Citation
Word structure and vocabulary acquisition : theory and application to Mandarin Chinese as a secondforeign language

Material Information

Title:
Word structure and vocabulary acquisition : theory and application to Mandarin Chinese as a secondforeign language
Creator:
Cheng, Zhaohui, 1966-
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
xiv, 266 leaves : ; 29 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Foreign language learning ( jstor )
Learning ( jstor )
Linguistic morphology ( jstor )
Morphemes ( jstor )
Nouns ( jstor )
Phrases ( jstor )
Syntactics ( jstor )
Verbs ( jstor )
Vocabulary ( jstor )
Words ( jstor )
Dissertations, Academic -- Linguistics -- UF ( lcsh )
Linguistics thesis, Ph. D ( lcsh )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Thesis:
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 2000.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 249-265).
Additional Physical Form:
Also available online.
General Note:
Printout.
General Note:
Vita.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Zhaohui Cheng.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Copyright [name of dissertation author]. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Resource Identifier:
022910745 ( ALEPH )
45080965 ( OCLC )

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:

wordstructurevoc00chen_0218.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0065.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0002.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0225.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0077.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0066.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0246.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0074.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0067.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0239.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0062.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0148.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0144.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0272.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0110.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0142.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0051.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0105.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0169.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0275.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0255.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0172.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0204.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0179.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0022.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0010.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0201.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0203.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0168.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0021.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0177.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0139.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0263.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0056.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0138.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0247.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0068.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0238.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0175.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0206.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0198.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0166.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0070.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0228.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0069.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0075.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0278.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0040.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0112.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0196.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0016.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0145.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0171.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0073.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0237.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0260.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0047.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0102.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0005.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0161.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0153.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0243.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0192.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0235.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0024.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0245.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0082.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0194.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0032.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0117.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0242.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0054.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0216.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0253.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0079.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0205.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0137.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0048.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0185.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0015.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0226.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0189.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0064.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0097.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0174.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0019.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0173.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0036.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0038.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0143.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0149.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0104.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0135.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0261.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0103.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0087.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0063.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0055.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0223.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0100.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0195.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0078.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0248.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0222.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0109.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0118.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0053.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0276.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0132.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0122.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0052.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0254.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0095.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0158.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0080.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0181.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0057.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0264.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0165.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0072.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0232.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0014.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0157.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0106.txt

EJ2TTFCY5_2YU50T_xml.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0113.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0011.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0183.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0071.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0220.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0076.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0217.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0033.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0034.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0020.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0262.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0094.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0244.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0116.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0017.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0277.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0187.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0091.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0147.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0003.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0059.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0129.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0136.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0233.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0111.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0229.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0240.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0256.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0281.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0092.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0155.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0029.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0098.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0282.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0086.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0107.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0210.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0093.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0209.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0267.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0180.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0027.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0128.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0046.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0007.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0266.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0190.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0252.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0026.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0214.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0101.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0008.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0031.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0202.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0269.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0236.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0000.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0200.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0167.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0211.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0249.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0120.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0085.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0219.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0221.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0023.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0083.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0058.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0230.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0156.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0265.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0134.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0150.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0001.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0178.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0268.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0030.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0146.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0115.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0224.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0186.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0130.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0213.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0231.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0012.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0018.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0159.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0126.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0258.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0119.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0227.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0163.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0108.txt

AA00025729_00001.pdf

wordstructurevoc00chen_0199.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0039.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0151.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0257.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0045.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0013.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0089.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0152.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0160.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0121.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0274.txt

AA00025729_00001_pdf.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0125.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0188.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0042.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0241.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0279.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0133.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0124.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0250.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0207.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0131.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0044.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0273.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0197.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0049.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0164.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0043.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0088.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0182.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0280.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0004.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0090.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0271.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0123.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0215.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0061.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0084.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0259.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0114.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0028.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0208.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0191.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0140.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0184.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0162.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0060.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0251.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0025.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0141.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0096.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0009.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0041.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0176.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0127.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0193.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0006.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0270.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0099.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0170.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0234.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0037.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0081.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0035.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0212.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0050.txt

wordstructurevoc00chen_0154.txt


Full Text











WORD STRUCTURE AND VOCABULARY ACQUISITION: THEORY AND APPLICATION TO MANDARIN CHINESE
AS A SECOND/FOREIGN LANGUAGE















By

ZHAOHUI CHENG














A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2000


















Copyright 2000

by

Zhaohui Cheng



























To my grandmother and mother

Fi" Ap-f-t I0














ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

It has been a wonderful experience to pursue further education and academic development at the University of Florida, where I have known so many nice professors and fhends who have helped me in many ways. From them I have learned great knowledge and methods of doing academic research at a higher level. I also learned the way to achieve goals through hard work, determination, and effort.

First of all, I sincerely thank Professor Chauncey C. Chu, Chairman of the supervisory committee, for all his insightful guidance, constant support and encouragement. His enthusiastic help in finding solutions to both my personal and professional problems will never be forgotten. He has guided me not only in my academic research but also in my teaching practice and my English improvement. I have learned a lot from the discussions with him, from his classes, his books and his many papers. Without his guidance, help and commitment, this work could not have been accomplished.

I also thank the helpful guidance provided by Professor Diana Boxer, the cochair of the supervisory committee. She helped me select appropriate methods to do the investigations and the statistics in this work. Her helpful suggestions and comments are greatly appreciated.

I appreciate Professor Ann Wehmeyer with great sincerity. From her class, I have learned much of my knowledge on morphology, which is adopted in this work. My






iv









interest in Chinese morphology, which led me to do this project, was also stimulated in the class she taught.

I also want to extend my appreciation to Professors William Sullivan and Cynthia Chennault for serving on the supervisory committee. Their suggestions have always been constructive and helpful.

I would like to express my special thanks to Ms. Daocui Kan(I iil)

Ms. Min Zhu (* 0 ;t 9JJ) and Mr. Naihua Liu (Ai Ti 49 ff) in the International Student College in Nanjing Normal University. In this work, for the most part, the investigations of how L2 learners study Chinese vocabulary were completed with their assistance. I also thank my father, many of my friends and the people whose names I do not know but helped or participated in other investigations in this project. Without their help, half of this work could not have been accomplished.

Finally, I want to thank my husband, Zhongtao Ding. I could not have finished my research and dissertation without his understanding, support and patience throughout the graduate study program.














TABLE OF CONTENTS
page


ACKN OW LEDGM EN TS .............................................................................................. iv

LIST OF TABLES ....................................................................................................... viii

LIST OF FIGURE S ............................................. ........................................................... x

N OM EN CLATURE ................................................................ ......................... ......... xii

ABSTRACT .................................................................................................... ............ xiii

CHAPTERS

I INTRODUCTION .......................................................... ......................... ................ I

1. 1 Purpose of Research ............................................................................................ 1
1.2 Problem s of Vocabulary Acquisition .................................................................. 1
1.3 D esign of Research ....................................... .................................................. 10

2 VOCABULARY ACQUISITION AND RELATED THEORIES ............................ 14

2. 1 Theories in Second Language Acquisition.. ....................................................... 14
2.2 Theories in Psycholinguistic Studies ................................................................... 19
2.3 Theorietical Im plications ........................... ........................................................ 27

3 CHARACTER RADICAL AND WORD STRUCTURE IN CHINESE
W ORD INFERRING BY N ATIVE SPEAKERS ................................................ 29

3.1 Research Questions and Assumptions ................................................................. 29
3.2 Research Design ................................... ............................................................. 31
3 .3 R e su lts .............................................................................................................. 3 5
3.4 Analysis and Discussion .................................................................................... 47
3.5 Conclusion ......................................................................................................... 52

4 CHARACTER STRUCTURE AND WORD STRUCTURE IN NEW WORD
RECOGN ITION BY L2 LEARNERS .......... ..................................................... 54

4.1 Research Questions ............................................................................................ 54
4.2 Research Design ..................................................... ........................ .............. 55


vi









4 .3 R e su lts .............................................................................................................. 5 9
4.4 A nalysis and D iscussion ........ .................................................... ...... ............... 72
4 .5 C o n clu sio n .............................................................................................. .......... 8 0

5 CHINESE WORD STRUCTURE (I)---SUvIPLE WORDS ...................................... 84

5.1 Current Studies in Chinese Word Structure ........................................................ 84
5.2 Types of C hinese W ords .................................................................................... 90

6 CHINESE WORD STRUCTURE (II) --- COMPOUNDS ....................................... 112

6.1 Compounds in Modem Chinese ............................................. .......................... 112
6.2 Patterns of Chinese Compounds ....... ............................................................... 114
6.3 Productive Types of Chinese Compounds ...................... ........... ..................... 132
6.4 M orphological Features ................................ ........... ....................................... 133
6 .5 C o n clu sio n ......................... ............ ........ ........................... ..................... 14 0

7 MEASURES AND LOCALIZERS .................... ................................ .................. 144

7 .1 M easure W ords ..................................... ........... .............................................. 145
7 .2 L o calipers ................. ...................................................................................... 16 8
7 .3 C o n clu sio n ....................................................................................................... 184

8 PEDAGOGICAL APPLICATION OF CHINESE VOCABULARY ..................... 186

8.1 Pedagogical Applications at the Beginning Chinese Level ................ ................ 186
8.2 Pedagogical Applications at the Intermediate Chinese Level ............................. 196
8.3 Pedagogical Applications at the Advanced Level ... ............................. ........... 217
8 .4 C o n clu sio n ......... ...... ...... .......... .............................................................. 2 2 2

9 C O N C L U SIO N S ................................................................................................... 225

APPENDICES

A SURVEY AND WORD TEST FOR NATIVE CHINESE SPEAKERS ................. 231

B SURVEY AND WORD TEST FOR L2 LEARNERS OF CHINESE ..................... 234

C COMMON CHARACTER RADICALS ................................................................ 238

D COMMON CLASSIFIERS NOT DISCUSSED IN CHAPTER 7 ......................... 240

R E FE R E N C E S ............................................................................................................ 249

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................................................................ .... 266





Vii













LIST OF TABLES

Table page

3.1 Strategy-use reported in the the survey ............................ ................. 36

3.2 The chi-square test of the strategy-use in different groups ......................... 37

3.3 List of using different knowledge to infer a word meaning ......................... 38

3.4 R esults of test P art A .................... ............................................... 40

3.5 R esults of test P art B .................................................................. 4 1

3.6 R esults of the w hole test ................................................................ 42

3.7 Means (average scores) of the word test ............................................... 42

3.8 ANOVA test of the four groups ....................................................... 44

3.9 R esults of the interview ........ ........................................................ 45

3. 10 Average scores to different words and average times of method-use
in P a rt A .............................................. ......... .... .... I ............. 4 6

4.1 Sources of acquired w ords ......................... .................................... 60

4.2 M aterials of Chinese reading ................... ....................................... 61

4.3 Methods of memorizing new words ................................................... 62

4.4 Strategies of dealing with unfamiliar words in reading .............................. 63

4.5 Average scores (percentages) and the T-test properties of two groups ........... 65

4.6 Test results of the intermediate-level students with
different L Is and the properties of ANOVA test ................................. 66

4.7 Test results of the advanced-level students with
different L Is and the properties of ANOVA test ................................. 67



Viii










4.8 Average percentages and the probabilities of T-test between
the Czech group and other groups at the intermediate level ...........68

4.9 Average percentages and the probabilities of T-test between
the Czech group and other groups at the advanced-level .............68

4. 10 Strategies of dealing with an unknown word reported in the interview. ........ 69 4.11 Vocabulary sources reported in the interview ...................._69

4.12 Methods of memorizing reported in the interview .............................70

4.13 Average scores of the test in the interview ........................ 70

4.14 Average scores of students with different Li Is in the interview ............70

6.1 Compounds in Han-pu Shui-Ping Ci-hui vu Han-zi Deng-fiD-gn
(Criteria for Chinese Vocabulary and Characters at Different
Proficiency Levels) ................ .......... .........114

8.1 Character-structure types and percentages ..................... 192

8.2 The vocabulary pedagogy of CSL/CFL .........................223



























ix














LIST OF FIGURES

Figure page

2.1 The processing framework of Chinese compounds ................................... 27

3.1 R esults of test Part A ...................................................................... 40

3.2 R esults of test Part B ...................................................................... 4 1

3.3 R esults of the w hole test ......... .................................................... 41

6.1 Scopes of Chinese compounds and phrases ............................................ 135

7.1 Classification network of Tao ...................................................... ...... 150

7.2 Classification network of Bi ............................................................... 151

7.3 Classification network of Chang .......................................................... 152

7.4 Classification network of Tai ............................................................... 153

7.5 Classification network of Kou ............................................................ 154

7.6 Classification network of Tiao .............................. ........ ....... .......... 155

7.7 Classification network of Zhang ......................................................... 156

7.8 Classification network of Dui ............................................................. 158

7.9 Classification network of Zhi ..... .............. ............ ........................ 160

7. 10 Classification network of Pi ............................................................... 161

7.11 Domains of localized Shang ............................................................... 174

7.12 Domains of localized Xia .................................................................. 177

7.13 Domains of localized Li ........................................................... ....... 180



x









7.14 Domains of localizer Zhong ............................................................ 183

























































xi














NOMENCLATURE

AAM The Augmented Addressed Morphology Model

ACT The Adaptive Control of Thought

CFL Chinese as a foreign language

CSL Chinese as a second language

ESL English as a second language

L1 the first language

L2 the second language

SLA Second Language Acquisition


























xii















Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

WORD STRUCTURE AND VOCABULARY ACQUISITION: THEORY AND APPLICATION TO MANDARIN CHIN~ESE AS A SECOND/FOREIGN LANGUAGE By

Zhaohui Cheng

May 2000

Chair: Chauncey C. Chu
Cochair: Diana Boxer
Major Department: Program in Linguistics

Theories of Second Language Acquisition proclaim that appropriate instruction and strategy training facilitate and accelerate the process of second language acquisition. Psycholinguistic studies have found that morphological structure, which is part of the mental lexicon, plays a role in word learning and is related directly to vocabulary learning and reading achievement. Chinese is a language written in morphemic characters, and its words are mostly compounds. The purpose of this work is to present an appropriate pedagogy to teach L2 (second language) learners Chinese words. First, a series of investigations which contained surveys, tests and interviews was completed. It was found that native Chinese speakers usually can adopt the knowledge of character radicals and word structure to get the meanings of unfamiliar words in their Li easily and effectively, but L2 learners of Chinese cannot. This indicates that L2 learners need knowledge related




xiii









to Chinese word structure and character radicals and also training in proper strategies. In order to guide L2 learners to study new words more effectively, the general rules of Chinese words and word structure are analyzed and presented as the second part of this work. Finally, a systematic vocabulary pedagogy is discussed and presented on the basis of the study results in previous parts: at the elementary Chinese level, teach L2 learners core words, basic character radicals and the knowledge of character structure; meanwhile, train them to use the knowledge of character structure and radicals to recognize and memorize words; at the intermediate level, teach learners the knowledge of word structure and related rules, train them to use such knowledge and contextual information to learn new words by themselves; at the advanced level, teach L2 learners lower-frequency words and lexical phrases, and at the same time, train students to use different strategies properly to learn a large number of words and to produce words in a native-like way by sufficient language interactions.
























xiv














CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION


1.1 Purpose of Research


The subject of this dissertation is the acquisition and pedagogy of vocabulary in Chinese as a second/foreign language (CSL/CFL). Vocabulary acquisition is one of the most important tasks in the learning of a language. In the past twenty years, vocabulary acquisition and teaching is the area which has developed fastest in the research of Second Language Acquisition (SLA). However, in the studies of CSL/CFL, this topic has not caught as much attention as it has in the acquisition study of other languages. In order to narrow the gap, this research will study the properties of Chinese word structure and their roles in vocabulary recognition for both native speakers and foreigners, and will, as a result, propose a possible teaching pedagogy of Chinese words from the beginning to the advanced level. The suggested vocabulary pedagogy will help learners acquire and develop their vocabulary more easily and more quickly. Moreover, this research will contribute to our knowledge of vocabulary acquisition in SLA in general.

1.2 Problems of Vocabulary Acquisition


1.2.1 Studies of Lexical Acquisition in Second Language Acquisition

Vocabulary knowledge is the ability to understand and to use a word automatically for communicative purposes. The vocabulary knowledge of a natural language speaker is



I






2


in fact one indicator of his/her proficiency level. For example, the knowledge of an advanced level speaker of English should consist of over 7,000 lexical items (Laufer 1992). Coady (1997) claims that for understanding advanced and authentic academic texts, an L2 learner of English should have "good knowledge of at least 5,000 words, in addition to significant reading skill" (p. 287). The knowledge of an advanced level speaker of Chinese is over 8,000 words an-W ShW7,ping Dengji Dq- "an ig iff T 4 & ) *1 'The Criteria of Chinese Proficiency Levels' 1988). The size of such vocabularies is obviously much smaller than that of a native speaker. According to recent research, the average size of an English vocabulary that a native speaking university student knows and potentially uses is more than 50,000 words (Aitchison 1996, p. 16). "It has been said that learning a second language means learning its vocabulary" (Gass, 1999, p. 325). From the beginning level all the way up, vocabulary development is one of the most strenuous tasks of foreign language learners. Laufer points out:

Recent findings point to the fact that lexical problems might be even more
important than those in phonology and syntax. .. Moreover, learners themselves often claim that lexis is their greatest difficulty in L2. Any experienced teacher knows that even after students have mastered
grammar, they still face masses of unknown words. (Laufer 1986, p. 13 1)


Studies on reading in SLA also show that vocabulary forms the most basic budding blocks underlying the reading process. "It has never been empirically demonstrated, nor is it theoretically expected, that some instructional innovation could result in good reading comprehension without the presence of at least adequate word recognition ability"(Stanovich 1991, p. 418). The vocabulary problem, however, was largely ignored in the study of SLA until the 1980s. Partly because of the overwhelming concentration on






3


syntactic structure, vocabulary did not have a separate identity for a long time and was just treated as a subject within the study of reading or writing. As observed by Coady (1997), on the one hand, students feel that words are very important and are eager to learn them; on the other hand, teachers and scholars feel that teaching vocabulary is a low-level intellectual activity, and that words are going to be learned naturally from reading and do not need to be taught. Thus, scholars have not seen the need for vocabulary teaching in spite of the students' requests for it.

