Chinese vocabulary learning strategies by English-speaking learners: A think-aloud study

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Learning Chinese vocabulary is challenging for learners whose first language is alphabet-based. Researchers have embarked on investigating Chinese vocabulary learning strategies from both a psycholinguistic and a pedagogical perspective. Learning strategies are defined as observable behaviors and mental actions that are consciously employed by learners for comprehending, processing, and storing language knowledge. This paper reports a study in which the think-aloud research method is employed for exploring Chinese vocabulary learning strategies of English-speaking learners. The participants were eight learners of Chinese from a university in the UK. The results reveal that learners employ orthographic strategies, semantic strategies, memory strategies, phonological strategies, and metacognitive strategies. Furthermore, this study found that overt physical behaviors and mental actions cannot be separated. Various mental actions were underneath similar physical behaviors, which may lead to variations in learning outcomes. Second, there are metacognitive strategies, with which the participants could use in deciding, monitoring, and evaluating the use of specific cognitive strategies. This study suggests that Chinese vocabulary learning strategies need to be described in a holistic manner wherein physical and mental actions involved in cognitive strategies and metacognitive strategies are all taken into consideration so as to inform strategy instruction.

對於母語是拼音文字的學習者來說,中文詞彙的學習是非常具有挑戰的。不少學者從心理語言學和教學的角度探索了中文詞彙學習策略。學習策略被定義為是學習者有意識地採用的肢體行為和心理行為,這些行為能幫助學習者理解、加工、儲存語言知識。本研究採用了有聲思維的研究方法探索了英語為母語的學習者學習中文詞彙的策略。被試為8名英國某大學漢語專業的學生。結果顯示這些學習者採用了字形策略、語義策略、記憶策略、語音策略和元認知策略。同時,本次研究還發現可觀察到的肢體行為與心理行為不可分割。同樣的肢體行為下有著不同的心理行為,這可能導致不同的學習結果。另外,元認知策略被用於決定、監控以及評估認知策略的使用,兩者不可分割。為了更好地為策略培訓提供參考,本次研究建議詞彙學習策略應該全面地展示認知策略與元認知策略使用過程中的肢體行為和心理行為。 Copyright © 2020 Global Chinese. All right reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-262
JournalGlobal Chinese
Issue number2
Early online dateNov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


Yan, J. (2020). Chinese vocabulary learning strategies by English-speaking learners: A think-aloud study. Global Chinese, 6(2), 237-262. doi: 10.1515/glochi-2020-0013


  • Chinese as a second language
  • Vocabulary
  • Learning strategies
  • Think-aloud
  • 漢語
  • 詞彙
  • 學習策略
  • 外語學習
  • 有聲思維
  • Alt. title: 英語為母語者的漢語詞彙學習策略:一項基於有聲思維的研究


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