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Component Skills of Reading Among Learners of Chinese as a Second Language.

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Title:Component Skills of Reading Among Learners of Chinese as a Second Language.
Authors:Zhou, Jing
Contributors:Second Language Studies (department)
Keywords:Component skills
Learners of Chinese as a Second Language
Date Issued:May 2018
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:The component-skill approach to reading comprehension (Carr & Levy, 1990) intended
to understand reading as a complex but decomposable component-skill system where various
component skills contribute to reading comprehension while interacting with each other. Even
though significant progress has been made in understanding how various component skills
collaborate to contribute to second language (L2) reading comprehension (e.g., Jeon &
Yamashita, 2014; Grabe, 2009), there is a lack of empirical studies that examine the component
skills of L2 Chinese reading.
To fill this gap, this dissertation examines the direct and indirect effects of semantic
radical knowledge, character knowledge, morphological knowledge, vocabulary knowledge and
grammar knowledge to L2 Chinese reading. Using a mixed method research approach, this
dissertation investigates the direct and indirect effects of components skills on L2 Chinese
reading, the component skills that distinguished high-skilled, middle-skilled, and low-skilled
readers, learners’ perception of L2 Chinese reading, as well as the convergence and divergence
of quantitative and qualitative data.
The participants of this dissertation were 209 learners of Chinese as a second language
(CSL). A test battery with 12 subtests were designed to measure six latent constructs, including
receptive semantic radical knowledge test and semantic radical meaning matching test (to
measure semantic radical knowledge); lexical decision test and character knowledge test (to
measure character recognition); morpheme discrimination test and compound structure
discrimination test (to measure morphological knowledge); receptive vocabulary knowledge test
and vocabulary synonym test (to measure vocabulary knowledge); word order test and
grammaticality judgment test (to measure grammar knowledge); a multiple-choice reading
comprehension test and a cloze test (to measure reading comprehension). Thirteen interviews
and four focus groups were conducted among 25 participants.
The main findings of the study include:
(1) Vocabulary knowledge was found to have a significant direct effect on L2 Chinese
reading comprehension. Semantic radical knowledge had a significant direct effect on
Chinese character recognition. Morphological knowledge had a significant direct
effect on vocabulary knowledge and a significant indirect effect on reading
comprehension through the mediation of vocabulary knowledge. Grammar
knowledge was found to be measures of reading comprehension.
(2) The receptive vocabulary knowledge test and vocabulary synonym test scores could
best distinguish high-skilled, middle-skilled, and low-skilled readers. This further
established the significant role of vocabulary knowledge in L2 Chinese reading.
(3) The learners perceived that characters, understanding the meaning of a passage, and
words were important in L2 Chinese reading. The majority of the interviewees
viewed reading in Chinese as difficult. Using dictionary and guessing from the
context are the two most frequently used strategies for unknown characters. The
interviewees improved their Chinese reading through reading Chinese books and
reading online.
(4) The quantitative and quantitative data supplemented each other. Both data sources
converged on the main findings of the study. There are cases where the qualitative
data did not directly support the quantitative data. The qualitative data also provided
elaboration and clarification for the quantitative data. A combination of quantitative
and qualitative data revealed a more complete picture of L2 Chinese reading.
Description:Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2018.
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses 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: Ph.D. - Second Language Studies

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