Vocabulary acquisition began to attract attention in the 1980s and has become the fastest growing area of second language education in terms of research output and publications at present. The studies, mainly focusing on English as a second/foreign language, include the following: a) what vocabulary knowledge is, b) the strategies learners use to acquire vocabulary, and c) vocabulary teaching.

In second/foreign language education, vocabulary knowledge is defined as "a continuum between ability to make sense of a word and ability to activate the word automatically for productive purposes" (Faerch, Haastrup & Phillipson 1984, p.100). It contains potential vocabulary, which "learners have not come across before" (Palmberg 1987, p.201) but can be understood when encountered, and active vocabulary, the words that learners have learned and can understand or use. Nation (1990) developed a list of the various types of vocabulary knowledge:

1. The spoken form of a word.
2. The written form of a word.
3. The grammatical behavior of the word.
4. The collocational behavior of the word.
5. How frequent the word is.
6. The stylistic register constraints of a word.
7. The conceptual meaning of a word.






4


8. The associations a word has with other related words.

When a learner has mastered all these types of knowledge, s/he is able to use a word in a native-like and fluent manner. The studies of vocabulary knowledge have made it clear what learners should master in order to use a word and what the study of vocabulary teaching and acquisition should focus on. The results of these studies have laid the groundwork for the theoretical formulation of further vocabulary acquisition research.

Vocabulary learning processes and strategies is an area where a great deal has been harvested. The research consists of several experimental studies on lexical acquisition in a second language (L,2). The following learning strategies have been found effective: extensive reading, lexical inference, structure study and word associations.

Extensive reading is endorsed by many studies (e.g. Clarke & Nation 1980, Carine et al. 1984, Krashen 1989, Grabe & Stoller 1997) to improve learners' vocabulary knowledge. It is claimed that words can be acquired "incidentally" from extensive reading, and the reasons are:

(a) It is contextualized, giving the learner a richer sense of a word's use and meaning than can be provided in traditional paired-associate exercises, (b) it is pedagogically efficient in that it enables two activities --- vocabulary acquisition and reading---to occur at the same time, and (c) it is more individualized and learner-based because the vocabulary being acquired is dependent on the learner's own selection of reading materials. (Huckin and
Coady 1999, p. 182)


All these studies, however, were based on the way LI (the first language) learners acquire their vocabulary. Many other studies also find that extensive reading does not automatically lead to the acquisition of vocabulary, and there is no clear way to show that a word has been learned incidentally. Paribakht and Wesche (1999) note that vocabulary






5


acquisition "is in some fundamental sense not 'incidental"' (p. 215). It much depends on the context surrounding each word, the nature of the learner's attention, the task demands, and other factors (Huckin and Coady 1999). Moreover, increasing vocabulary through extensive reading takes much time and practice and might not be very effective in intensive L2 learning. It is also hard to ask L2 learners at low language levels to do extensive reading. "In spite of the evident role of reading in much advanced vocabulary acquisition, it is also apparent from both research and experience that the process is slow, often misguided, and seemingly haphazard, with differential outcomes for different learners, word types, and contexts" (Paribakht and Wesche 1999, p. 197).

Other researchers, like Scherfer (1993), Bensoussan (1992), Hulstijn (1992), and Fraser (1999), have found that guessing the meanings of words from context, particularly in reading, results in a high rate of vocabulary memory and acquisition. At present, lexical inference has been strongly suggested in L2 vocabulary development. Nevertheless, as some scholars point out, lexical inference will not be successful if a context contains many unknown words or cannot offer enough hints to infer the meaning of a word. Moreover, "it requires a great deal of prior training in basic vocabulary, word recognition, metacognition, and subject matter" (Huckin and Coady 1999, p. 190). Therefore, lexical inference is limited in many language contexts and cannot be used all by itself.

Through tests, interviews and self-reports, Sanaoui (1995) found that learners who engaged in independent study and self-initiated learning activities of recording, reviewing and practicing lexical items outside their L2 course were more successful in vocabulary acquisition. He suggests that vocabulary study should be structured. Moreover, Schm-itt & Meara ( 1997) claim that word associations (i.e. the links that connect or relate words in






6


some manner in a person's mind) and verbal suffixes are related to a learner's vocabulary size and can also help the learner acquire vocabulary.

The progress in vocabulary learning is the most focused area in the research of vocabulary acquisition. Studies (e.g. Paribakht & Wesche 1997, Zinmmerman 1997) have concluded that "although vocabulary learning certainly does take place through the presumed ordinary contextual approach, such learning can indeed be improved by adding formal instruction"(Coady 1997, p. 287). Several books on the subject were published in the 1980s and 1990s, e.g., Working with Words (Gaims & Redman 1986), Vocabular: Applied Linguistic Perspectives (Carter 1987), Vocabular and Language Teaching (Carter & McCarthy 1988), and Teaching and Learning Vocabular (Nation 1990). The discussions include the aim of vocabulary teaching, items to be presented, and teaching techniques. The main purpose of vocabulary teaching is to train and help students to derive and produce meanings from lexical items both by themselves and out of the classroom (Carter 1987). Core words and high-frequency words are suggested to be taught first (Carter 1987, chapter 7; Coady 1997). The teaching techniques presented are mainly the following:

1. Keyword Imagination: (1) to teach target language words through sound

associations with the native language, (2) to associate a new word with an imagined picture, or (3) to teach a word with semantic or functional relations (e.g. to learn the word 'food' with related ones like 'meat', 'vegetable', 'knife and fork', 'bowl', 'table and chair', 'kitchen', etc.) (Gairns & Redman 1986;

Hulstijn 1997).






7


2. Context Technique: to teach words in typical contexts (Hulstijn 1992, 1997;

Scherfer 1993).

3. Communication: to teach vocabulary through different communicative

activities (Nation 1990; Nation & Newton 1997)

Meanwhile, some course materials and dictionaries reflecting the above ideas have been designed and presented to learners as tools and guides. Examples are: Vocabulary (Morgan & Rinvolucri 1986), Words and Their Meaning (Jackson 1988), Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Engis (1989).

Although vocabulary has gained status as an important component of second language acquisition, and a number of steps have been taken in its study, there is still a long way to go. The system of vocabulary acquisition rules has not been established, and vocabulary teaching is not as systematized as the techniques of teaching phonology and syntax. While courses on reading, writing, grammar, speaking and listening are common in L2 programs, there are very few vocabulary courses. We still lack operational comprehensive models for various areas of vocabulary that "allow us to systematize and synthesize all the knowledge we have gained so far about vocabulary" (Maiguashca, 1993, p.94). Materials of vocabulary teaching that teachers could use in various educational contexts are also urgently needed. Moreover, the studies of vocabulary acquisition and teaching are limited mainly to the area of English as a Second Language (ESL). "All the current work is based on Indo-European languages, despite the fact that cognate vocabularies seem relatively easy to learn and that non-Indo-European languages are known to cause special problems in the area of vocabulary acquisition"(Meara 1996, p.37).






8


1.2.2 Studies in Chinese Vocabulary Acquisition

The study of teaching and leading Chinese as a second/foreign language is very young. Despite a lot of interesting work in grammar, speaking, listening, writing and culture, vocabulary acquisition in CSL/CFL has received scant research attention. The studies of Chinese word acquisition, compared with the increasing amount of work in English word acquisition, are very few and superficial. No experimental studies have been conducted. On the other hand, studies have found that vocabulary is the main difficulty of all CFL learners at different levels, and it is also the main problem in all the learning processes of Chinese speaking, listening, reading and writing (Gao, Li & Guo 1993). Studies on reading in CFL also indicate that word identification undoubtedly facilitates the ability of reading Chinese. Because of the challenging nature of Chinese vocabulary and the lack of necessary Chinese word knowledge, it is difficult for CFL learners to identify and isolate units of meaning, to build up Chinese character networks, and to demonstrate intratextual perceptions (i.e. how different parts of a text are integrated into a coherent discourse structure) in Chinese reading; thus, the development of Chinese reading proficiency is seriously hindered (Everson & Ke 1997, Li 1997). However, Chinese word study is still limited to the morphological area, and the discussions are focused on the linguistic description of Chinese words, such as the definition of a 'word', word categories and grammatical functions, the historical development of Chinese words and analysis of word structure. The only major achievement in vocabulary pedagogy is the statistics of basic and frequently used words in Modem Chinese. It has been found that 3,000 frequently-used words cover 86.7% of reading materials (Wang 1986). Among them, 1645 are compounds (Wang 1994). It has been accepted that these high-frequency words






9


have to be taught first in CSL/CFL. Beside this research, only a few studies have discussed some pedagogical techniques in vocabulary teaching, and the following techniques are suggested:

1. Comparative and Contrastive Technique: to compare and contrast the

meanings and functions of synonyms (Huang, X. 1993; Huang, B. 1997).

2. Key Word Imagination: to image a picture and situation where a key word

can describe or be used, or to link a key word with other related words to form

a network (Zhang 1990; Huang, Z. 1994; Lin 1997).

3. Context Technique: to teach words in sentences and contexts (Zhang 1990;

Zhu 1993; Huang, X 1993),

4. Word Structure: to list together the words with the same morpheme, or to

analyze word structure in order to help learners distinguish similar words

(Zhang 1990; Liu 1997).

Such studies are highly limited in both scope and quantity. There is no thorough study and discussion of how vocabulary pedagogy can be applied systematically in the classroom from the beginning to the advanced level. There is no investigation or analysis of how learners learn, store and produce Chinese words. Mover, no learning strategies used by learners of CSL/CFL are reported or discussed. Vocabulary is also rarely considered as an important component in course-books. In most Chinese textbooks currently used, there are only vocabulary lists of Chinese words and their English (or French, Japanese) glosses, and very few exercises are especially designed for vocabulary. In short, there is a vast unexplored area in vocabulary acquisition of CSL/CFL, and numerous interesting topics have not been explored.






10

1.3 Design of Research


1.3.1 Properties of Chinese Words

Chinese is usually regarded as a language difficult for Western learners. From its phonology and syntax to the writing system, Chinese is very different from western languages. It is true that many features of Chinese, such as the tones and the writing system which are not directly related to the pronunciation of a word, are difficult for L2 learners of Chinese; but some other features, such as its word composition and character structure, can very well be utilized to make it easier to learn the language.

In modem Chinese, most words are compounds. These words are formed by combining two or three monosyllabic morphemes together. Each morpheme, in the Chinese writing system, is by and large written as a character. Mostly, the meaning of a compound can be derived from the meanings of its morphemes or characters. The total number of Chinese characters is truly huge, but commonly used ones are much fewer. About 3,800 common characters can cover 99.9% of Chinese reading materials (Zhang 1992, p.69). In Xian-dai Han-yy Chog-XqW-zi Biao IN ft & j4 )fi !r -1k (A List of Common Characters in Modem Chinese (1987), 2,500 characters are fisted as the most-frequently used and the most needed characters which can comprise 97.97% of Chinese reading materials; another 1,000 characters with lower frequencies comprise 1.51% of reading materials; and all the other characters are rarely used and only comprise 0,52% of Chinese reading materials. As a result, only 3000-4000 characters are used to produce words which comprise 99.64%-99.9% of general reading materials. Moreover, Chinese characters have another useful feature: each character generally contains one or,






I I

in rarer cases, more meaningful components which are traditionally termed "radicals". Historically, the total number of radicals has varied greatly, from 214 to 540, depending on the method of identification. The most minute division of components in recent studies counts such radicals between 430-475, but only 70-94 of them are the basic and the most common ones which are used in more than 70% of all the characters (Huang 1996, Fei 1996). The facts that a limited number of characters can be combined into an enormous Chinese vocabulary and that a limited number of radicals can derive thousands of characters certainly constitute a tremendous advantage to vocabulary acquisition for CFL/CSL learners as well as for native speakers. Unfortunately, this has not been taken advantage of in Chinese vocabulary pedagogy. To fill the virtual void, this research is designed to study the structures of Chinese words and characters and their roles in vocabulary recognition of both native speakers and foreigners. From this perspective, several experimental studies of Chinese word recognition and acquisition were designed to form an important part of this study. Moreover, in order to provide the rules of Chinese word structure to vocabulary pedagogy and to help foreign learners acquire vocabulary, much of this study is devoted to an analysis of Chinese words. At the end of this research, a possible teaching pedagogy from the beginning to the advanced level is suggested to help learners develop their vocabulary more easily and more quickly.

1.3.2 Organization of the Dissertation

This study contains nine chapters. Following this introduction, Chapter two briefly reviews the related theories of SLA and psycholinguistics which can be expected to contribute to vocabulary pedagogy. Studies in SLA have concluded that well-organized classroom instruction and carefully-designed learning strategies can help L2 learners






12

acquire a language effectively. This suggests that vocabulary acquisition can also be improved through formal education and strategy training. Morphological and psycholinguistics studies have found that words are regularly structured in every language, and that morphemes figure prominently in the lexical recognition process of native speakers to help them understand, memorize and learn derived words. This means that morphemes and word structure should also play an important role in vocabulary acquisition and pedagogy.

Psychological studies have also found that morphemes and word structure are used in the recognition of familiar words by native Chinese speakers. It is not clear, however, if this knowledge is also adopted to guess at unfamiliar ones. Furthermore, it is also unknown how important and helpful the knowledge of word structure is in the process of deriving the meaning of a new word, or whether it plays a role in learning a new word. To answer these questions, the methods used by Chinese native speakers and CFL learners to understand and acquire Chinese words are investigated, compared and analyzed. Their reports are presented in Chapters Three and Four. These two chapters consist of surveys, tests, interviews and analysis of results. The results show that word structures and character radicals as well as contexts form a very important part of information that native speakers can rely on to infer the meaning of a word. Such information makes it possible for native speakers to understand an unfan-dliar word easily and fast. L2 learners of Chinese at different language levels, however, lack the ability to use this kind of information if they are not trained for it. The results suggest that radicals and word structure are a very important part of Chinese language, and they should be taught as a part of the linguistic skills in Chinese instruction.






13

Chapters Five and Six are the analyses of Chinese word structure, including the description of previous studies, the main structure types of Chinese words, and the relationships between the meanings of a word and its components. In Chapter Seven, a cognitive analysis of common measure words (classifiers) and localizers is provided. The goal of these chapters is to find general rules of word structure and patterns that can be used to help L2 learners of Chinese understand and acquire vocabulary effectively.

Chinese vocabulary pedagogy is discussed in Chapter Eight. Based on the investigations and word studies of this research, it is suggested that effective vocabularylearning strategies and the general rules of word structure should be taught in Chinese vocabulary pedagogy. The knowledge of common character radicals/components, basic grammar and a certain amount of 'core' words, i.e. the monosyllabic words and compounds with high-frequency of occurrence in the language, should be taught to learners at the beginning level. Character-decomposition and radical-grouping can be used as teaching techniques to help learners memorize basic vocabulary. At the intermediate level, the rules of word structure should be systematically introduced before learners induce any piecemeal knowledge by themselves. At the advanced level, the main task of Chinese vocabulary teaching is to transform learners' potential vocabulary into an active one through extended reading, writing and other ways of communication.

The ninth chapter is the conclusion of the entire work. The results of this research are summarized in this chapter.














CHAPTER 2
VOCABULARY ACQUISITION AND RELATED THEORIES


2.1 Theories in Second Language Acquisition Second language acquisition is a very complex process. It involves many internal and external factors relative to learners. Despite many theories discussing different models and factors, there is not a theory that directly addresses vocabulary acquisition in second/foreign languages, which is an important part of the complex process. Vocabulary acquisition in SLA has only been incidentaHy treated in some theories. This chapter will therefore review such incidental treatments together with other related issues in those theories.


2.1.1 Theories of Language Classroom Instruction

Foreign language learning typically depends on formal classroom instruction. The process of classroom instruction includes the design of a syllabus, tasks, language input, classroom interaction and language production. While some researchers advocate language to be acquired in natural language environments by exposing the learner to comprehensible language data, many studies have presented sufficient evidence to show that formal instruction contributes greatly to second/foreign language acquisition. By reviewing the literature on formal instruction, Long (1983) concludes that, in general, instruction is advantageous for children as well as for adults and for both intermediate and advanced learners in acquisition-rich as weH as acquisition-poor environments, and that 14






15

instruction appears to result in faster learning and higher levels of proficiency. Ellis also summarizes that "formal instruction helps learners (both foreign and second) to develop greater L2 proficiency, particularly if it is linked with opportunities for natural exposure"(Ellis 1994, p.616). Several studies of morpheme acquisition (e.g. Perkins and Larsen-Freeman 1979, Pavesi 1986) likewise show that formal instruction results in increased accuracy and accelerates progress through developmental sequences, even though no difference of acquisition orders was found between instructed and naturalistic learners. Nevertheless, there are also limitations to formal instruction. Several hypotheses below proclaim that formal instruction only works when it matches learners' stage of development and focuses learners' attention on both forms and meanings in the context of communicative activities.

