Learning efficiencies for different orthographies: A comparative study of Han characters and Vietnamese romanization

2003 2003

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Abstract (summary)

In order to address the question of whether or not to abandon Han characters (Hanji), it is important to evaluate empirically the efficiency of Han writing. The purpose of this study is to compare the efficiency of learning to read and write in Hanji versus learning to read and write in phonemic writing systems, such as Vietnamese Chu Quoc Ngu (CQN) or Mandarin Bopomo.

Three experiments were conducted in this study. The first experiment focused on a study of reading comprehension; the second one focused on a study of accuracy of writing dictation; and the last was a study of oral reading. A total of 453 subjects from Taiwan and 350 subjects from Vietnam were involved in the experiments. Subjects consisted of elementary school and college students.

The reading comprehension tests were divided into groups Hanji, Bopomo, and CQN, in which subjects were examined with reading texts in Hanji, Bopomo, and CQN, respectively. The results of the reading comprehension tests reveal no statistically significant difference between Hanji and CQN groups. However, students from the second to fifth grades in the Bopomo group had significantly lower scores than students in the other groups.

In dictation tests, subjects were divided into groups Taiwanese and Vietnamese. Tests in each group were given in soft and hard articles. The statistical results of tests on soft article reveal that students in both Taiwanese and Vietnamese groups significantly increased their score each year until the fourth grade, by which time they had the same statistical score as college students. As for tests on hard article, Taiwanese students spent more years in the acquisition of Hanji, and even the sixth graders' scores do not statistically reach the same level as college students. However, Vietnamese students had reached a college level at the fifth grade. Errors in the dictation tests were also analyzed, and twelve error types were found in the Taiwanese group. The major errors were made due to similarity in sound between correct and incorrect Han characters. The phonetic similarity errors account for 85.70% in the dictation test two.

In addition to dictation tests, CQN also showed superiority in oral reading tests. The results indicate that CQN beginners are able to produce about 90% accuracy in oral reading after three or four months of learning, and reach nearly 100% accuracy a year later.

In short, these results lead to the conclusion that Vietnamese CQN is more efficient than Chinese characters in learning to read and write.

Indexing (details)

Bilingual education;
Multicultural education;
Asian literature
0290: Linguistics
0282: Bilingual education
0282: Multicultural education
0305: Asian literature
Identifier / keyword
Education; Language, literature and linguistics; Han characters; Learning efficiencies; Orthographies; Romanization; Vietnamese
Learning efficiencies for different orthographies: A comparative study of Han characters and Vietnamese romanization
Chiung, Wi-vun Taiffalo
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 64/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Edmondson, Jerold A.
The University of Texas at Arlington
University location
United States -- Texas
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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