Chinese character reading among adult Chinese Heritage Language (CHL) learners and Non-CHL learners in Vietnam

Yaxiao CHENG

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Theses

Abstract

Reading Chinese characters is essential to Chinese language learning, particularly in Chinese literacy development. Abundant studies have focused on the Chinese character acquisition by Chinese children and CSL/CFL (Chinese as a second/foreign language) learners, but a few on CHL (Chinese as a heritage language) learners to date. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether there are developmental differences in reading Chinese characters among adult CHL and non-CHL learners at the elementary, intermediate, and advanced Chinese levels in Vietnam, and if so, whether their Chinese character reading achievement could be affected by L2 Chinese learning motivation and the frequency of attending extracurricular Chinese activities, and whether there are influences of the CHL and non-CHL learners’ perspectives of the class instruction and textbooks on their Chinese character reading achievement. This study adopted quantitative and qualitative methods with a cross-sectional design to probe into the research questions by conducting an online Chinese character reading test and Chinese learning questionnaire with each participant. A total of 181 (89 CHL and 92 non-CHL learners) valid answer sheets were received.

The results suggest that there were commonalities and differences in the development of Chinese character reading achievement among adult CHL and non-CHL learners. Generally, the elementary CHL and non-CHL learners had the same performance in reading Chinese characters, but the CHL group obtained higher Chinese character reading scores than the non-CHL group at the intermediate and advanced Chinese proficiency levels. Moreover, the average L2 Chinese motivation and the frequency of extracurricular Chinese activity engagement of the CHL learners were significantly higher than the average motivation and frequency of the non-CHL learners. Furthermore, for both CHL and non-CHL groups, the learners with higher L2 Chinese learning motivation and engagement frequency of extracurricular Chinese activities tended to have better Chinese character reading achievement, and the students with higher motivation to learn Chinese generally had a higher frequency of attending extracurricular Chinese activities. The results suggest a positive predictive effect of L2 motivation on the Chinese character reading achievement, with the extracurricular Chinese engagement frequency as a significant mediator. On the other hand, the relationships among the L2 Chinese character reading achievement, L2 motivation, and the frequency of extracurricular Chinese activity engagement in the non-CHL group were relatively stronger than that among the CHL group. Additionally, the students’ views on Chinese character instruction may also influence their character learning achievement. The CHL learners seemed to be more interested in learning Chinese characters’ history, culture, and knowledge. The students who embraced more positive attitudes toward learning Chinese characters tended to have more confidence in reading Chinese characters and gain better achievement. Also, both CHL and non-CHL learners held some negative views of Chinese character instruction in their current textbooks. Pedagogical implications of teaching Chinese characters to the CHL and non-CHL learners are discussed. Overall, this study is committed to providing some innovative insights into learning to read Chinese characters among adult CHL and non-CHL learners in Vietnam, both in the academia and practical realm. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • The Education University of Hong Kong
Supervisors/Advisors
  • CHEUNG, Lin Hong 張連航, Supervisor
  • LIANG, Yuan 梁源, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • CHL and non-CHL learners in Vietnam
  • Chinese character reading
  • L2 Chinese motivation
  • Extracurricular Chinese activities
  • Views on Chinese character instruction
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Thesis (Ph.D.)--The Education University of Hong Kong, 2022.

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