The Interface Hypothesis: Instruction facilitates acquisition by supplying

learners with conscious rules and providing practice to enable them to convert the

controlled knowledge into automatic knowledge (Sharwood-Smith 1981).

The Variability Hypothesis: Instruction of new structures will affect learners' careful style (i.e. the language forms are consciously attended to and monitored) but not their vernacular style (i.e. the language forms are used spontaneously and

easily in communication) (Ellis 1987).

The Teachability Hypothesis: Instruction can promote language acquisition if

the interlanguage is close to the point when the structure to be taught is acquired

in the natural setting (Pienemann 1985).






16


The Selective Attention Hypothesis: Formal instruction acts as an aid to acquisition by providing learners with points of access and focusing their attention

(Lightbown 1985).

All these hypotheses indicate that instruction, which matches the learner's learning stage and style, speeds up the acquisition process by helping them pay selective attention to form and form-meaning connections in language input, and by providing them language rules and practice. There is sufficient evidence that formal instruction works when it is extensive, comprehensible, clearly related to a specific function, well-designed and within the learner's current interlanguage (Ellis 1994, Chapter 14). Even though such studies and theories address problems of acquisition in general terms only, they may be easily extended to vocabulary acquisition and instruction. In other words, the process of L2 vocabulary acquisition may hopefully be accelerated through classroom instruction when the instruction is well-designed, just as the acquisition of sentence structure is. Conceivably, well-designed vocabulary instruction should 1) present learners with modified input knowledge to match the stage of acquisition process, 2) focus learners' attention on word rules that learners cannot derive easily through natural language exposure, 3) train learners in effective learning strategies, and 4) provide learners with more opportunities for vocabulary interaction and practice. Studies on native speakers find that vocabulary instruction appears to have an effect on comprehension (Stahl and Fairbanks 1986). If so, then direct vocabulary instruction would naturally be more beneficial to and necessary for L2 learning than Ll learning. This is so because L2 learners have less natural and incidental exposure to their target language and they cannot acquire the mass of vocabulary they need by the limited amount of language data they are






17


provided in meaningful reading, listening, speaking and writing. In fact, at least one study has found that systematic instruction can indeed result in L2 students learning certain target words, and it suggests that the most effective way of addressing the vocabulary needs of L2 students is through a combination of reading and interactive vocabulary instruction (Zimmerman 1994).

2.1.2 Theories of Learning Strategies

Language learning strategies are mental and behavioural actions or techniques used by learners to make language learning more successful. They include memorization, contextualization and inferencing. It has been reported that learning strategies are very important in the success of SLA, and different learning strategies contribute to different aspects of L2 proficiency (Ellis 1994, Chapter 12).

There are three major types of strategies: 1) cognitive strategies, including direct analysis, transformation or synthesis of learning materials; 2) metacognitive strategies, i.e. learning a language by means of planning, monitoring and evaluation; and 3) social/affective strategies, which concerns "the ways in which learners elect to interact with other learners and native speakers" (Ellis 1994, p.538). It has been found that language learners are generally aware of and can identify the strategies they use if they are asked to pay attention to what they do. Strategy choice is affected by individual differences, the learner's personal background and situational or social factors. Successful learners appear to use learning strategies more frequently, flexibly and appropriately. They pay attention to both form and meaning and search for meaning in the L2 data they are exposed to. Good learners treat the target language as a system by making effective comparisons, analyzing and using reference, and they also treat teachers as 'informants' by






18

showing more active involvement in language learning (Pickett 1978). Research on language learning strategies holds considerable promise for language pedagogy. It is believed that "learning will be facilitated if students are explicitly trained to become more aware of and proficient in the use of a broad range of strategies that can be utilized throughout the language learning process" (Cohen 1998, p.66). Strategy training in language instruction can improve both the learning skills and the language skills of students. It is claimed that strategy training provides students with the necessary tools to: 1) self-diagnose their strengths and weaknesses in language learning; 2) become more aware of what helps them to learn the language they are studying most efficiently; 3) develop a broad range of problem-solving skills; 4) experiment with both familiar and unfamiliar learning strategies; 5) decide how to approach a language task; 6) monitor and self-evaluate their performance; and 7) transfer successful strategies to new learning contexts (Weaver and Cohen 1998). Therefore, strategy training can enhance students' efforts to reach language program goals because it encourages students to find their own pathways to success, and thus it promotes learners' autonomy and self-direction.

Research on vocabulary acquisition is in fact the study of learning strategies. It investigates strategies of different types, analyzes the effective elements in vocabulary acquisition, and seeks effective ways to use learning techniques in the process of vocabulary learning. As Ellis remarks, strategy "is particularly useful in vocabulary acquisition" (1994, p.556), and it is crucial to teach students strategies for learning vocabulary. A number of scholars have argued that as there is a lot of individual variation among learners; therefore, teaching them vocabulary learning strategies is even more crucial (Oxford and Scarcella 1994, Sanaoui 1995, Coady 1997, Parry 1997). L2 learners






19

usually cannot acquire the mass of vocabulary they need only from their language class and other teaching materials. Thus, they should be taught how to continue to improve their vocabulary on their own by teaching them appropriate vocabulary learning strategies. "The development of extensive vocabulary knowledge for advanced literacy purposes requires some direct instruction and strategy training, as well as extensive exposure to the language (usually through reading)" (Coady 1997, p. 277). The first problems in vocabulary teaching can be reduced to the locating of strategies and the choosing among them. Since successful learners generally pay attention to both form and meaning and treat a target language as a system, regular rules for both the form and meaning of a word should be analyzed and introduced into the strategies of vocabulary learning. Moreover, the learning styles of learners from different cultures and backgrounds should be taken into account in planning the strategies.

2.2 Theories in Psycholinguistic Studies


2.2.1 Morphological Structure and Mental Lexicon

Mental lexicon is the mental dictionary of a "vast compendium of information about words and their relationships that you carry about in your head" (Kess 1992, p. 80). In this sense, word recognition is not instantaneous. In the view of some psycholinguists, there are three stages in word recognition: prelexical process, lexical access, and postlexical process.

Prelexical processes analyze a written or spoken input, identifying it as a
particular word. Lexical access activates semantic, phonological, orthographic,
and other information associated with the lexical item. Postlexical processes select, elaborate on, and integrate lexical information in order to comprehend
sentences and discourse. (Taylor 1990, p. 174)






20


From the 1970s to 90s, one typical research question of psycholinguists interested in the lexicon was whether or not morphological structure plays a role in the processing of language comprehension and production. In the 1970s, two hypotheses were proposed for lexical representation: the Whole-Word Hypothesis, which maintains that there is an independent lexical representation for each word of the language, and no morphological structure is encoded at the level of lexical representation of words; and the Full Decomposed Representation Hypothesis, which assumes that morphemic units consisting of roots, derivational affixes and inflectional affixes are independently represented in lexical representations, or only those morphologically complex forms of inflectional affixes are represented. There is evidence against both hypotheses. On the one hand, there are a large number of polymorphemic words in the lexicon of numerous languages in the world, and language users can coin and understand novel polymorphernic words without any noticeable difficulty. This indicates that the morphological dimension of language is not a linguistic accident but serves an important purpose in language use. There are at least two problems that the Whole-word Hypothesis cannot solve: the morphological system allows users to recognize new forms, and it also allows for the rejection of "illegal" forms. On the other hand, the Fully Decomposed Representation hypothesis also has problems, e.g. it cannot explain the irregular inflectional affixes in many languages, and it also ignores the type of word storage, which may be relevant. In light of this, researchers tried to seek new explanations in the 1980s.

Caramazza, Laudanna and Romani (1988) proposed the Augmented Addressed Morphology (AAM) Model. The model assumes that lexical access to morphologically complex words takes place through whole-word access units for known words, and






21

through morpheme-sized access units for unfamiliar morphologically regular words or novel words. Both whole-word and morpheme-sized access units will be activated. Recent and ongoing research strongly supports this model. Based on the AAM Model, further findings suggest that morphological operations crucially co-determine lexical processing.

In the 1990s, psycholinguistics studies distinguished two kinds of representations of the mental-lexicon: 1) access representations, and 2) linguistic representations. The access representations mediate between the perceptual system and the mental lexicon, and the linguistic ones represent semantic and syntactic properties. Sandra gives the following reasons that morphological structure of words could be involved in the mental lexicon:

At the access level, morphological structure of words could be involved for several reasons: (1) economy of representation, i.e. the absence of access representations for polymorphemic words; (2) access speed, i.e. the use of stem morphemes to achieve fast access to the mental lexicon; (3) computation of sentence structure, i.e. early access to affix representations with the purpose of a fast delivery of syntactically important information to the syntactic module; (4) the automatic creation of processing unites corresponding to frequently occurring letter clusters.
At the level of linguistic representations, morphological structure could serve the purposes of (1) economy of representation and (2) acquisition/learning efficiency, i.e. the creation of an efficient retrieval scheme for words. (Sandra 1994a, p. 266) In other words, Sandra (1994a) argues that morphemes a) might be needed to access a representation of the whole word, b) are used to express morphological relatedness at a post-access level, and c) are used to determine the meaning(s) of the word.

Through evaluating prefix processing and representation in two lexical decision experiments on printed stimuli, Landanna, Burani and Cermele (1994) find that morphological structure is present in both the lexical representations and in the procedures for lexical access. After investigating whether the visual recognition of short prefixed and






22


suffixed words is affected by their morphological structure, Beauvillamn (1994) reports that the morpheme unit is a significant advantage to recognize novel words or nonwords. "Previously experienced words would activate whole-word access units, whereas that recognition of novel words or nonwords would occur through the activation of morpheme units" (Beauvillain 1994, p.3 34). This morphemic decomposition is not constrained by the sequential organization of the morphemic elements within a word. Zwitserlood (1994) investigated semantic transparency in the processing and representation of Dutch compounds. The study showed that 1) completely opaque compounds are the same as mono-morphemic words and are not connected with their constituents at the level of semantic representations; and 2) fully or only partially transparent compounds, however, are linked with the representations of their constituents, and the constituents clearly contribute to the overall meaning of compounds and produce significant semantic facilitation. Sandra (1 994a) argues that there are two parallel access routes in the mental lexicon: one making use of whole-word access representations and post-access connection between morpho-semantically related words; and the other where the meaning of the whole word is computed from its morphemes. In a study by Clahsen (1996), German shows the same distinction as English: regular morphological forms are rule-based in representation, and irregular forms are memory-based in the mental lexicon. These findings provide support for the dual-mechanism model, which, developed from the AAM model, suggests that there are two qualitatively different mechanisms for word formation: one is a rule-based symbolic processor for generating regular forms, and the other is an associative memory for the storage of irregular forms.






23


Moreover, based on several experimental studies, Chialant and Caramazza (1995) claim that morphological decompositionality is the result of both semantic and formal decompositionality. "Morphological information cannot only be regarded as part of the semantic representation of a lexical item but is also encoded along with the formal properties of the lexical unit at the lexical representation level"(p. 73). In the overview of Hebrew morphological studies, Bentin and Frost (1995) suggest that adult readers are aware of the morphological structure of words even when the morphemic constituents are not phonological units themselves, and that morphological analysis is necessary to activate the meaning of a morphologically complex word. All this constitutes enough evidence for the claim that the organization of a language lexicon includes morphological principles. Baayen, Burani, and Schreuder (1996) present evidence in Italian that even regular noun plurals may be represented as full-forms in the mental lexicon; however, frill-form representations do not block morphological processing. They show that, in fact, the combination of both full-form and constituent-morphemes representations speeds up lexical processing.

Psycholinguistic studies have drawn a picture that morphological processing in the mental lexicon is not an all-or-none issue. Whole-word forms and morphological units are both in the mental lexicon. Morphological structure plays a very important role in word recognition, language comprehension and production, and it helps native speakers memorize, understand and use the vocabulary of a language. 2.2.2 Morphological Structure and Language Learning

The results of experimental data on vocabulary learning strongly suggest that morphemes do play a role in word learning. A longitudinal study by Carlisle (1995),






24

which was designed to investigate the development of morphological awareness of children in the early school years (from kindergarten through second grade), has found that kindergartners have trouble with a morphological awareness task, but first and second graders show significantly better morphological and phonological awareness on word analysis and reading comprehension tests. The results of this study indicate that there is a relationship between morphological awareness and reading achievement in the early school years. Carlisle (1995) argues: "morphological awareness may be particularly important for older students because morphological decomposition and problem-solving provide one way to understand and learn the large number of derived words used in the books they read" (p. 205). Schenck (1982), in the same manner, describes English vocabulary strategy performances of 72 students (adults) at four different levels. This study reveals the fact that memorization, application and generalization of 'word part' (morpheme) information are significant predicators of vocabulary score performance. It suggests that "knowing sets of word part rules, application of those rules and generalizations from those rules were the over-all predictors of good or poor scores on the criterion vocabulary test" (Schenck 1982, p. 94). Sandra (1994a, 1994b) also shows that the young adults he studied learned derived words with familiar root morphemes and developed a root-based memory encoding.

With a simple simulation of language learning, Smith (1995) examined whether acquiring complex morphemic systems poses formidable problems for the learner, He claims: 1) morphemic structures project in a systematic way; 2) linguistic features help the learner, and a totally regular pattern is learned more quickly than irregularities or a set of patterns without morphemic structure; 3) morphemic processing may be an area where






25

individual differences are substantial, and these differences might be derived mainly from linguistic experience and education; 4) generalization to new instances is patchy, unless sufficient examples are given of the productivity of a given morpheme; and 5) the irregularity in a set of patterns affects the ways the entire set of patterns is represented and processed. Furthermore, the simulations in a study by Gasser (1996) shows that "performance on word recognition and production tasks is facilitated when there has been previous training on a morphologically similar task" (p. I 11).

In summary, studies have shown that morphological structure is directly related to vocabulary performance and reading achievement. Native speakers of different languages are all aware of morphological structure and apply it to their vocabulary learning and memorization. By using such knowledge, native speakers can learn a large number of derived words quickly.

2.2.3 Morphological Structure in Chinese Learning Process

Words in Modem Chinese are mainly monomorphemic or bimorphernic ones developed from monomorphernic words of Classical Chinese by morpheme combination or affix addition. Most morphemes in Chinese are monosyllabic, and each syllable in turn is represented by a character in writing. As the Chinese character is the only unit of written representation, word boundaries are not explicitly marked at all in written texts. Thus, the concept of word in Chinese is always fuzzy. Furthermore, in the view of cognitive economy, the character is perhaps the most convenient unit for storage since more than a million Chinese words are made up of about 4,500 characters (Wang 1986). Because of this, Hoosain (1992) suggests that the mental storage of morphemes in Chinese plays a greater role than is the case in English, and "it would be likely that a greater proportion of






26

multimorphemic words in Chinese (compared with English) is not necessarily listed in the lexicon but instead have meanings arrived at in the course of language use" (p. 126). Moreover, the unique features of Chinese can probably affect processing strategies used in reading Chinese texts. Characters perform the role of basic perceptual units in Chinese reading in much the same way as words do in alphabetic reading (Chen 1992).

In a study by Zhang and Peng (1992), the hypothesis that representations of Chinese words are stored in morphologically decomposed form was investigated through three lexical decision experiments in which character frequency, word frequency and morphological structure were the stimuli. The study suggests that all two-character words are stored in decomposed form, and that morphological structure information, which includes the word type, the grammatical class of the characters, the distance and the strength between the two characters in the lexicon, etc., determines the relationship of the two characters. In coordinative (parallel) words, the two characters are equally important; but in modifier-head words, the character of the head is the main morpheme. Meanwhile, the frequency of the word and that of the character will also affect the storage of Chinese words. In another study, however, Zhou and Marslen-Wilson (1994) argue that Chinese disyllabic words are represented as wholes in the mental lexicon. Nonetheless, they also conclude that the morphological structure of disyllabic words is represented at both the word and morpheme levels. Based on previous studies, Liu and Peng (1997) present a processing model of Chinese compounds as shown in Figure 2. 1.






27





meaning


whole word


morpheme


orthographic


input


Figure 2.1 The Processing Framework of Chinese Compounds (Liu and Peng 1997, p. 229)



This model suggests that the whole word and the morpheme overlap to some extent at the meaning level: when the activation level of the whole word meaning starts to rise, the morphemes of transparent words will receive facilitative feedback from the word meaning and, on the other hand, will send more activation to the whole word meaning. All these studies indicate that morphological structure does play a more important role in Chinese language processing than in the case of English or some other languages.


2.3 Theoretical Implications


The theories of SLA and the results of psycholinguistics studies discussed above directly and indirectly point to what should be taken into serious consideration in the vocabulary pedagogy of CFL/CSL and how language pedagogy can help learners acquire vocabulary effectively. The theories provide the following guidelines:






28

1. Vocabulary acquisition can be accelerated by formal instruction that is carefully

designed to match the developmental stage and learning style of the learner, and by offering word rules with sufficient opportunities for interaction and

language data exposure.

2. Vocabulary acquisition can be successfully carried out by training in applying

various learning strategies. Learners should be led to focus on both the form and meaning of language input, and to analyze, generalize and use rules

derived from the input.

3. Psycholinguistic studies have shown that morphemes play an important role in

mental lexicon and word-learning processing. Given these findings, word structure and morphological rules will accelerate the vocabulary learning progress. Knowledge of morphology should be an important part of

vocabulary instruction and must not be ignored in vocabulary teaching in CFL. 4 Modem Chinese vocabulary is morpheme-based. A lot of the lexical items are

compounds. Studies have found that morphological structure is more important to vocabulary recognition and lexicon memory in Chinese than in many other languages. This means that the characteristics of Chinese words should be fully utilized in pedagogy in order to facilitate Chinese vocabulary learning. Moreover, since written texts of Chinese appear in largely morphemic characters, the latter should also play an important role in Chinese

vocabulary pedagogy and acquisition.




