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Title:Beliefs about language learning and their relationship to the ability to integrate information from multiple sources in interpreting novel kanji compounds
Author(s):Mori, Yoshiko
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Nagy, William E.; Anderson, Richard C.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Language and Literature
Education, Educational Psychology
Education, Reading
Abstract:Research on vocabulary acquisition suggests that integrating information from multiple sources may lead students to greater gains in learning new words than learning from one source by itself (Nagy & Anderson, 1984). However, such evidence has not been obtained from either English-speaking students (Nagy, Anderson, & Herman, 1987; Wysocki & Jenkins, 1987) or learners of English (Fisher, 1994). Epistemological belief studies have demonstrated that students' beliefs about the nature of knowledge acquisition influence their learning and comprehension in a significant way (Schommer, 1989a, 1990). The purpose of this study was to link individuals' beliefs about language learning to their ability to integrate information from semantic decomposition and sentence contexts in interpreting novel kanji compounds (i.e., words consisting of two or more Chinese characters).
In Study One, 59 English-speaking college students learning Japanese as a foreign language (JFL) were asked to infer the meanings of novel compounds consisting of familiar kanji characters under three conditions: (a) the condition in which they received kanji compounds within contexts; (b) the condition in which they received compounds in isolation; and (c) the condition under which they received sentences with target compounds blanked out. Overall, English-speaking JFL learners performed significantly better when they had the two information sources than when they had only one. Nevertheless, students still showed considerable individual differences in their choice of information to which they paid attention. In addition, the results indicate that decomposing morphologically complex words requires a different ability from the ability to guess word meanings from context.
Study Two explored the structures of foreign language learners' beliefs about learning in general and language learning in particular by asking 97 JFL learners to complete a belief questionnaire. Factor analysis identified four dimensions for epistemological beliefs and six for language learning. This was interpreted as showing that, like individuals' epistemological beliefs, learners' beliefs about language learning should be characterized as a complex, multi-dimensional system. Study Three examined the relationship of these belief dimensions to the degree of success with which students integrated information. A strong belief in quick learning in general was associated with less use of contextual information. Furthermore, JFL learners' perceptions of kanji words were correlated with their overreliance on one source of information. The findings of this research have shown that certain aspects of language learners' beliefs have specific effects on their choice of strategies for learning new words.
Issue Date:1996
Rights Information:Copyright 1996 Mori, Yoshiko
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9712383
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9712383

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