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A Study of the L2 Kanji Learning Process: Analysis of Reading and Writing Errors of Swedish Learners in Comparison with Level-matched Japanese Schoolchildren

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Fusae Ivarsson
Publicerad i 10th Conference of the Nordic Association of Japanese and Korean Studies, August 17-19 2016, Stockholm, Sweden
Förlagsort Stockholm
Publiceringsår 2016
Publicerad vid Institutionen för språk och litteraturer
Språk en
Ämnesord Kanji, error analysis, level matching, L2 Japanese learners, L2-L1 comparison.
Ämneskategorier Östasiatiska språk

Sammanfattning

The present study investigated the characteristics of the kanji learning process of second language (L2) learners of Japanese with an alphabetic background in comparison with level-matched first language (L1) learners. Large-scale experiments were conducted under strictly controlled conditions with a substantial number of participants. Comparisons were made between novice and advanced levels of Swedish learners and the respective level-matched L1 learners (Japanese second and fifth graders). The experiments consisted of kanji reading and writing tests with parallel tasks in a practical setting, and identical sets of target characters for the level-matched groups. Error classification was based on the cognitive aspects of kanji. Reading errors were classified into phonological, circumstantial, orthographic and semantic types, and writing errors into the same four types and an additional pseudokanji type. The error type occurrence patterns were analysed according to skill (reading/writing), level (novice/advanced) and the learner groups’ L1 (Swedish/Japanese), with a focus on the kanji processing unit, preferred methods of character/pronunciation retrieval from the mental kanji lexicon and reading and writing difficulties. Some of the findings that are unique to this study are: (i) L1 phonological transfer for Swedish novice learners and its decrease at the advanced level; (ii) L2 learners’ less developed configurational awareness and lesser degree of inter-level development than L1 learners; and (iii) a shift in inter-level characteristics for L2 learners, while these remained consistent for L1 learners. It also confirmed, inter alia, greater inter-writing system differences in reading but greater inter-level differences in writing.

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