Iq










CHAPTER 3
CHARACTER RADICAL AND WORD STRUCTURE IN CHINESE WORD INFERRING BY NATIVE SPEAKERS



3.1 Research Questions and Assumptions


As discussed in Chapter Two, psycholinguistics studies strongly indicate that morphology plays an important role in mental lexicon and word recognition. This claim applies to Chinese even more truly (Hoosain 1992) because most words in the language are morphologically analyzable compounds, which are written mainly in self-contained morphemic characters without any marking for word boundary. Experimental studies also show that Chinese morphological structure is present in mental lexicon and that it serves important functions in word recognition and comprehension. Despite all this, there has not been a single study on how frequently morphological structure is used in word inference, and whether or not Chinese speakers usually derive the meaning of an unfamiliar word by morphological structure and by the meaning of the component morphemes. Furthermore, there are other unanswered questions. For example, what kind of words can be understood easily through morphological structure and what kinds of word meaning are difficult to be inferred? When and how can word meaning be inferred correctly? When is context information necessary to guess a word meaning? Is the frequency of this inference affected by the education level of the speaker? More research is needed to find the answers to these important questions.



29






30

Based on previous psycholinguistics studies and observations of what native Chinese speakers usually do, this study proposes the following hypotheses:

1. Native Chinese speakers can infer the meanings of unfamiliar words without

consulting any dictionary in their reading.

2. The strategies used in the inference involve the use of morphological

knowledge in the mind of the native speaker, even though s/he is not explicitly

taught such knowledge and skill.

3. The knowledge of character structure, especially the information on meaning

from the radical, is an important part of the strategies to infer the meaning of

an unknown character.

4. Chinese speakers, just like native speakers of other languages, can use

contextual information to infer the meanings of unfamiliar words.

In order to test these hypotheses, a series of investigations were conducted in this study. The results of these investigations also provided the answers to the following research questions:

1. When do native Chinese speakers infer the meaning of a compound word by

word structure?

2. Can native speakers also infer the meaning of a mono-morphernic word

through the radical of a Chinese character?

3. Do they infer the meanings of unfamiliar words more frequently as they

become more educated?

4. What kind of words have meanings that can be more easily inferred?






31

5. When is contextual information necessary to infer a word meaning? The investigations and the results are discussed in the following sections.

3.2 Research Design


3.2.1 Data Collection

A series of investigations, which include a survey, a word test and an interview, were conducted. The survey was first designed in this research to collect data on what native Chinese speakers think they do when they encounter an unfamiliar word in their reading. Information on the participants' backgrounds, such as educational levels and their usual reading materials, were also solicited. Then, a follow-up word test was designed to check against the results of the survey and to see if native speakers can truly infer the meanings of unfamiliar words by radicals, morphological knowledge and context. This part of the data collection (i.e. the survey and the word test) was mostly done in Mainland China in 1998. Finally, an interview was undertaken to seek detailed facts about when and how a word meaning is inferred. The interview was done at the University of Florida.

3.2.2 The Participants

The participants of the survey and test were 184 Chinese native speakers at different educational levels. Among them, 54 were junior middle school students from two different classes in the same school, 53 were high school students from two different classes in another school, 53 were students with different majors in a teacher training school and 24 were randomly selected graduate students studying in the United States. Each student was given the survey first and then was asked to take part in the-paper-and-






32

pencil word test. Most of the participants worked under monitors inside classrooms to make sure that they finished the survey and test according to the requirement.

The participants of the interview were fifteen Chinese graduate students in different majors at the University of Florida. Among them, two were from Taiwan and others were from Mainland China. They were randomly selected, and were asked to infer the meanings of the test words one by one and to describe how they reached their answers.

3.2.3 The Survey

Questions about how native Chinese speakers recognize unfamiliar words were designed for a survey to find out about strategies that the subjects thought they use in their Chinese-word recognition, together with information on participants' educational levels and other backgrounds. Questions were either multiple-choice or open-ended in order to get as much information as possible (see Appendix A). Since participants usually do not like to spend much time answering a survey, the survey was designed to take no more than 5-10 minutes.

3.2.4 The Word Test

In spite of the usefulness of a survey, a technique of high-quantity data collection, there are weaknesses as well. One of the weaknesses is in the possibility that the collected answers may be merely what the participants think they do but may not be what they really do. The answers should be checked for reliability and validity against the information obtained in a more objective manner. Moreover, the survey cannot tell us what strategy was used in inferring a word meaning and when it was used, or if the meaning inference






33

was correct or not. For these reasons, a word-test was designed and presented to the participants after they answered the survey.

In the test, the participants were required to infer the meanings of some words without consulting any dictionary or reference material. They were asked to write down a general meaning (e.g. a kind of animal, plant) or a detailed meaning of each test word if they could. They were also asked to put a question mark "?" beside an unfamiliar word and then to write down the possible meaning(s) they could infer. If no meaning could be inferred, a blank was left. The test words were either Classical Chinese, new terms just appearing in modem Chinese, dialectal terms, nomenclature (i.e. terms only used in specific professional areas like chemistry, botany, medical science, etc.), or words used only in Taiwan but not occurring in the Chinese of Mainland China. All of them were supposedly unfamiliar to the participants. The types of test terms were either monomorphemic words or compounds. They were arranged randomly in the test. The character radicals of the mono-morphemic words either presented some hint of the meaning categories (e.g. plant, an action of hands, animal) or did not link with the meaning directly. The structure types of the compounds were varied, including these of modifier-head, verb-object, parallel and noun-verb. Some of the compounds were opaque, and their meanings were not directly related to their roots or component morphemes. The test consisted of two parts. Part A was a list of 30 individual words without any context. Part B contained 15 test words placed in sentences in order to check whether or not context information is helpful to infer the meanings. Nine of the 15 words also appeared in Part A in order to verify if the meaning was more likely to be inferred when the context is present. Thus, the participants were asked to do the word list first, and then move to






34


the second part. After they moved to or finished Part B, they were not permitted to move back to check or revise the answers of Part A.

Before the survey and word-test were actually used in the field, both were tested in a pilot project. Then they were revised to delete some problematic items.

3.2.5 The Interview

Subsequent to the above tasks, a verbal-report interview was conducted to check on the results of the survey and the word test. The technique of a verbal-report can infer the cognitive processes of participants involved in some learning tasks and can reveal information that might otherwise be hidden or lost from the researcher. Since dictionary use has always been emphasized in traditional school education in China, the participants might have tried to avoid inferring the meanings of unfamiliar words when they were answering the questions. This would affect the accuracy of the study, and the results would not reflect the facts in the word recognition process of native Chinese speakers. Furthermore, the answers of the survey and word test cannot tell how participants reached a right or wrong meaning, and what kind of clue they mostly paid attention to in the process of lexical inference. The interview was intended to find out possible variables that might affect the accuracy of the findings and the cognitive processes of participants.

The same questions of the survey and test were used in the interview. Interviewees were asked to guess at the meaning of each word in the test as much as they could and to think aloud about what hint or clue they had adopted to get the meaning. All the answers were written down by the interviewer immediately for subsequent analysis. The results were compared with those of the survey and word test.






35

3.3 Results


The results of the survey, the interview and the two parts of the word-test were calculated separately and compared with each other. The answers of the participants at different educational levels were also calculated separately in order to see if there were any differences between these groups. Details of the results are given in the following subsections.

3.3.1 Results of the Survey

Table 3.1 presents the results of strategy-use reported in the survey. Group A are the students in a junior middle school, Group B are the high school students, Group C are the students in the teachers training school, and Group D are the graduate students. The designation "Dictionary" means that a dictionary was most likely used when an unfamiliar word appeared in reading. "Surmise" means that the meaning of the word was most likely inferred at when an unfamiliar word came about. "Both" means that both inferencing and consulting a dictionary were employed. Generally inferencing was first, and, if not successful, consulting a dictionary was accomplished. "Ignore" means no attempt was made to arrive at the meaning. The numbers and percentages are listed under the headings below.

The results in Table 3.1 indicate that guessing the meaning of an unknown word was frequently used by native Chinese speakers. In the data, a total of 67 participants (36.4%) reported that they only surmise the meanings of unfamiliar words without the help of any dictionary or other means. Sixty (32.6%) of them reported that they usually guessed at word meanings first and, if not successful, tried to find the answers in a






36

dictionary. In other words, about 69% of participants (127) reported that they would guess at the meaning when an unfamiliar word appeared in their reading, though about half of them would also consult a dictionary. This percentage (69%) is very high. The real percentage could be even higher. Since students are always encouraged to use dictionaries in Chinese schools, especially in primary and secondary schools, some of the participants in the survey might have been reluctant to admit that they did not use a dictionary. In the interview, however, 100% of the interviewees reported that they would guess at the meaning of an unfamiliar word first, and dictionaries were seldom used (cf the results of the interview).


Table 3.1 Strategy-use reported in the survey Group Dictionary Surmise Both Ignore Total
Group A 34 (63%) 4 (7.4%) 16 (29.6%) 0 54
Group B 7 (13.2%) 27 (51%) 19 (35.8%) 0 53
Group C 14 (26.4%) 15 (28.3%) 23 (43.4%) 1 (1.9%) 53
Group D 1 (4.2%) 21 (87.5%) 2 (8.3%) 0 24

Total 56 (30.4%) 67 (36.4%) 60(32.6%) 1 (0.6%) 184



Table 3.1 also shows that the groups at different educational levels usually adopted different methods to arrive at a word meaning. Among the students of the junior middle school, 63% of them reported that they would use a dictionary to look for the meaning of an unfamiliar Chinese word. The percentages for other groups are much lower. For Groups B and C, i.e. the high school students and the teacher trainees, the percentages are 13.2% and 26.4%, respectively. Only one student in Group D reported that a dictionary was usually used. In terms of inferencing, however, only 7.4% of group A reported






37


positively. The other groups reported much higher percentages. For Groups B and C, 5 1% and 28.3 % of them reported, respectively, that they mainly guessed at the meaning of an unknown word. For Group D, as high as 87.5% reported doing so.

The results show that the method of arriving at word meanings co-varies with the educational level of the native speaker. The lower the educational level of a Chinese speaker is, the more likely a dictionary is used. The higher the educational level of the speaker is, the more likely other strategies are used. We can rearrange the table according to educational levels and use a chi-square test to check whether the difference occured just by chance or is indeed statistically significant. Since Groups B and C, the high school students and the teacher trainees, are at the about same educational level, they are calculated together.

Table 3.2 The chi-square test of the strategy-use in different groups

Group A Group B & C Group D Total

Dictionary 34 21 1 nl5

Inferring 4 42 21 ni2=67

Total n1=38 nj2=63 n3=22 N=123

E= ninj /N, X 2=Z(O-E)2/E=48.27 at=( ni 1)( nj 1)=2 p=3.3 x1011 < 0.001

Note: E= expected number, 0 =observed number, (x = degree of freedom p = the probability of null hypothesis


In the above test, the probability of the null hypothesis (i.e. no significant difference between test groups) is very low (p=3 .3 x 1 T1 ) and is much less than 0.1% (0.00 1). This means that the chance of having a significant difference between these groups is more than 99.999%, and that the null hypothesis can be rejected. The result of






38

the chi-square test demonstrates that strategy-use varies with the educational level of native Chinese speakers. It is confirmed that the higher the educational level of the native speaker is, the more inferring will be used to reach the meaning of an unknown word.

Context, character radicals and word-structure were variably listed by individuals as the information sources by which to infer the meanings of unfamiliar words. The numbers and percentages of each information source are summarized in Table 3.3. Table 3.3 List of using different knowledge to infer a word meaning
Group A Group B Group C Group D
n7--54 n--53 n--53 n--24

Context 48(89%) 43(81.1%) 46(87%) 24(100%)

Radical 34(63%) 20(37.7%) 36(68%) 18(75%)

Word
structure 28(52%) 18(34%) 11(20.75%) 17(70.83%)



As presented in the table, most of the participants in each group reported that contextual information was used to infer word meaning. The percentage in each group is more than 80%, and it even reaches 100% in Group D. This shows that contextual information is very important in meaning inferring. Many of them also reported that the knowledge of radicals was also used frequently. Compared with contextual information and the knowledge of radical, word-structure, however, was reported to be used less frequently. The reason may be that many participants in the survey took word-structure for contextual knowledge, since Chinese is printed in characters without explicitly marked word boundary. The results of the word test and the interview show that word-structure knowledge is actually used frequently in meaning inferring. This will be discussed below.






39

3.3.2 Results of the Word Test

As stated before, the test is divided into two parts. Part A consists of 30 words, and Part B consists of 15 words. Each of the words is worth one point and the whole test is worth 45 points in total. Participants were asked to mark all the unfamiliar words with a "?" or circle all the words familiar to them. The participants were instructed to give meanings of both the familiar and unfamiliar words. One point was awarded if a correct meaning, either general or detailed, was given for an unfamiliar word. Since the test was designed to find whether the subject can infer the meanings of unfamiliar words, no point was awarded for familiar words, even if a right answer was given. To most of the participants, all the test words were unfamiliar. Fewer than twenty of them marked only one or two words as familiar, but these exceptions were ignored in the statistics. That is, for a few participants the sum of points is less than 45. But those cases were not taken into consideration because the difference is so small that it is negligible. The results of the word test are summarized in Tables 3.4, 3.5 and 3.6, respectively, for Part A, Part B, and the whole test. Figures 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 diagrammatically describe the respective tables in curves.

The tables and figures show that more participants in Group A got lower grades than those in the other groups. For most participants of Groups B, C and D, the meaning of 37%-50% of the words (from 11-20) could be inferred in Part A and those of 73%100% (from I I 15) words could be correctly reached in Part B.

Table 3.7 displays the mean (i.e. average grade) of each group. The numbers indicate that, on average, the participants were successful in guessing the meanings of






40


37% of the words in Part A, 77% of the words in Part B. In total, about 50% of the words' meanings were correctly inferred in the whole test. Table 3.4 Results of test Part A Score Range Group A Group B Group C Group D Total
n-54 n-51I* n--53 n=24 N=182
1-5 (3%-17%) 22 (40.7%) 3 (6%) 2 (3.%) 0 27 (14.8%)

6-10 (20%-33%) 26(48.1%) 17(33.3%) 5 (9,4%) 3 (12.5%) 51(28%)

11-15 (37%-50%) 5(9.3%) 16(31.4%) 31(58.5%) 8(33.3%) 60(33%)

16-20 (53%-67%) 1(1.9%) 14(27.5%) 15 (28.3%) 12(50%) 42 (23.1%)

21-25 (70%-83%) 0 1(2%) 0 1(4.2%) 2(1.1%)

26-30 (87%-100%) 0 0 0 0 0
*Note: There were 53 participants in this group, but the answers of two participants did not follow the instructions and their answers were thus excluded from the statistics.



25

20GruD

15 Go

10

5 Group A

to~ Ch .. N ) ~ q I,,IA
Number of Participants



Figure 3.1 Results of test Part A







41



Table 3.5 Results of test Part B

Score Range Group A Group B Group C Group D Total
n=54 n=51 n=53 n=24 N=182

1-5 (7%-33%) 22 (40.7%) 0 1(1.9%) 0 23 (12.6%)


6-10 (40%-67%) 28 (52%) 3 (5.9%) 3 (5.7%) 0 34 (18.7%)


11-15 (73%-100%) 4(7.4%) 48(94.1%) 49(92.5%) 24(100%) 125(68.7%)

16

14 GruD r

12GruB

10

06VGrOup C

6 Group A
4 2 0


Number of Participants





Figure 3.2 Results of test Part B






40
35-- Group D


30 -- Group C

25
OU 20 Group B

15

10 GopA

5

0 111 I I: I II I: : : : : : : : : : : : :

Number of Participants


Figure 3.3 Results of the whole test






42


Table 3.6 Results of the whole test
Score Range Group A Group B Group C Group D Total
n--54 n-51 n=53 n--24 N=182
1-5 (2.2%-11.1%) 5(9.3%) 0 0 0 5(2.7%)

6-10 (13.3%-22.2%) 17(31.5%) 0 0 0 17(9.3%)

11-15 (24.4%-33.3%) 14(26%) 0 1(1.9%) 0 15(8.2%)

16-20 (35.6%-44.4%) 16(29.6%) 8(15.7%) 3(5.7%) 0 27(14.8%)

21-25 (46.7%-55.6%) 1(1.9%) 18(35.3%) 15 (28.3%) 5 (20.8%) 39 (21.4%) 26-30 (57.8%-66.7%) 1(1.9%) 14(27.5%) 25 (47.2%) 9 (37.5) 49 (27%) 31-35 (68.9%-77.8%) 0 10(20%) 9(17%) 10 (41.7%) 29 (16%)

36-40 (80%-88.9%) 0 1(2%) 0 0 1(0.55%)

41-45 (91.1%-100%) 0 0 0 0 0



Table 3.7 Means (average scores) of the word test Group A Group B Group C Group D Total n=54 n=51 n--53 n--24 n--182
Part A 6.67 12.63 13.77 15.04 11
(22%) (42%) (46%) (50%) (37%)

Part B 6.19 12.76 12.94 13.75 11.5
(41%) (85%) (86%) (92%) (77%)

Whole 12.9 25.4 26.7 28.8 22.5
(29%) 152%) 59no ... 64%) 50%)


It is true that the test is limited in scope due to the small number of test words and the nature of the words. The results, therefore, do not accurately reflect the actual percentage of times that native speakers use different strategies to reach the meaning of an unfamiliar word in real life. Nevertheless, the results at least suggest that native speakers






43


do infer the meanings of many unfamiliar words on the basis of contextual information, their knowledge of character radicals and their knowledge of word structure. The results of Part A in the test reveal that approximate meanings of unfamiliar words can be reached by means of character radicals and word structure, but the rate of correct answers is somewhat low (37% on average) when only the knowledge of character radicals or word structure is applied. When contextual information is added and combined with the other two, the meaning of an unknown word could be reached in most cases, as is shown by the high scores of Part B (77% on average). Obviously, there is a high correlation between the availability of contextual information and the chances of correct inference.

