LINGUIST List 14.1131

Thu Apr 17 2003

Diss: Writing Systems: Chiung "Learning..."

Editor for this issue: Anita Yahui Huang <>


  1. taiwanesefirst, Writing Systems: Chiung "Learning Efficiencies for Different..."

Message 1: Writing Systems: Chiung "Learning Efficiencies for Different..."

Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2003 18:46:17 +0000
From: taiwanesefirst <>
Subject: Writing Systems: Chiung "Learning Efficiencies for Different..."

Institution: University of Texas at Arlington
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2003

Author: Wi-vun Taiffalo Chiung 

Dissertation Title: 

Learning Efficiencies for Different Orthographies: A Comparative Study
of Han Characters and Vietnamese Romanization

Linguistic Field: Writing Systems 

Subject Language:
Vietnamese (code: VIE )
Chinese, Mandarin (code: CHN )

Dissertation Director 1: Jerold A Edmondson

Dissertation Abstract: 

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.
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