Tse, S. K. (2011). Effective Learning of Chinese Characters through Discerning and Combining Character Components. Han-Character and Classical written language Education, 26, 45-62. doi: 10.15670/HACE.2011.26.1.045.

識字, 教法


Effective Learning of Chinese Characters through Discerning and Combining Character Components


Han-Character and Classical written language Education




Vol. 26


Shek Kam TSE


The basic units of written Chinese are ideographic symbols called characters, made up of components and strokes. Faced with the very large number of Chinese characters, it would seem impossible for learners ever to learn them all. This paper describes a way of helping young children
learn Chinese characters through systematically discerning, recognizing and combining the component elements of characters. The theoretical
underpinnings of the learning method have been presented in detail. The effectiveness of the approach is examined in an exploratory, but carefully conducted study in a Grade 1 class of students in one Hong Kong primary school. None of the children had received any prior formal tuition in Chinese character learning. A pre-test was carried out to establish the students’ baseline awareness of character components, recognition of common characters and components, and ability to identify real and potentially valid characters from a series of actual and pseudo-real
characters. Following a period of instruction using the proposed teaching strategy, the learners were given the test again and the impact of the teaching was assessed. It was found that teaching students how to discern and recognize characters and the elements and strokes used to make up characters enhanced both an awareness of character components and a way of reading and learning unfamiliar characters.