A SAGE Journal


An examination of Chinese character writing errors: Developmental differences among Chinese as a foreign language learners

Siqi Deng, Wenhua Hu

发布时间:2022-08-24    点击次数:


With interlanguage corpora, this study investigates the handwriting errors by Chinese as a foreign language (CFL) learners from eight countries and three language families (Indo-European languages, Slavic languages, Romance languages), including wrongly written characters and misused characters. The results indicate that the most common mistake among elementary, intermediate and advanced learners is wrongly written characters mainly caused by misuse of components, especially confusion between components and miswriting of components. Besides, stroke errors also matter. The reduction and improper location of strokes, in particular, trouble learners a great deal. As to the misused characters, how to differentiate similar characters is where the difficulties lie. On the whole, from the elementary stage to the intermediate stage, both types of errors decrease significantly, while after the intermediate stage, the decrease of wrongly written characters is more significant than that of the misused characters. Moreover, for advanced learners, the frequencies of these errors are basically the same. The study findings demonstrate that it is crucial for CFL learners to rapidly develop their awareness of orthography between the elementary and intermediate stages. This will last roughly 9 months. Advanced learners are usually well aware of orthography, but their awareness development of the form, pronunciation and meaning is not synchronized. They still make mistakes with details when writing. This research is instructive in the teaching of Chinese character handwriting. It points out the problems and countermeasures of online Chinese character handwriting courses during the pandemic and thus contributes advice to online Chinese character teaching during the long-term future.

【关键词】Chinese character acquisition, Chinese writing system, errors, learner differences, second-language learners

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