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   2011, Vol. 43 Issue (05) : 519-533     DOI:
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Influence of Chinese Character Learning Combined with Dongba Pictograph on Children’s Chinese Orthographic Acquisition
WANG Juan;ZHANG Ji-Jia;XIE Shu-Shu;YUAN Ai-Ling
(1 Center for Psychological Application, Department of Psychology, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China)
(2 Teachers College, Jimei University, Xiamen 361021, China)
(3 Educational Science College, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China)
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Abstract  A lot of achievements have been made in the field of young children’s Chinese character learning. Most research focused on the perspective of cognition and empirical approaches, while little research has highlighted the perspective of application. Research has indicated that recognition of the orthographies of Chinese characters is the key to learn Chinese. But the abstract Chinese’s orthographic knowledge can’t be directly taught because of children’s undeveloped cognitive ability. Chinese learning combined with pictures is one of the most popular methods to be used. However, it is not quite clear how strong the auxiliary function is. Dongba pictograph has similar characteristics of Chinese characters and pictures to some extent. It is suggested that Dongba pictograph may contribute to children’s Chinese character orthographic learning. The present study was designed to explore the simulative functions of Dongba pictograph and picture on Chinese character orthographic learning under the conditions of explicit and implicit memory. At the same time, the respective effects of Chinese characters learning and Dongba pictograph learning were also to be investigated.
A total of 160 children (80 males and 80 females respectively) were tested in this study, 80 children took part in Experiment 1 and another 80 children took part in Experiment 2. Three-factor mixed design was used: 4 (learning style: Chinese learning only, Dongba pictograph learning only, Chinese learning combined with Dongba pictograph, Chinese learning combined with pictures ) × 2 (test style: instant test, delay test) × 2 (word class: verbs, nouns). The materials included 40 Chinese characters (20 verbs which included 10 ideograph words and 10 phonograms, 20 nouns which included 10 ideograph words and 10 phonograms), 40 Dongba pictographs and 40 pictures, while three stimuli shared the same meaning. In Experiment 1, participants were firstly asked to learn by listening individually, and then they were asked to complete the explicit tests by recognition task. Participants were requested to complete and implicit tests by preference judgment task in Experiment 2. All the tests carried out three days later were regarded as delay tests.
The results of both experiments indicated that Chinese learning combined with Dongba pictograph caused better results than Chinese learning combined with pictures and Chinese learning only. The performance of nouns was better than that of verbs. Performance of instant tests was better than that of delay tests. The group of Chinese learning combined with pictures had no significant difference with the group of Chinese learning only. Results also showed an asymmetric effect of explicit and implicit memory on Dongba pictograph learning. The performance of Dongba under the condition of explicit memory was significantly better than any other learning styles, whereas its performance under the condition of implicit memory was worse than any other learning styles. These results may result from both Dongba’s ideographic nature and the similarity between Dongba pictograph and Chinese character which supported perceptual distinctiveness hypothesis.
The conclusions are derived from this study: (1) as a kind of auxiliary learning tool, Dongba pictograph can promote young children’s Chinese character orthographic learning. (2) The effects of Dongba on Chinese character orthographic learning may result from Dongba’s ideographic nature, the similarity between Dongba pictograph and Chinese character, as well as children’s cognitive characteristics.
Keywords Dongba picotograph      pictures      Chinese character learning      explicit memory      implicit memory     
Corresponding Authors: ZHANG Ji-Jia   
Issue Date: 30 May 2011
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WANG Juan
ZHANG Ji-Jia
XIE Shu-Shu
YUAN Ai-Ling
Cite this article:   
WANG Juan,ZHANG Ji-Jia,XIE Shu-Shu, et al. Influence of Chinese Character Learning Combined with Dongba Pictograph on Children’s Chinese Orthographic Acquisition[J]. , 2011, 43(05): 519-533.
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http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/      OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/Y2011/V43/I05/519
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