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Kanji Learning Strategies and Learning Preferences of Japanese Language Learners

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Title: Kanji Learning Strategies and Learning Preferences of Japanese Language Learners
Authors: Ganir, Paul
Advisor: Kondo-Brown, Kimi
Issue Date: 15 Jan 2014
Publisher: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract: Students studying a second language often encounter many challenges. In the Japanese language, one substantial learning obstacle lies in its complex writing system, particularly with kanji, or Chinese characters. Many kanji possess similar features, such as shape and sound, causing common recognition mistakes and memory errors. To reduce confusion and improve kanji learning, students frequently use techniques provided by instructors or generated on their own. Because each student has unique preferences, each employs a different set of strategies and with different frequencies. This study investigates how Japanese language learners use these kanji learning strategies. First, it explores the variety of strategies and how frequent students use them. Second, it compares how these preferences vary between students enrolled in "lower-level" vs. "upper-level" courses. Third, it considers the cognitive preferences of students to relate which strategies are likely to suit them. Data was collected from 246 students enrolled at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa taking Japanese language courses in 2005 through surveys. Findings suggest writing repeatedly is the most preferred learning tactic, with other tactics such as reading and writing and visualizing and writing also being used commonly. Lower-level and upper-level students show similar tactic preferences with minor differences. Furthermore, students predominantly favor kinesthetic, and to a lesser extent visual, approaches. These results imply that kanji tactics which reinforce kanji information through multiple cognitive paths, especially visually and kinesthetically, are preferred. However, because students interpret information uniquely, it is important not to neglect other strategies.
Pages/Duration: 47 pages
Rights: All UHM Honors Projects are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections:Honors Projects for East Asian Languages and Literature

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