On the other hand, all the tables and figures indicate that the higher the educational level of a native speaker, the higher the scores s/he can receive. This fact is clearly reflected by the curves in the three figures above: Group A at the lowest educational level is always at the lowest position, Group D at the highest level of education is at the top, Groups B and C at comparable levels of education are in the middle. The results also match the corresponding results of the survey (see section 3.3.1 and Table 3.2). The facts clearly indicate that school education does affect native speakers' ability to guess the meaning of a new word by means of 1) the radical knowledge of character, 2) morphological structure of the word, and 3) the context in which it appears.

To ascertain that the figures are significant, the test of ANOVA was used to examine the differences between the means of the four groups in the whole test, and to decide whether those differences are likely to happen by chance or by the variance of educational levels (see Table 3.8).






44


For 3/178 degrees of freedom, the F-ratio should be 3.91 for a 0.01 level of probability. As presented in Table 3.8, the F-ratio in this test is much greater (54.5 > 3.91). This means that the probability of the null hypothesis, i.e. that differences happened by chance, is less than 1% and can be rejected. Therefore, the differences of the four groups are significant, and it can be assumed that these differences are due to variance in educational levels.


Table 3.8 ANOVA test of the four groups

Group A Group B Group C Group D Totals

n 54 51 53 24 N=182,K=4

EX 695 1295 1415 691 4096

yX2 10487 34205 38851 20325 107468

(yX)2 483025 1677025 2002225 477481 16777216

SST=XX-(X)2 /N = 15825.5

SSB= [QZ:X1)2 / n, + (IX2)2 / n2 + (EX3 )2 / n3 + (EX4)2 / n4] (EX)2 / N =7318
F= MSB/ MSW = [SSBI (K-1)]/ [(SST SSB)I (N K)] = 54.5 > 3.91

d.f B =K -1=3, d.f W =N -K= 178, p <0.01

Note: N= number of participants, K = number of groups, X = grade
SST (the sum of squares total) = the total amount of variation,
S SB (the sum of squares between the groups) =variability between groups
MSB = the mean square between groups
MSW = the mean square within groups
F = Fisher-ratio
d.f B =degree of freedom between groups
d&f W =degree of freedom within groups


3.3.3 Results of the Interview

The interview results are summarized in Tables 3.9 and 3. 10. The goals of the interview were to find out how native speakers of Chinese guess the meaning of an






45


unfamiliar word and to check on the results of the survey and the word test. The interviewees were fifteen Chinese graduate students in the U.S.A, with thirteen of them from mainland China and two of them from Taiwan. All the interview questions were the same as in the survey and the word test in order to verify the data collected by these two research techniques.


Table 3.9 Results of the interview
Method Dictionary Surmise Total

Number 0 15(100%) 15

Test Part A Part B Whole Test
point=30 point=14 point=44

Mean 15.5 (51.8%) 13.73(98%) 29.3 (66.5%)

*One word in Part B was familiar to many interviewees and was dropped from the score.

In the interview, 100% of the interviewees reported that they mostly infer the meanings of unfamiliar words. On average, the meaning of more than 50% of the words in Part A were inferred correctly, and about 98% of them in Part B were inferred correctly. Since Part A was designed to separately test the usefulness of character radicals and word structure in lexical recognition, the words of different types were listed. They include mono-morphemic words, modify-head compounds, verb-noun compounds, noun-verb compounds and parallel compounds. The average score that interviewees received for each type is listed in Table 3. 10. The average number each method was used (i.e. to use radical knowledge, word structure, or both of them to infer a word meaning) are also shown in the table.






46

In Part A, there were altogether eleven mono-morphemic words and nineteen compounds. For the mono-morphemic words, only radical knowledge could be used to infer their meanings, and about 43% of them were guessed correctly on average. For the compounds, either morphological structure or radicals or both could be used to infer the meanings with, and about 57% of them were guessed correctly. The results suggest that the meanings of unfamiliar compounds are easier to infer than those of new monomorphemic words. To make sure that the difference is not due to chance, a t-test was used to check the average scores of interviewees for mono-morphemic words and compounds. The probability of the null hypothesis, i.e. there is no difference between the two groups, is less than 1% (p=0.0047 < 0.01). Thus the null hypothesis can be rejected. This means that the score difference due to word type is significant, and that the meanings of Chinese compounds are truly easier to infer than those of mono-morphemic words.



Table 3.10 Average scores to different words and average times of method use in
Part A.
Single M-H V-N N-V V-V All Compounds
n=l1 n=13 n=2 n-1 n=3 n=19

Mean 4.7 7.7 0.93 0.47 1.73 10.83
(43%) (59%) (47%) (47%) (58%) (57%) p= 0.0047


Radical 10 1 0 0 0.5 1.5

WS 0 6 2 1 2 11

Both 0 4 0 0 0 4

Note: Single = mono-morphemic word, M-H = modify-head compound, V-N = verbnoun compound, N-V = noun-verb compound, V-V = verb-verb compound, WS = word structure, p= probability of the null hypothesis in t-test.






47

In the test, as the number of different types of compounds is highly limited, the results cannot show which type of compound is easier to infer than others by the radicals or by the word structure. There is a tendency, however, as shown in Table 3. 10, that the meanings of modifier-head compounds and V-V parallel compounds (the Vs can be action verbs or state verbs) are more successfully guessed than those of other types. The reasons are discussed in section 3.4.

3.4 Analysis and Discussion


The results of the investigations show that native speakers of Chinese frequently infer the meanings of unfamiliar words in their reading, even though they are not encouraged to do so when they are in school. The knowledge of character radicals and word structure, as well as contextual information, is used by native speakers in inferring. The more knowledge or information available, the more successful the inferring will be. In Part B of the test, where words were given in contexts, participants could combine together the knowledge of character radicals, the knowledge of word structure and contextual information to infer the meaning of each test word. The results show that, on average, 77% of the word meanings in Part B were inferred correctly (see Table 3.7). The percentage for the same part is even higher in the interview, reaching 98% (see Table 3.9). If contextual information is not available, as in Part A of the test, the percentage of success is lower. Only about 35% of the test words in that part were inferred correctly in the test (see Table 3.7), and the percentage is 51.8% in the interview (see Table 3.9). The percentage may be even lower if only the knowledge of radicals or the knowledge of word structure alone is available. In the interview, only 43% of mono-morphemic words were






48

inferred successfully (see Table 3.9), because only knowledge of radicals could be consulted.

The results of both the survey and the word test reveal that inferring the meaning of a word is affected by the educational level of the participants. I-Eghly educated speakers do more inferring than less highly educated speakers, and they also do it with a higher rate of success. The reasons may be as follows:

1. A highly educated speaker may have more knowledge of word structure than a

less educated speaker. While the knowledge of character radicals is usually introduced in primary school, the knowledge of word structure, is seldom taught in schools in either Mainland China or Taiwan. Native speakers of Chinese usually accrue this knowledge by themselves through the use of the language. The higher the education a speaker receives, the more experience of reading and writing s/he is likely to have; therefore, the more word structure knowledge s/he may have acquired. It has been found that Chinese fifth graders at an elementary school could use some morphological knowledge to get the meanings of some unknown words (Shu et al, 1995); however, the knowledge acquisition of Chinese word structure is probably completed after a

native speaker has completed middle school.

2. A speaker with a higher educational level would have fewer unfamiliar words

and more background knowledge in reading; therefore, more contextual

information can be used to infer the meaning of an unfamiliar word.

3. A more educated speaker could have a better ability of deducing a conclusion

from separate pieces of information.






49


Furthermore, the results of the interview show a tendency: the meanings of some types of compounds, such as modifier-head compounds and verb-verb compounds, could be inferred more easily than those of other types.

The modifier-head (M-H) compound is a common and productive type of words in Modem Chinese. The type is very familiar to native speakers. On average, the meanings of 59% of such compounds were inferred correctly in the interview, and the percentage is higher than those of other types of compounds (see Table 3. 10). In the interview, if the meaning of the head was known, the general meaning of a whole M-H compound would be reached easily, even if the meaning of the modifier was unclear. For example, in the interview, thirteen interviewees inferred correctly that A W ) xi-bing-wu (western-cakehouse, 'bakery') is "bakery shop", "cake shop" or "the place of making cakes and bread"; twelve of them answered that the meaning of 4 V, dan-min (Dan-people, 'a kind of boatman in southern China') is "a kind of people" or "a minority"; and all of them inferred successfully that the meaning of 44 ru-cao (mat-grass 'straw for making mat') is "a kind of grass" or "the straw used on bed", even though they did not know the first character. When the head was unfamiliar, the meaning of the whole M-H compound might also be inferred correctly by the character radicals. For instance, #tg* tiao-nan (jump-nymph 'the nymph of a locust') was guessed successfully by fourteen interviewees as "a kind of insect which can jump"~ or "a small jumping insect". A!*" was an unfamiliar character to all of the interviewees, but its radical t~ chong ('insect, worm') hints that this character could mean 'a kind of insect'.

A V-V compound is also termed 'parallel compound'. The two verbal morphemes in such a compound usually are synonyms or have similar meanings, and the






50


meaning of such a compound is generally similar to the individual meanings of its components. Therefore, if the meaning of either of the components is known, the meaning of the compound is easy to infer. In the interview, thirteen interviewees, correctly indicated that t1j sheng-huang (immature-waste 'virgin soil, uncultivated land') is "immature land", "the land without plants", "a remote place" or "uncultivate, waste". In the word 0 i yi-yi (move-translate, 'translate; translation'), the first character was unfamiliar to all the interviewees, but eight participants still reached the right meaning of the compound as "translate", translation" or "explain, explanation"

The meanings of verb-noun (V-N) compounds and noun-verb (N-V) compounds, as shown by the results of the interview, may be more difficult to infer. There are two VN compounds listed in Part A: KX zhua-biao (grab-fat, 'to fatten') and W zhi-zi (plant-character, 'to set type for printing'). Only three interviewees arrived at the right meanings. Since the number of such compounds in the test was seriously limited (there are only two V-N compounds and one N-V compound), the result is not reliable. Perhaps the reason for the low success rate in the case of the compound All~ zhua-biao 'to fatten' is that the meaning of the compound is not directly related to the meanings of its components. For the compound Mj- zhi-zi 'to set type for printing', the reason could be that interviewees lacked the background knowledge of the special field where the word is used. Many interviewees thought it meant "to borrow a character", "to create a character", or "to type a character", all of which were close but not exactly correct. In this kind of situation, contextual information is needed. When goJPJ zhau-biao occurs in a sentence in Part B, all the interviewees reached the right meaning through the contextual information. Another example is an M-H compound tU su-qing (white-chime stone,






51


'jasmine'). Its meaning is metaphorical and thus opaque from the meanings of its components. When it was listed individually, it was incorrectly inferred by most of the interviewees as "a kind of chime stone" or "a kind of musical instrument", but none of them inferred the right meaning. When it appeared in a suggestive sentence in Part B, all of the interviewees, realized that it is a kind of flower.

As discussed above, when only the knowledge of character radicals could be used, the inference was less successful. Therefore, mono-morphemnic words (either monosyllabic or disyllabic) need the help of contextual information to infer the meanings correctly. The results of the test and the interview show that the knowledge of character radicals could be very helpful in inferring the approximate meaning of an unfamiliar word. In the interview, V, lie ('turn around, twist') was frequently inferred as "an action of hand" ( + means 'hand'), and 49 cha ('raft') was mostly answered as "an instrument made with wood" (.1is 'wood'). More than ten participants thought that XX fiiqu ('lotus') is "a plant" ( is a symbol of 'grass'), that HI diexie ('to walk with small steps') should be "an action of feet" ()Z is 'foot'), and that 0 jun ('river deer') could be "an animal like deer" (A is 'deer'). On the other hand, however, if only the knowledge of radicals is used, it may lead to an incorrect conclusion. For example, 4M chequ ('giant clam, tridacna') is a disyllabic but mono-morphemic word listed in both Part A and Part B of the word test. In Part A, none of the participants reached its correct meaning. Many of them just thought it was "an instrument made of stones" or "a stone-paved road or a canal". The reason is that they were misled by the radicals: EI 'stone', 4-' 'vehicle' and A 'canal, ditch'. Another example is the V-V compound !*4 meng-nie (sprout-tiller, 'to sprout') which was listed individually in Part A. In the interview, only five participants






52


arrived at the right meaning "to sprout" by the first character and the word structure, and others answered incorrectly, thinking that it "is a plant" by only noticing the radical -14'grass'. These results demonstrate that the knowledge of character radicals is important in inferring the meaning of an unfamiliar Chinese word, but it is more effective when combined with the knowledge of word structure and contextual information.

3.5 Conclusion


The results of the survey, the word test and the interview provide some answers to the questions raised at the beginning of this chapter:

1. Native Chinese speakers frequently infer the meanings of unfamiliar words in

their reading instead of consulting a dictionary.

2. The knowledge of character radicals and word structure as well as contextual

information form the basis from which native speakers infer a word's meaning.

3. The frequency and the successful rate of inferring the meaning of an unfamiliar

word are affected by two facts: a) the educational level of the native speaker, b) how much information and knowledge are applied. The higher the educational level a native speaker has, the more inference s/he uses and the more success s/he achieves; the more knowledge of character radicals, word structure and context are provided and used, the more frequent and successful

is the inferring.

4. The structural type of a word may also affect the success of its meaning

inferring. The meanings of the words with a common and productive






53

structure, such as modifier-head compounds and parallel compounds, can be

inferred more successfully and accurately.

5. The meaning of a mono-morphemic word or an opaque compound (i.e. its

meaning is opaque from its components) is usually difficult to infer in isolation,

and contextual information is needed to reach an accurate meaning.

6. Since the knowledge of Chinese word structure usually is not taught in school,

it is acquired naturally by native speakers themselves. In my investigations, the students in a junior middle school used such knowledge less and more unsuccessfully in meaning inference than all the other participants. Thus, the acquisition is probably completed after a speaker attains a middle school

education, or at an educational level corresponding to middle school.

The survey, the word test and the interviews in this research have yielded information that previous studies have not touched on. The results show that, through context, the knowledge of character radicals and the knowledge of word structure, a native speaker understands and learns a new word. This suggests that the knowledge of radical and word structure, as well as contextual information, is an important tool to help people learn Chinese words quickly and easily. Thus, in order to help L2 learners of Chinese acquire Chinese words more effectively, more easily and more quickly, this kind of knowledge should be incorporated into CFL/CSL pedagogy. This, combined with training in effective learning strategies, should greatly aid the acquisition of Chinese vocabulary by L2 learners.














CHAPTER 4
CHARACTER STRUCTURE AND WORD STRUCTURE IN NEW WORD RECOGNITION BY L2 LEARNERS


4.1 Research Questions


The psycholinguistics studies discussed in Chapter two have revealed that morphological structure in different languages is represented in the mental process of word recognition of native speakers. The results of Chapter three in this study also demonstrate that both Chinese character radicals and word structure are used by native speakers of Chinese to derive the meaning of an unfamiliar word, and that such knowledge is beneficial to their vocabulary learning.

Nevertheless, since the study of acquisition and pedagogy of Chinese as a second/foreign language is still very young, vocabulary learning strategies of CSL/CFL learners and the pedagogy of vocabulary acquisition have not yet attracted attention. It is not clear what strategies are adopted by L2 learners to acquire Chinese vocabulary, and, compared with native speakers, what differences exist in the acquisition process of CSL/CFL learners. It is generally believed that the knowledge of word structure is automatically acquired by learners themselves in the process of language study. Therefore, currently, the knowledge of character structure and the knowledge of Chinese word structure are seldom introduced in textbooks of CSL/CFL, and as a result, are not incorporated as an important component of classroom instruction. Morphological knowledge, in particular, is almost totally ignored, In fact, however, no research has ever 54






55

been done to show that L2 learners of Chinese actually acquire the knowledge of Chinese word structure by themselves. It is also unclear when such acquisition, if it occurs at all, is completed, or if such knowledge is also used by L2 learners of Chinese as a strategy of vocabulary learning.

The present research seeks to answer these questions. Moreover, this study will also try to ascertain if the knowledge of character structure/radicals and word structure can help CSL/CFL learners arrive at the meanings of unfamiliar words as it does for native speakers.

4.2 Research Design


During the years of my CSL/CFL teaching to students at different levels, I have noticed through a longitudinal observation that the knowledge of character radicals and word structure is rarely used by L2 learners in their process of learning Chinese words. This suggests that L2 learners perhaps acquire such knowledge very slowly if it is not taught to them. Since internal behaviors are not directly observable, whether or not L2 learners of Chinese have such knowledge can only be found out indirectly through other research methods. Thus, following the investigation of native Chinese speakers discussed in Chapter three, another investigation, which also includes a survey, a follow-up word test and an interview that has different contents, was designed and completed. The goal of the investigation was to discover what strategies are typically used by CSL/CFL learners in vocabulary learning, and if the knowledge of character radicals and word structure is also helpful to them. These results are analyzed and compared with the results found in






56


Chapter Three in order to decide whether or not such knowledge should be an important part of the pedagogy of CSL/CFL.

