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Title:The effects of L1 orthography on L2 word recognition: A study of American and Chinese learners of Japanese
Author(s):Chikamatsu, Nobuko
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Mack, Molly
Department / Program:Linguistics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Language and Literature
Language, Linguistics
Education, Educational Psychology
Abstract:Lexical judgment tests using Japanese kana (a syllabic script: hiragana and katakana) were performed on 45 English and 17 Chinese speaking learners of Japanese. Visual familiarity and word length in words were controlled to examine phonological/visual dependence in word recognition. Visual familiarity was tested using three types of word stimuli: visually familiar, visually unfamiliar and nonword. Visually familiar words were kana words written in a conventional script (katakana words which are conventionally written in katakana and hiragana words which are conventionally written in hiragana). Visually unfamiliar words were written in an unconventional script (katakana words which are conventionally written in hiragana and hiragana words which are conventionally written in katakana). Nonwords were pronounceable, but not actual Japanese words. The stimuli word length varied from 2 to 5 kana letters. English and Chinese subject responses were compared in terms of reaction time and error rate. According to the hypothesis, it was predicted that (1) subject dependence on visual information in words would cause increased response times for unfamiliar word stimuli, and (2) subject dependence on the phonological information in words would cause increased reaction times as word length increased.
The results demonstrate several differences between the subject groups tested. First, Chinese subject reaction times increased more than those of English subjects in unfamiliar word conditions versus familiar word conditions. Second, no greater increase in the reaction times of Chinese subjects was observed between unfamiliar word and nonword conditions. Third, differences between the subject groups were more apparent under hiragana conditions than katakana conditions. Fourth, the effects of word length variations on reaction times were stronger among English subjects than among Chinese subjects. These results indicate that (1) Chinese L1 speakers rely more on the visual information in L2 Japanese kana words than do English L1 speakers, and (2) English L1 speakers utilize the phonologic information in words more than Chinese L1 speakers. Accordingly, these findings demonstrate that English and Chinese speaking subjects utilize different word recognition strategies due to the L1 orthographic characteristics and the L1 word recognition strategies are transferred into L2 Japanese kana word recognition.
Issue Date:1995
Rights Information:Copyright 1995 Chikamatsu, Nobuko
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9543556
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9543556

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