williams, Clay Hunter
Issue Date:
2010
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
This dissertation examines the effects of semantic and phonetic radicals on Chinese character decoding by high-intermediate level Chinese as a Foreign Language (CFL) learners. The results of the main study (discussed in Chapter #5) suggest that the CFL learners tested have a well-developed semantic pathway to recognition; however, their phonological pathway is not yet a reliable means of character identification. Semantic radicals that correctly pertain to character meaning facilitated reaction time in semantic categorization tasks (Experiment #1), while radicals that had no immediately interpretable relation to character meaning had a strong inhibitory effect. The relativeaccuracy of phonetic radicals (for predicting the whole-character's pronunciation) did not measurably improve homonym recognition (Experiment #2). Subjects were then tested to determine their default processing modes in Chinese character reading. In a lexical decision task (Experiment #3) wherein semantic radicals or phonological components were blurred to delay recognition, surprisingly, the subjects were significantly slower in identifying pseudo-characters when the phonological component was blurred, indicating that, despite having unreliable phonological pathways to character recognition, the subjects were still utilizing that strategy first. These results were mirrored in a sentence reading task (Experiment #4) wherein a single character had either a blurred semantic radical or phonological component. This tendency to use the less developed pathway is explained as a default means of attempting character recognition as a result of subjects gleaning orthographic information from the densely packed phonological component and as a result of L1 (English) interference predisposing subjects to phonological decoding strategies.Such a study on CFL learner reading processes is an important step towards ameliorating CFL teaching methodologies. For this reason, the author contrasts the data on CFL learners with data taken from similar experiments with native Chinese speakers (in Chapter #6) in order to demonstrate concrete differences in character reading processes which should affect teaching practices between the two groups. The authorconcludes the dissertation by making targeted recommendations for CFL pedagogical practices based upon the results of the study on the effect of character-internal features on reading patterns by non-native readers of Chinese (Chapter #8).
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Chinese; Chinese as a Foreign Language learners; Dual-Route; Phonetic; Semantic
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Second Language Acquisition & Teaching; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Bever, Thomas G.
Committee Chair:
Bever, Thomas G.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoENen_US
dc.titleSemantic vs. Phonetic Decoding Strategies in Non-Native Readers of Chineseen_US
dc.creatorWilliams, Clay Hunteren_US
dc.contributor.authorWilliams, Clay Hunteren_US
dc.date.issued2010en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation examines the effects of semantic and phonetic radicals on Chinese character decoding by high-intermediate level Chinese as a Foreign Language (CFL) learners. The results of the main study (discussed in Chapter #5) suggest that the CFL learners tested have a well-developed semantic pathway to recognition; however, their phonological pathway is not yet a reliable means of character identification. Semantic radicals that correctly pertain to character meaning facilitated reaction time in semantic categorization tasks (Experiment #1), while radicals that had no immediately interpretable relation to character meaning had a strong inhibitory effect. The relativeaccuracy of phonetic radicals (for predicting the whole-character's pronunciation) did not measurably improve homonym recognition (Experiment #2). Subjects were then tested to determine their default processing modes in Chinese character reading. In a lexical decision task (Experiment #3) wherein semantic radicals or phonological components were blurred to delay recognition, surprisingly, the subjects were significantly slower in identifying pseudo-characters when the phonological component was blurred, indicating that, despite having unreliable phonological pathways to character recognition, the subjects were still utilizing that strategy first. These results were mirrored in a sentence reading task (Experiment #4) wherein a single character had either a blurred semantic radical or phonological component. This tendency to use the less developed pathway is explained as a default means of attempting character recognition as a result of subjects gleaning orthographic information from the densely packed phonological component and as a result of L1 (English) interference predisposing subjects to phonological decoding strategies.Such a study on CFL learner reading processes is an important step towards ameliorating CFL teaching methodologies. For this reason, the author contrasts the data on CFL learners with data taken from similar experiments with native Chinese speakers (in Chapter #6) in order to demonstrate concrete differences in character reading processes which should affect teaching practices between the two groups. The authorconcludes the dissertation by making targeted recommendations for CFL pedagogical practices based upon the results of the study on the effect of character-internal features on reading patterns by non-native readers of Chinese (Chapter #8).en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectChineseen_US
dc.subjectChinese as a Foreign Language learnersen_US
dc.subjectDual-Routeen_US
dc.subjectPhoneticen_US
dc.subjectSemanticen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineSecond Language Acquisition & Teachingen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorBever, Thomas G.en_US
dc.contributor.chairBever, Thomas G.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberNicol, Janeten_US
dc.contributor.committeememberLiu, Junen_US
dc.identifier.proquest10830en_US
dc.identifier.oclc659753710en_US
All Items in UA Campus Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.