4.2.1 The Survey

First, a survey with twelve questions was designed and presented to participants. The questionnaire was to determine: 1) the proficiency level of each L2 learner, 2) the primary source from which they learn their Chinese vocabulary (i.e. from textbooks, outside reading, or any other source), 3) the strategies used in vocabulary learning, and 4) whether the learner has learned character radicals and word structure through formal instruction. Most of the questions were multiple choice. Some of them, such as the question about learning strategies, were open-ended in order to obtain as many different answers as possible.

A survey is a means of verbal report, so it can obtain information not available through observation. Critics of this research methodology have noted that answers to a questionnaire may not portray an accurate picture of how a participant really does in language learning (Cohen 1998, Chapter 3). For example, participants may report that they have used some learning strategies which, in fact, they did not use; or these strategies are only used in their LI but not in their L2. On the other hand, some learning strategies involve cognitive processing and are unconscious; thus, participants may not even realize they employed these learning strategies. These are some of the disadvantages of the survey method. In order to assure that the data collected are not only quantitative but also qualitatively sound, other means have to be used as complements.






57


4.2.2 The Word Test

In addition to the survey, a follow-up word test was designed and presented to the participants in order 1) to double-check the answers of the survey, 2) to find out if L2 learners of Chinese do have the knowledge of character radicals and word structure, and 3) to test if L2 learners of Chinese can also use the knowledge of character radicals and the knowledge of word structure to infer the meanings of unfamiliar words as native speakers do.

There were two parts in the test (see Appendix B). Part A contained eighteen Chinese words listed separately without any context. These test words were either monomorphemnic words or multimorphemic compounds. All the characters of the words consisted of some common radicals, such as "'grass', 'liquid', a 'foot', Fl 'mouth', I 'animal' or A 'bird'. The structure of each compound was either a modifier-head type or a parallel one (i.e. noun-noun or verb-verb), both of which are very common and productive word structures in Chinese. Words with the same radical were listed together. Part B contained sixteen test words. These words were arranged in ten separate sentences, and the context provided some information on the meaning of each word. Moreover, character radicals or morphemes also provided some information on the meanings of the test words. None of the test words appear in the first 5000-vocabulary list (i.e. 1,000 for the beginning level, 2,000 for the beginning-intermediate level, and 2,000 for the intermediate-advanced level) of Han-yy S/mi-pin fti-hui yy Han-zi DMn-#i D-gang <
and Characters at Different Proficiency Levels') (1992). In other words, according to the Criteria, the test words are not the required vocabulary before L2 learners of Chinese






58

reach the higher advanced level. Thus, it was assumed that these words were unfamiliar to the participants. Participants were required to infer the general meaning of each test word without consulting any dictionary and were instructed to put a question mark "T' beside each unfamiliar word.

In order to check whether all the questions were valid, the survey and the test were tried out in a pilot study. Both were revised before they were administered to a larger number of participants.

4.2.3 The Interview

Following the completion of the survey and the test, an interview was devised. Its goal was to discover detailed information about how L2 learners deal with unknown words and to confirm the results of the survey and the test. Except for a few questions, all of the questions of the interview were the same as in the survey and the test. The interviewees were asked to think out loud about how they guessed the meaning of each unfamiliar word. In order to observe whether or not the student might be able to do better when s/he was led to pay attention to character radicals, morphemes and contexts, some leading questions were asked by the interviewer. For example, when an interviewee could not determine on the meaning of a test word, the following questions would be asked: "Do you know the radical of the characters?", "Can you get any hint from the characters you do know?", or "Will you read the sentence again and see if you can get some information from the context?". All the interviews were tape recorded with the permission of the interviewees for subsequent transcription and analysis.






59


4.2.4 The Participants

Eighty-eight international students participated in the survey and the test. All were studying Chinese as their second/foreign language at three different universities. They were either at the intermediate level (i.e. enrolled in the second-year or the third-year Chinese classes) or the intermediate-advanced level (i.e. junior-advanced level, or in the first semester of the fourth-year Chinese class) of Chinese at the time that the survey and the test were taken. Among them, eighteen were students from a Czech university, 52 were international students from the College of International Culture Exchange of Nanjing Normal University in China, and eighteen were American students who were studying Chinese at the University of Florida (UF). The participants in the interview were nine UF students in their third or fourth year of Chinese language study. The interview was conducted after the survey and the test were completed. Since most of the questions in the interview were the same as those in the survey and the test, none of the interviewees took part in the survey or the test. Thus, all the interview questions were new ones to them and their answers were not affected by anything that might have happened in the survey or the test.

4.3 Results


The results of the survey, the two parts of the test, and the interview were calculated separately. These are presented in the following subsections. The results obtained from the participants with different Lls were also calculated separately in order to ascertain whether or not their learning strategies are affected by their Lls. Inorderto distinguish the difference between the participants with varying Chinese language levels,






60

the participants were separated into two groups in the reports: the intermediate level and the advanced level (but not a higher or senior advanced level).

4.3.1 Results of the Survey

Of the 88 participants who took part in the survey, 56 were at the intermediate level and 32 were at the advanced level. They reported their sources of Chinese vocabulary acquisition, their Chinese reading materials, their methods for memorizing new words, and their strategies for dealing with unfamiliar words in their reading. The results are presented in Tables 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 and 4.4.



Table 4.1 Sources of acquired words
Group Intermediate Level Advanced Level Total
n=56 n--32 N=88

Textbooks 46(82.14%) 22(68.75%) 68(77.27%)

Reading 5(8.93%) 3(9.4%) 8(9.1%)

T&R 4(7.14%) 4(12.5%) 8(9.1%)

Dictionary 1(1.8%) 3(9.4%) 4(4.5%)

X 2 test of the two groups p=0.293>0.05

Note: T & R= textbooks and other reading

As shown in table 4. 1, the participants reported that they acquired Chinese words mainly from the textbooks they used. Only a few students (8, about 9. 1 % of the total) reported that they learned words from textbooks and other readings like newspapers or fiction novels. Another eight students reported their vocabulary was acquired mainly from






61

Table 4.2 Materials of Chinese reading
Group Intermediate Level Advanced Level Total
n=56 n--32 N=88

Textbooks only 44(78.6%) 8(25%) 52(59,1%)

Textbooks and
others (newspapers, 12(21.4%) 24(75%) 36(40.9%)
literature works, etc.)

X 2 test of the two groups P=8.66 x 10-7<0.05


their reading outside of class. Dictionaries were also used as a main source of vocabulary learning, but the percentage (4.5%) is insignificant and can be ignored. The results of this survey indicate that L2 learners of Chinese perceive their textbooks to be very important in vocabulary acquisition. Most students, in both the intermediate and advanced levels, believed their newly acquired Chinese words were mainly from their textbooks. The result of a Chi-square test shows that there is not a significant difference between these two groups (the probability of the null hypothesis is larger than 5% and cannot be rejected). Table 4.2 also shows that Chinese textbooks are truly a very important source (if not the main one) from which L2 learners acquire vocabulary, especially when learners are at the intermediate level. Textbooks were reported as reading material by all of the participants, and 78.6% of the students at the intermediate level reported that Chinese textbooks are their only source of reading materials. The result of a Chi-square test shows that the probability of the null hypothesis (i.e. no difference between the test groups) is very small and can be rejected. Thus, the difference between the two groups is significant. This only means that, besides textbooks, the advanced level students read more other materials than the intermediate students did. Even so, textbooks were still their most important reading






62


materials and the main resource from which they acquired words (68.75%, see Table 4. 1). If these results are accurate, the number of vocabulary items introduced, the arrangement of vocabulary and the method and amount of vocabulary practice should be taken into serious consideration in textbook design, especially for students at the intermediate level and above.



Table 4.3 Methods of memorizing new words Intermediate Level Advanced Level Total n--56 n=32 N=88

Individual 47(83.93%) 27(84.38%) 74(84.1%)

Morpheme Group 9(16.07%) 5(15.62%) 14(16%)

X 2 test of the two groups p=0.95 > 0.05



Table 4.3 presents the methods used for memorizing new words. Only fourteen students reported that they adopted morphological knowledge to help them memorize new words. The method they used was to group the words containing the same morpheme or characters together for memorization. The other students, however, just memorized each new word individually when they come across one. The result of a Chi-square test shows that there is no difference of strategy use between the two groups (the probability of the null hypothesis is very large and has to be accepted).

According to another report of the survey, all eighteen Czech students and another fifteen students with different Lls and Chinese levels obtained some knowledge of character radicals and Chinese word structure from formal instruction. The fourteen students who used morphological knowledge to memorize new words were among them.






63


This indicates that providing related knowledge in instruction could enhance students' use of strategies. Through contact with their instructors, it was found that instruction in Chinese morphological knowledge was provided randomly by the instructors; that is, in no systematic manner. Nevertheless, all 33 students thought the knowledge they obtained in such a way was important and helpful in learning Chinese words. If this is true, a systematic instruction in Chinese word structure would work even more effectively.



Table 4.4 Strategies of dealing with unfamiliar words in reading Intermediate Level Advanced Level Total n=56 n--32 N=88

Inferring only 7(12.5%) 5(15.63%) 12(13.64%)

Dictionary only 10(17.86%) 2(6.25%) 12(13.64%)

Both inferring and 38(67.86%) 25(78.13%) 63(71.6%)
dictionary

Ignore l(I.8%) 0 1(1.14%)

x 2 test of the two groups p=0.38>0.05



Table 4.4 shows that both inferring and the use of a dictionary are strategies used by most students (about 71.6%) when dealing with unfamiliar words. Only 13.64% of the students reported that they would just infer or guess the meaning of unfamiliar words without consulting a dictionary. The same percentage of students reported that they would only use a dictionary. When participants were asked how they inferred the meanings of unfamiliar words, they reported deriving the meanings from information






64


found in the context or in the character radicals. Because that participants were not familiar with the terminology, morpheme or word structure was seldom mentioned.

Percentages in Table 4.4 also show some differences between the intermediate level group and the advanced level group. The advanced level group tends to use more guessing than the other group. However, when a Chi-square test was performed to check if the differences were significant, the probability of the null hypothesis (no obvious difference between these two groups) is 0.38 and is much larger than 0.05. Thus, the null hypothesis cannot be denied. It suggests that a difference in strategy use of the two groups exists but is not very significant, and that the difference, perhaps, happened by chance.

4.3.2 Results of the Test

There were two parts in the test: Part A contained eighteen test words listed separately and Part B contained sixteen test words placed in sentences. None of the test words were in the first 5000-vocabulary list (the vocabulary except for the fourth level, i.e. the senior advanced level) of Han-yy Shui-ping Ci-hui )j! Han-zi Denji Da-anz < ('Criteria for Chinese Vocabulga and Characters at Different Chinese Levels') (1992), so these words were supposed to be unfamiliar to the participants as originally designed in the test. For one reason or another, however, a few of the test words were unavoidably known to some of the participants, and the number of such words varied with each individual. The answers related to the familiar words were excluded from the statistics and discussion that follow. The statistics only calculate the percentage of unfamiliar words for which the meanings were inferred correctly by each participant. For example, if there were ten words that a participant was






65

unfamiliar with and five meanings were inferred correctly by the participant, the score of the participant is 50%. A few participants did not mark the familiar and unknown words clearly enough, thus they were excluded from the statistics. Table 4.5 presents the average scores of the students in the intermediate level group and the advanced level group.


Table 4.5 Average scores (percentages) and the T-test properties of two groups
Intermediate Level Advanced Level Total T-test
n=51 n=26 N=77

Part A 42.43% 47.26% 44.06% p=0.44

Part B 37.85% 40.28% 38.67% p=0.68

Total 41% 45.17% 42.41% p=0.37



Table 4.5 shows that students from both levels can guess the general meanings of some test words, but the average percentages of the two groups are lower than 50% in the test. Since the test words of Part A were listed according to radicals (i.e. the words with the same radical were arranged together), the participants could have been led to pay more attention to the radicals and reach the meanings of the words more easily than otherwise. It could also be assumed that the grades would have been lower if the words had been listed randon-fly. The numbers in the table suggest that the advanced level group did better than the intermediate level group. However, when the T-test was performed to check the difference, the value of the null hypothesis, i.e. no obvious difference between the test groups, is not small enough to reject the null hypothesis. Therefore, even though the scores of the test do show a difference between the two groups of different language






66


levels, the difference is not significant in this test This merely indicates that the students with the higher Chinese level can probably do better in inferring the meanings of unfamiliar words, but such an advantage is not obvious.

Furthermore, Table 4.5 also shows that there is no great difference when test words were fisted individually or placed in sentences. As shown in the table, the average percentages of test Part B are even a bit lower than the ones of Part A. It seems that, in this test, context information does not help much for inferring word meaning. The reason for this will be discussed in Section 4.4.

Tables 4.6 and 4.7 present the test results of the students with different first languages (LI) and the properties of an ANOVA test for these groups. In the tables, "South Asian Ls (languages)" refers to Lao, Vietnamese and Malay; "East Asian Ls7' means Japanese and Korean, in which Chinese characters are also used; and "Othe&' refers to German, French, Russian and Mongolian.


Table 4.6 Test results of the intermediate-level students with different Us and the
properties of ANOVA test
LI English Czech South Asian Ls East Asian Ls Others ANOVA
n=16 n-- 8 n--7 n--14 n--6 N=51

A 49.1% 56.6% 30.56% 32.4% 45.3% F=0.0973
p=0.983

B 23% 56% 40% 39.4% 48% F=0.094
p=0.984

Total 37% 57.3% 36% 36.1% 47.4% F=0.041
p=0.997






67


Table 4.7 Test results of the advanced-level students with different Lls and the
properties of ANOVA test
LI English Czech South Asian Ls East Asian Ls Others ANOVA
n--2 n=10 n=3 n=5 n--6 N=26

A 46% 58% 9.3% 58% 44% F=0.076
P=0.99

B 50% 54.1% 35% 25.3% 29.2% F=0.047
p=0.996

Total 46% 54.3% 29% 41.2% 41.1% F=0.016
P=0.999



As listed in the two tables, the average percentages of the five groups in the test do not show a significant difference. The probabilities of ANOVA test are all more than 0.98. This result suggests that the first languages of the participants do not affect their achievements in inferring the meanings of Chinese words if they are not trained or guided by special pedagogy.

Nevertheless, the tables do show that the average percentages of the Czech group are higher than those of the other groups. If the Czech group is isolated and compared with all the other groups as a whole, the T-test shows that there is some difference between them. The results are presented in Tables 4.8 and 4.9.

In the tables, the value of the null hypothesis (i.e. no difference between the two groups) is quite small. At the intermediate level, the property of the whole test is smaller than 5% (0.0065 < 0.05) and the null hypothesis can be rejected. Thus, there is a significant difference between the two groups at the intermediate level. At the advanced level, the property of the null hypothesis is a little larger than the judge level 0.05. Even though the difference is not significant enough to totally reject the null hypothesis, the






68


numbers, however, still suggest that the chance of the difference is quite huge (about 94.9% in the whole test). The reasons will be discussed in Section 4.4.


Table 4.8 Average percentages and the probabilities of T-test between the Czech
group and other groups at the intermediate level
Czech Others T-test
n=8 n=43 N=51

Part A 56.6% 40.1% p=0.084

Part B 56% 34.5% p=O. 00l16

Total 57.3% 38% p=0.0065 < 0.05



Table 4.9 Average percentages and the probabilities of T-test between the Czech
group and other groups at the advanced level
Czech Others T-test
n=10 n=-16 N=26

Part A 58% 42.1% p=O.l105

Part B 54.1% 31.6% p=.0168

Total 54.4% 39.4% p=.0515 > 0.05




4.3.3 Results of the Interview

Nine American students who studied Chinese at the University of Florida were interviewed. Two of them were in a fourth-year Chinese class, which is the advanced Chinese level, and seven of them were in a third-year Chinese class, which is the intermediate Chinese level. The first language of four students is English; of the other five students, it is either Mandarin Chinese or Cantonese (but they could not speak fluently and could not read and write). The results of the interview are displayed in Tables 4. 10 to






69

4.14. Most of the test words were unfamiliar ones to the interviewees. One point was awarded if a correct general meaning was given for a tested word. A maximum of 34 points are allowed in the test, eighteen for Part A and sixteen for Part B.


