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Abstract or Description

The present project aims to design a computer-based tutor that promotes the robust learning of Chinese characters for Chinese as a foreign language (CFL) learners. While much previous research has focused on the teaching of Chinese characters based on semantic radicals and phonetic components, these instructional methods can only be applied to a limited subset of characters. In this project, we aim to determine which general methods are effective in teaching all Chinese characters. Two experiments were designed to compare different methods for teaching Chinese characters. In the first experiment, I compared the effectiveness of rote memorization tasks vs. handwriting/pinyin-typing tasks for learning Chinese characters. In the second experiment, I compared the effectiveness of learning Chinese characters without context vs. within the context of a meaningful sentence. The results suggest that rote memorization exercises are more effective than handwriting/pinyin-typing exercises, and introducing characters without context is more effective than introducing characters within the context of a sentence.


Advisor: Brian MacWhinney

Department of Psychology

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