Table 4.10 Strategies of dealing with an unknown word reported in the interview Intermediate Level Advanced Level Total n=7 n--2 N=9

Dictionary only 2(28.6%) 0 2(22.2%)

Guessing only 2(28.6%) 0 2(22.2%)

Both 3(43%) 2(100%) 5(55.6%)





Table 4.11 Vocabulary sources reported in the interview Intermediate Level Advanced Level Total n--7 n=2 N=9

Textbooks 6(85.7%) 1(50%) 7(77.7%)

Other reading 0 0 0

Both 1(14.3%) 1(50%) 2(22.2%)



From the information provided in Tables 4.10, 4.11, and 4.12, it can been observed that the results of the interview match the results of the survey and the test. Students may try to infer the meaning of an unfamiliar word during their Chinese reading, but dictionaries are still necessary. Most of the interviewees, about 55.6% in the interview, reported that they consult a dictionary frequently and infer or guess a word meaning only






70


Table 4.12 Methods of memorizing reported in the interview Intermediate Level Advanced Level Total n--7 n--2 N=9

Individual 4(57.1%) 1(50%) 5(55.6%)

Morpheme group 2(28.6%) 0 2(22.2%)

I&M 0 1(50%) 1 (11. 1%)

Context 1(14.3%) 0 1 (11. 1%)

Note: I & M= both individual and morpheme group


Table 4.13 Average scores of the test in the interview Intermediate Level Advanced Level Total n--7 n=2 N=9

Part A 7.86 (43.7%) 12.75 (70.8%) 9.2(51.2%)

Part B 8.4(52.5%) 12.5 (78.1%) 9.3(58.2%)

Total 16.3 (47.8%) 25.25 (74.3%) 18.5 (54.5%)





Table 4.14 Average scores of students with different Us in the interview Non-Chinese Chinese T-test
n=4 n=5 N=9

Part A 9.4(52.1%) 9.1(50.4%) p=0.926

Part B 9.93(62%) 8.86 (55.4%) p=0.7

Total 19.33(57%) 17.96 (52.8%) p=0.803






71


when too many unfamiliar words are encountered in a reading or when a dictionary is not on hand. The basis of inferring is the information provided by the context or character radicals. Textbooks are also reported as the main source from which the students learned Chinese vocabulary. Furthermore, except for two students (one at the intermediate level and the other at the advanced level), all the other students reported that their Chinese textbooks were their only reading materials. Most of the students (about 55.6%) merely memorized Chinese words one by one according to the vocabulary list of each lesson in their textbooks. One student said that he memorized new words in the context of sentences. Only two students reported that they accessed their morpheme knowledge to help themselves memorize Chinese words. It happens that these two students were the only ones who reported that they had learned some knowledge of Chinese word structure in other schools (e.g. at a university in Taiwan). Another student at the advanced level, who finished elementary school in Taiwan, reported that she would try to group some words with the same character together to memorize, even though she had no knowledge of word structure.

On average, about 54.5% of test words were inferred correctly in the interview (showing in Table 4.13). The percentage is a bit higher than the one in the test (about 42.4%, see Table 4.5). The reasons will be discussed in Section 4.4. The numbers in Table 4.13 also show that the students in the advanced level did better on the test than the students in the intermediate level. Nevertheless, since only two students of the advanced Chinese level were interviewed, the number size is insufficient to ten whether or not there is a difference between these two groups.






72

The students whose first language was Chinese may have some advantage in Chinese study. However, Table 4.14 shows that the students who speak Chinese at home did not do any better on the test than the students whose first language was English. The properties of the T-test also indicate that there are no differences between these two groups. The reason could be: 1) the number of the interviewees was quite small; therefore, the result is not very reliable, and more tests are needed to judge the difference; or 2) the students whose first language was Chinese might have some advantages on Chinese grammar, pronunciation and characters, but they probably did not have any advantage in inferring the meanings of unfamiliar words if they had not been trained to use some strategies. More discussion will be presented in next section.

4.4 Analysis and Discussion


The results of the survey, the test and the interview have shown that L2 learners of Chinese sometimes do try to infer the meanings of unfamiliar words while reading. The inferring, however, is not as frequent or as successful as that of native speakers shown in Chapter three. There are also other differences between L2 learners and native Chinese speakers when they deal with unfamiliar words.

4.4.1 The knowledge of Character Radicals and Word Structure

According to the report of the participants, the sources that they inferred the meanings of words from were character radicals and contexts. The results of the test and the interview reveal that L2 learners of Chinese may have some knowledge of character radicals but they lack the knowledge of word structure.






73

Character radicals are the basic units of Chinese characters and usually indicate the semantic category (i.e. animal, plant, liquid, action, etc.) of a character. Such knowledge is usually introduced as a part of language instruction to native children in primary school. Even though it is not included as an important ingredient in current textbooks of CFL/CSL, many instructors actually teach it in beginning level classes when characters and Chinese dictionaries are introduced. As a result, L2 learners of Chinese do have some knowledge of character radicals and can use it, sometimes to help themselves learn and memorize characters. Such knowledge, however, is acquired in a fragmentary way, as shown by the results of the investigations. For example, in the test and the interview, many students could only recognize some of the character radicals. They knew that means 'grass', is 'liquid', and Q means 'mouth', and the meaning of a character with one of such radicals is usually related to the meaning category the radical marks. Nevertheless, many of them could not guess the meaning of a character with a radical like

('animal'), L ('air'), T (1bod') or _1 ('bird'). The unsuccessful inference means that they could not recognize or were unfamiliar with these common radicals. In the interview, when the participants were asked if they knew the meanings of these radicals, many of them gave a negative answer. In fact, they knew many characters with such radicals like 01 gou 'dog', A qi 'steam', fA fan 'rice, meal, food, X4 ji 'chicken', but they did not make an effort to isolate the radicals. This indicates that the radical knowledge the students acquired is not sufficient. Thus, a systematic instruction of character radicals seems to be necessary in Chinese language classes.

The results of the investigation also revealed that many students did not have much knowledge of word structure. Except for the modifier-head structure, a very common and






74

universal one, the others were unknown to most of the participants. When a parallel compound came up, many participants could not infer the meaning even when one or two of the morphemes were familiar to them. For example, in the interview, some participants could not reach any meaning of the parallel compounds # ON tun-yan [swallow-swallow] 4 swallow' and 09 shun-xi [suck-suck] 'suck'. Actually, they knew the meaning of one of the two morphemes in each compound and the radical Q ('mouth'), but they could not figure out that the meaning of the compound is similar to the meaning of a component. This implies that the students were unfamiliar with this kind of word structure.

As discussed in Chapter 3, the native speakers with an educational level of junior middle school received the lowest average scores in the test. One reason for this is that they probably lack sufficient knowledge of word structure. Therefore, it is assumed that, in a natural language-learning environment, the knowledge of word structure is totally acquired after a speaker reaches the educational level of middle school. In this chapter, investigations have found that there is no obvious difference between the students of different language levels. The participants of the advanced level did not show that they could do better than the students of the intermediate level in strategy use and in inferring word meaning. They also did not show that they had more knowledge of Chinese word structure. These facts suggest that the knowledge of Chinese word structure is probably acquired after L2 learners reach the advanced level of Chinese language (perhaps at the senior advanced level), if no instruction and training of such knowledge is given. If this is true, then, for a long time, L2 learners cannot take the advantage of Chinese word structure to help them learn Chinese vocabulary quickly. They would waste a lot of time groping around for this useful knowledge and some of them may never acquire it. Thus,






75

to speed up the process of Chinese vocabulary acquisition, instruction in Chinese word structure is needed urgently in Chinese pedagogy.

Other results of the investigation also demonstrate that instruction in Chinese word structure is beneficial to vocabulary study. In the survey, the participants who had acquired this knowledge all reported that it was very helpful to their vocabulary learning. Many of them also reported that they had used this knowledge to help themselves memorize new words. According to reports from the students and the instructor, the Czech participants in the investigation had been taught some aspects of Chinese word structure. Tables 4.8 and 4.9 show that the average test grades of this group were higher than those of other groups, especially when the students were at the intermediate level. The result of the T-test also shows that there was some difference between this group and the others. If the higher grade was the result of the instruction in Chinese morphology, it can be safely concluded that a systematic introduction of Chinese word structure and a related strategy-training will contribute to the vocabulary acquisition of L2 learners.

4.4.2 Strategy Use

As shown in Chapter 3, it was found that native speakers of Chinese can get the meaning of an unfamiliar word from the character radical(s), the word structure and the contextual information. Therefore, their inferring is more successful, especially when the word is placed in a context. From the interviews of L2 learners of Chinese, it has been observed, however, that L2 learners mainly depend on one kind of information, either contextual information or character radical information, but not on both, to infer the meaning of a word. They seldom draw on all available information. Because of this, the information which can be consulted is limited and usually insufficient for arriving at the






76

meaning. The following are some examples. In Part A of the test, both character radicals and word structure (morphemes) are available to provide clues to the meaning of each compound. From the modifier-head structure, the participants knew that *4 mao-cao (cogonggrass-grass, 'cogongrass') is "a kind of grass", 3tt ju-hua (chrysanthemumflower, 'chrysanthemum') is "a kind of flower", and *W xiang-shu (oak-tree, 'oak') is "a kind of tree". However, if the head was unfamiliar, the students usually could not reach any meaning, even though the radical also provides a clue. Thus, the meanings of -WA xiang-jiao (fragrant-banana, 'banana'), **,A ganlan-you, (olive-oil, 'olive oil') and 'M huntun-tang (huntun-soup, 'Huntun soup') were not correctly inferred by many interviewees because the heads were unfamiliar. Actually, if they had noticed the radicals

-"- ('grass'), ('wood'), T ('food') and ('liquid'), they at least would have known that these compounds might be a kind of plant, a food or a liquid. Similarly, when they were doing Part B of the test, the interviewees frequently only noticed some bits and pieces of the information provided by the context or by the radicals. They rarely realized that the meaning of a word could be traced through the trio of context, radicals and word structure. Here are some of the sentences in Part B, as examples:


zhe liang tian zong-shi xia-yu, kong-qi hen chao-shi
This two day always rain, air very wet/humid
'It has been raining these days, and the air is very humid.'
2.Rnn *k&-h T,4*
wo-de zi-xing-che lun-zi mei-you qi le, dei qu da-qi My bike wheel have not air LE, have to go hit-air.
'My bike got flats, and I have to pump them up.'






77



wo-de dian-nao zhuang le shi-chuang jiu-wu ruan-jian
my computer set LE view-window-95 soft-piece
'In my computer, the Windows-95 software has been installed.'

Two students in the interview guessed incorrectly that the meaning of 'IM X" chao-shi was 'cloudy'. They knew that the sentence was about 'rain', but they did not notice the radical ('liquid') and the word "5 'U ('air'). Three interviewees understood that the morphemes of the word "fT I~" in sentence two were "hit-air", but they could not infer the meaning of the entire compound. The reason was that they did not notice the information in the context, even though they had read the two coordinate sentences and understood the meaning of the first one. Moreover, while guessing the meanings of the compounds in sentence three, one interviewee thought that "'AW" (view-window, 'window in computer') was 'cost' and "VW (soft-piece, 'software') was 'money' because she only noticed the number and knew it is about computers. Another one thought that '1AI" was 'monitor' and "tk4" was 'material' by merely noticing the morphemes. Another four students could not reach any meaning of these two compounds. In fact, all of them knew the morphemes, but they did not combine the information of the morphemes and the contexts together to infer the meanings.

When the participants merely use one kind of information in the inference, more available information was not more helpful to them and thus, was not related to more success. Thus, the test scores of Part B received by participants are not higher than the scores of Part A (see Tables 4.5 and 4.13). Not using as many clues as possible in tracing word meanings is also a reason why the inference of CSL/CFL learners is less successful than that of native speakers.






78

Sometimes, the interviewees were led by the interviewer to pay attention to all of the information provided by contexts, morphemes and radicals. In those cases, most of them were able to reach the right answers they had not been able to infer the first time around. Thus, the average scores of the interviewees in the test were higher than those of the other participants. This indicates that the inferring performance of L2 learners should be more successful if they are provided some training and guidance.

Furthermore, as reported in the survey, the method used by the majority of the students for memorizing new words is to work on each word individually. This means that Chinese words in the learners' n-finds are still separate items and are not connected by radicals, morphemes, or semantic content as a network. As a result, vocabulary acquisition is an overly arduous task to the learners, and they have to spend an excessive amount of time memorizing and learning each word. The facts speak loudly and clearly that L2 learners of Chinese are in dire need of strategy training in order to acquire Chinese words more effectively,

4.4.3 Difference or Non-difference

The results of the investigations show that there is probably a slight difference between the participants of different language levels. For example, more participants at the advanced level reported that they also read other Chinese materials besides their textbooks, and fewer of them only used dictionaries to find the meanings of unfamiliar words (see Tables 4.2 and 4.4). Moreover, the average test scores of the participants at the advanced level were a slightly higher than those of the students from the lower level (see Table 4.5). Nevertheless, the difference is not significant, as shown by the results of






79

the Chi-square test and the T-test (see Tables 4.4 and 4.5). More investigations are needed to validate the existence of such a difference.

L2 learners with different first languages may use different learning strategies when they study a foreign language. The results of the investigations in this study, however, do not show an obvious difference between the participants with different Lls when they were dealing with Chinese words. For example, except for the students who had gained some knowledge of Chinese word structure, all the other participants mostly memorized new words individually. In the test, except for the Czech group, who had some knowledge of word structure, the average scores of other groups were similar (see Table 4.6). It was found that Japanese students knew more test words than other participants, but they did not show they could do better when they inferred the meanings of unfamiliar words. In fact, the numbers in Table 4.6 suggest that the students whose first languages were western languages probably did slightly better than the students whose Us were other Asian languages. The learners whose first language was Japanese or Korean, which also uses some Chinese characters, may have some advantages in the study of characters and some basic vocabulary. However, if they were not taught and trained to use some of the strategies, they could not do better in inferring the meanings of unfamiliar Chinese words. Similarly, results of the interview show that the students whose first language was Chinese did not do better in the test either (see Table 4.14). One of them, who was in the advanced level group, did use a special strategy to find the meaning of a test word. The strategy was to find the approximate pronunciation of the word. When she was asked to infer the meaning of a word, she usually used the phonetic component of a character to get its pronunciation. If the sound matched a word in her






80

spoken Chinese, she would know what the word was. If the phonetic component was not helpful or if the test word was totally unfamiliar to her (i.e. she had not heard it or used it in her spoken Chinese), the inference was usually unsuccessful. Certainly, students who can speak some Chinese will have some advantage studying the language, and they usually can do better in the acquisition of Chinese vocabulary as well as pronunciation and grammar, especially when at the beginning level. However, this does not necessarily mean that they also have more knowledge of character radicals and word structure and can do better in using this knowledge to infer the meaning of a word. The results of the investigations suggest that the knowledge of character radicals, the knowledge of Chinese word structure, and strategies of inferring the meaning of unfamiliar words should be taught to all the L2 learners, no matter what their first languages are.

4.5 Conclusion


From the results of this series of investigations, the following conclusions can be drawn:

1. The Chinese vocabulary that L2 learners acquired is mostly from their

textbooks, even when the learner is at an advanced Chinese level and can read other materials. Therefore, vocabulary arrangement and practice should play a

very important part in textbook design.

2. The main method of studying Chinese vocabulary that learners use is merely

memorizing words individually. In the investigation, students at an advanced level, who had longer study experience, also did not show that they could use some effective learning strategies. In such cases, strategy training is urgently






81

needed in Chinese language instruction in order to help learners acquire

Chinese vocabulary more effectively.

3. The L2 learners participating in the investigation did have some knowledge of

Chinese character radicals and, sometimes, were able to adopt it into their vocabulary learning. Such knowledge, however, was insufficient. In addition, they needed the knowledge of Chinese morphology and also lacked the skins of integrating different kinds of knowledge to reach the meaning of unfamiliar words. Due to all these reasons, the inference that L2 learners performed to get the meanings of Chinese words was usually unsuccessful. Thus, a dictionary was stifl frequently needed, even when the learner was at an advanced level. All this strongly argues that the instruction of Chinese radicals and word structure should receive a lot more attention than it currently does in

the CSL/CFL classroom.

4. The results of the investigations into both native Chinese speakers and L2

learners suggest that the total knowledge of Chinese word structure is acquired very late (i.e. after middle school or the advanced Chinese level) in a natural acquisition process. On the other hand, such knowledge has been shown in this study to be very useful for vocabulary recognition and acquisition. All the students who had been taught to acquire such knowledge reported that it was helpfiil. These students also did better in the test than the other students. As a result, it can be assumed that the instruction of Chinese word structure can

speed up vocabulary acquisition of L2 learners.






82

5. If the first language of a learner is an Asian language, it may be helpful in

learning Chinese characters and grammar at the beginning level. However, it is not shown in this study that it is also helpful to inferring the meanings of unfamiliar words. This indicates that the knowledge of Chinese word structure and the strategies of using different types of knowledge to reach the meaning of a word cannot be transferred from the first language of a learner. Formal

instruction should teach all CFL/CSL learners such knowledge and strategies.

Lexical inferring is a very important skill strongly encouraged by many SLA researchers for reading and vocabulary learning. It has been found that such a skill results in high rate of vocabulary memory (Bensoussan 1992, Hulstijn 1992, Scherfer 1993). In English as a Second Language (ESL), word meaning is mainly inferred from contexts, and sometimes, by affixes and word structure. Such inferring is often not successful because of insufficient consulted information. In Chinese, however, meaning inferring can be more helpful and successful, since the character radicals, word structure and context can all provide information on the meaning of a word. It has been shown in Chapter three that a native speaker of Chinese with high language proficiency is usually very successful in inferring the meaning of an unfamiliar word by consulting the information fi7om context, word structure, and character radicals. The more information presented, the more accurate the inference is. In this chapter, it was found that L2 learners of Chinese, however, were not very successful in such inference even when they were at an advanced Chinese level. The reason is that they did not have sufficient knowledge of character radicals and word structure and could not take advantage of the various types of information to reach the meaning of a word. Moreover, it seems that Chinese






83

morphological knowledge can only be acquired very slowly after learners have reached the advanced level if no formal instruction is offered. Studies of SLA have found that formal instruction and strategy training will not affect the stages of a language acquisition process, but they will accelerate the progress and speed up the process at each stage. It has also been found by Cheng (1998) that the instruction of Chinese character radicals can shorten the stages in character acquisition. Thus, it can be concluded that the vocabulary acquisition of CFL/CSL learners will also be accelerated through the teaching and training of related knowledge and strategies.














CHAPTER 5
CHINESE WORD STRUCTURE (1) --- SIMPLE WORDS

Previous chapters have revealed that knowledge of word structure is very important in Chinese vocabulary acquisition and that it can help L2 learners study Chinese words effectively. Many current works have studied Chinese word structures through the theoretical framework of morphology and syntax. They have sought to explain Chinese word structure by different linguistic theories. Most of the results, however, cannot be applied directly to language pedagogy. In order to provide general rules of Chinese word structure for vocabulary teaching and learning, this chapter and the next two chapters will present features of Chinese words, such as structural patterns and semantic characteristics, that are directly applicable to pedagogy. Chapter Eight is an illustration of how these features can be applied.

5.1 Current Studies in Chinese Word Structure


5.1.1 The Definition of Chinese Word

The definition of "word" has always been unclear in linguistic study, and it has been hotly debated. From the "minimum free form" of Bloomfield (1933, p.178) to "the union of particular meaning with a particular complex of sounds, capable of a particular grammatical employment" (Taylor 1990, p. 146), linguists have tried to define the concept of 'word' in terms of syntactic functions, phonological features and/or morphological structures. There has not been any generally accepted criterion for word-hood, because



84





85


the answer set from any one criterion is not identical to the answer set from any other one. The definition of the Chinese word is even fuzzier because word boundary is not marked in its writing system. The boundary between morpheme and word also varies with styles (e.g. classical vs. modem, written vs. colloquial) and with geographical or social dialects. In classical Chinese, most words are monosyllabic, and nearly each character is a word. Therefore, the 'character' (! zi) is the unit of lexical study in traditional Chinese linguistics. In modem Chinese, however, words tend to be disyllabic and the 'character' and the 'word' (Pi ci) are no longer the same and must be distinguished. 'Character' now refers to the monosyllabic written symbols and 'word' is generally defined as "the smallest unit which can fill the place of certain functional fi7ames" (Chao 1968, p. 160-16 1) or the smallest unit which can be used freely (Fu 1985, Chapter 1; Chen 1994, p.9). Chinese linguists also use phonological and semantic criteria to identify 'word': word boundaries can be identified by potential pauses (Chao 1968, p. 15 1; Liu 1990a, p. 3 5), and each word has a fixed meaning and a phonological form (Fu 1985, p. 1-6; Chen 1994, p. 10- 11). Such definitions, however, still do not cover all the words in Chinese language. For example, Chinese intedections and modal particles such as PR a, PIR he, o, PH wo, PA ao, 4 wa, UE ba, 0 ma, do not fit in any of the definitions above. These forms do not have any specific syntactic function nor can they "fill the place of certain functional frames."' Modal particles cannot even be used freely but have to be attached to the end of a sentence, though they do contribute some semantic sense for the sentence in which they Note: 1. In fact, these forms may well serve many functions in discourse. It is not that they cannot fill the functional frames but that the functional frames are not defined well enough in most approaches. See, for example, Chu (1998, Chapter 4).





86


occur. Dai ( 1992, 1998) argues that word should have a three-fold definition, i.e. in terms of syntax, phonology and morphology. To him, "a syntactic word is a minimal constituent to which syntactic rules may refer; a phonological word is a certain prosodic domain in which internal phonological rules may apply; and a morphological word is a maximal domain in which morphological rules may apply" (Dai 1992, p. 15-16). This definition is useful in the linguistic study of the three areas. But, on the other hand, it makes the problems too complex to be directly adopted for purposes like language pedagogy. According to Dai's definition, R #1 wo-men (1-plural, 'we') is a single word phonologically and morphologically; but it consists of two syntactic words because ff] men ('plural for human') has an independent syntactic function, even though it is always attached to a noun or pronoun. Moreover, some common phrases would also become 'words' by Dai's definition. For instance, he would analyze 'W 0 ni hao ([you good] 'hello'), a fixed expression, as two syntactic words (i.e. subject and predicate), a single phonological word due to its tone sandhi (i.e. the tone of the first syllable is changed from a curved tone to a raised one by the affection of the second tone), and a morphological word due to its single meaning which is not directly derivable from its components. In such a case, the word-hood of Chinese would become even fuzzier. Yip (1992) analyzes the prosodic, syntactic, and semantic properties of Chinese words and finds: 1) the X, XX rhythm (X is one mononym) or YYJY syntactic structure (Y is a mononymic unit) is for words and the YJYY syntactic structure is for phrases, 2) a grammatical class can be intrinsically assigned to a word, and 3) a word "refers to a discrete object (or category) or a distinctive property in the real (or imaginary) world" (Yip 1992, p. 60). She suggests that if a unit of expression complies with all of those three requirements, it must be a




Full Text
xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8
REPORT xmlns http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitss xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitssdaitssReport.xsd
INGEST IEID EJ2TTFCY5_2YU50T INGEST_TIME 2014-10-13T22:15:53Z PACKAGE AA00025729_00001
AGREEMENT_INFO ACCOUNT UF PROJECT UFDC
FILES


WORD STRUCTURE AND VOCABULARY ACQUISITION:
THEORY AND APPLICATION TO MANDARIN CHINESE
AS A SECOND/FOREIGN LANGUAGE
By
ZHAOHUI CHENG
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
2000

Copyright 2000
by
Zhaohui Cheng

To my grandmother and mother
R

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
It has been a wonderful experience to pursue further education and academic
development at the University of Florida, where I have known so many nice professors
and friends who have helped me in many ways. From them I have learned great
knowledge and methods of doing academic research at a higher level. I also learned the
way to achieve goals through hard work, determination, and effort.
First of all, I sincerely thank Professor Chauncey C. Chu, Chairman of the
supervisory committee, for all his insightful guidance, constant support and
encouragement. His enthusiastic help in finding solutions to both my personal and
professional problems will never be forgotten. He has guided me not only in my academic
research but also in my teaching practice and my English improvement. I have learned a
lot from the discussions with him, from his classes, his books and his many papers.
Without his guidance, help and commitment, this work could not have been accomplished.
I also thank the helpful guidance provided by Professor Diana Boxer, the cochair
of the supervisory committee. She helped me select appropriate methods to do the
investigations and the statistics in this work. Her helpful suggestions and comments are
greatly appreciated.
I appreciate Professor Ann Wehmeyer with great sincerity. From her class, I have
learned much of my knowledge on morphology, which is adopted in this work. My
IV

interest in Chinese morphology, which led me to do this project, was also stimulated in the
class she taught.
I also want to extend my appreciation to Professors William Sullivan and Cynthia
Chennault for serving on the supervisory committee. Their suggestions have always been
constructive and helpful.
I would like to express my special thanks to Ms. Daocui Kan (|^ iS ^ !/fji),
Ms. Min Zhu ^ (lip) and Mr. Naihua Liu (^lj Ti ^ !/r[J) in the International
Student College in Nanjing Normal University. In this work, for the most part, the
investigations of how L2 learners study Chinese vocabulary were completed with their
assistance. I also thank my father, many of my friends and the people whose names I do
not know but helped or participated in other investigations in this project. Without their
help, half of this work could not have been accomplished.
Finally, I want to thank my husband, Zhongtao Ding. I could not have finished my
research and dissertation without his understanding, support and patience throughout the
graduate study program.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
page
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iv
LIST OF TABLES viii
LIST OF FIGURES x
NOMENCLATURE xii
ABSTRACT xiii
CHAPTERS
1 INTRODUCTION 1
1.1 Purpose of Research 1
1.2 Problems of Vocabulary Acquisition 1
1.3 Design of Research 10
2 VOCABULARY ACQUISITION AND RELATED THEORIES 14
2.1 Theories in Second Language Acquisition 14
2.2 Theories in Psycholinguistic Studies 19
2.3 Theorietical Implications 27
3 CHARACTER RADICAL AND WORD STRUCTURE IN CHINESE
WORD INFERRING BY NATIVE SPEAKERS 29
3.1 Research Questions and Assumptions 29
3.2 Research Design 31
3.3 Results 35
3.4 Analysis and Discussion 47
3.5 Conclusion 52
4 CHARACTER STRUCTURE AND WORD STRUCTURE IN NEW WORD
RECOGNITION BY L2 LEARNERS 54
4.1 Research Questions 54
4.2 Research Design 55
VI

4.3 Results 59
4.4 Analysis and Discussion 72
4.5 Conclusion 80
5 CHINESE WORD STRUCTURE (I)—SIMPLE WORDS 84
5.1 Current Studies in Chinese Word Structure 84
5.2 Types of Chinese Words 90
6 CHINESE WORD STRUCTURE (II)—COMPOUNDS 112
6.1 Compounds in Modern Chinese 112
6.2 Patterns of Chinese Compounds 114
6.3 Productive Types of Chinese Compounds 132
6.4 Morphological Features 133
6.5 Conclusion 140
7 MEASURES AND LOCALIZERS 144
7.1 Measure Words 145
7.2 Localizers 168
7.3 Conclusion 184
8 PEDAGOGICAL APPLICATION OF CHINESE VOCABULARY 186
8.1 Pedagogical Applications at the Beginning Chinese Level 186
8.2 Pedagogical Applications at the Intermediate Chinese Level 196
8.3 Pedagogical Applications at the Advanced Level 217
8.4 Conclusion 222
9 CONCLUSIONS 225
APPENDICES
A SURVEY AND WORD TEST FOR NATIVE CHINESE SPEAKERS 231
B SURVEY AND WORD TEST FOR L2 LEARNERS OF CHINESE 234
C COMMON CHARACTER RADICALS 238
D COMMON CLASSIFIERS NOT DISCUSSED IN CHAPTER 7 240
REFERENCES 249
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 266
vii

LIST OF TABLES
Table page
3.1 Strategy-use reported in the the survey 36
3.2 The chi-square test of the strategy-use in different groups 37
3.3 List of using different knowledge to infer a word meaning 38
3.4 Results of test Part A 40
3.5 Results of test Part B 41
3.6 Results of the whole test 42
3.7 Means (average scores) of the word test 42
3.8 ANOVA test of the four groups 44
3.9 Results of the interview 45
3.10 Average scores to different words and average times of method-use
in Part A 46
4.1 Sources of acquired words 60
4.2 Materials of Chinese reading 61
4.3 Methods of memorizing new words 62
4.4 Strategies of dealing with unfamiliar words in reading 63
4.5 Average scores (percentages) and the T-test properties of two groups 65
4.6 Test results of the intermediate-level students with
different Lis and the properties of ANOVA test 66
4.7 Test results of the advanced-level students with
different Lis and the properties of ANOVA test 67
viii

4.8 Average percentages and the probabilities of T-test between
the Czech group and other groups at the intermediate level 68
4.9 Average percentages and the probabilities of T-test between
the Czech group and other groups at the advanced-level 68
4.10 Strategies of dealing with an unknown word reported in the interview 69
4.11 Vocabulary sources reported in the interview 69
4.12 Methods of memorizing reported in the interview 70
4.13 Average scores of the test in the interview 70
4.14 Average scores of students with different Lis in the interview 70
6.1 Compounds in Han-vu Shui-Ping Ci-hui vu Han-zi Deng-ii Da-gang
(Criteria for Chinese Vocabulary and Characters at Different
Proficiency Levels) 114
8.1 Character-structure types and percentages 192
8.2 The vocabulary pedagogy of CSL/CFL 223
IX

LIST OF FIGURES
Figure page
2.1 The processing framework of Chinese compounds 27
3.1 Results of test Part A 40
3.2 Results of test Part B 41
3.3 Results of the whole test 41
6.1 Scopes of Chinese compounds and phrases 135
7.1 Classification network of Tao 150
7.2 Classification network of Bi 151
7.3 Classification network of Chang 152
7.4 Classification network of Tai 153
7.5 Classification network of Kou 154
7.6 Classification network of Tiao 155
7.7 Classification network of Zhang 156
7.8 Classification network of Dui 158
7.9 Classification network of Zhi 160
7.10 Classification network of Pi 161
7.11 Domains of localizer Shang 174
7.12 Domains of localizer Xia 177
7.13 Domains of localizer Li 180
x

7.14 Domains of localizer Zhong
183
XI

NOMENCLATURE
AAM
The Augmented Addressed Morphology Model
ACT
The Adaptive Control of Thought
CFL
Chinese as a foreign language
CSL
Chinese as a second language
ESL
English as a second language
LI
the first language
L2
the second language
SLA
Second Language Acquisition

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
WORD STRUCTURE AND VOCABULARY ACQUISITION:
THEORY AND APPLICATION TO MANDARIN CHINESE
AS A SECOND/FOREIGN LANGUAGE
By
Zhaohui Cheng
May 2000
Chair: Chauncey C. Chu
Cochair: Diana Boxer
Major Department: Program in Linguistics
Theories of Second Language Acquisition proclaim that appropriate instruction
and strategy training facilitate and accelerate the process of second language acquisition.
Psycholinguistic studies have found that morphological structure, which is part of the
mental lexicon, plays a role in word learning and is related directly to vocabulary learning
and reading achievement. Chinese is a language written in morphemic characters, and its
words are mostly compounds. The purpose of this work is to present an appropriate
pedagogy to teach L2 (second language) learners Chinese words. First, a series of
investigations which contained surveys, tests and interviews was completed. It was found
that native Chinese speakers usually can adopt the knowledge of character radicals and
word structure to get the meanings of unfamiliar words in their LI easily and effectively,
but L2 learners of Chinese cannot. This indicates that L2 learners need knowledge related

to Chinese word structure and character radicals and also training in proper strategies. In
order to guide L2 learners to study new words more effectively, the general rules of
Chinese words and word structure are analyzed and presented as the second part of this
work. Finally, a systematic vocabulary pedagogy is discussed and presented on the basis
of the study results in previous parts: at the elementary Chinese level, teach L2 learners
core words, basic character radicals and the knowledge of character structure; meanwhile,
train them to use the knowledge of character structure and radicals to recognize and
memorize words; at the intermediate level, teach learners the knowledge of word structure
and related rules, train them to use such knowledge and contextual information to learn
new words by themselves; at the advanced level, teach L2 learners lower-frequency words
and lexical phrases, and at the same time, train students to use different strategies properly
to learn a large number of words and to produce words in a native-like way by sufficient
language interactions.
xiv

CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
1.1 Purpose of Research
The subject of this dissertation is the acquisition and pedagogy of vocabulary in
Chinese as a second/foreign language (CSL/CFL). Vocabulary acquisition is one of the
most important tasks in the learning of a language. In the past twenty years, vocabulary
acquisition and teaching is the area which has developed fastest in the research of Second
Language Acquisition (SLA). However, in the studies of CSL/CFL, this topic has not
caught as much attention as it has in the acquisition study of other languages. In order to
narrow the gap, this research will study the properties of Chinese word structure and their
roles in vocabulary recognition for both native speakers and foreigners, and will, as a
result, propose a possible teaching pedagogy of Chinese words from the beginning to the
advanced level. The suggested vocabulary pedagogy will help learners acquire and
develop their vocabulary more easily and more quickly. Moreover, this research will
contribute to our knowledge of vocabulary acquisition in SLA in general.
1.2 Problems of Vocabulary Acquisition
1.2.1 Studies of Lexical Acquisition in Second Language Acquisition
Vocabulary knowledge is the ability to understand and to use a word automatically
for communicative purposes. The vocabulary knowledge of a natural language speaker is
1

2
in fact one indicator of his/her proficiency level. For example, the knowledge of an
advanced level speaker of English should consist of over 7,000 lexical items (Laufer
1992). Coady (1997) claims that for understanding advanced and authentic academic
texts, an L2 learner of English should have “good knowledge of at least 5,000 words, in
addition to significant reading skill” (p. 287). The knowledge of an advanced level
speaker of Chinese is over 8,000 words (Han-vu Shui-ping Deng-ii Da-gang '¡M in 7k Y~
^ M ‘The Criteria of Chinese Proficiency Levels’ 1988). The size of such
vocabularies is obviously much smaller than that of a native speaker. According to recent
research, the average size of an English vocabulary that a native speaking university
student knows and potentially uses is more than 50,000 words (Aitchison 1996, p. 16). “It
has been said that learning a second language means learning its vocabulary” (Gass, 1999,
p. 325). From the beginning level all the way up, vocabulary development is one of the
most strenuous tasks of foreign language learners. Laufer points out:
Recent findings point to the fact that lexical problems might be even more
important than those in phonology and syntax... Moreover, learners
themselves often claim that lexis is their greatest difficulty in L2. Any
experienced teacher knows that even after students have mastered
grammar, they still face masses of unknown words. (Laufer 1986, p. 131)
Studies on reading in SLA also show that vocabulary forms the most basic building blocks
underlying the reading process. “It has never been empirically demonstrated, nor is it
theoretically expected, that some instructional innovation could result in good reading
comprehension without the presence of at least adequate word recognition
ability”(Stanovich 1991, p 418). The vocabulary problem, however, was largely ignored
in the study of SLA until the 1980s. Partly because of the overwhelming concentration on

3
syntactic structure, vocabulary did not have a separate identity for a long time and was
just treated as a subject within the study of reading or writing. As observed by Coady
(1997), on the one hand, students feel that words are very important and are eager to learn
them; on the other hand, teachers and scholars feel that teaching vocabulary is a low-level
intellectual activity, and that words are going to be learned naturally from reading and do
not need to be taught. Thus, scholars have not seen the need for vocabulary teaching in
spite of the students’ requests for it.
Vocabulary acquisition began to attract attention in the 1980s and has become the
fastest growing area of second language education in terms of research output and
publications at present. The studies, mainly focusing on English as a second/foreign
language, include the following: a) what vocabulary knowledge is, b) the strategies
learners use to acquire vocabulary, and c) vocabulary teaching.
In second/foreign language education, vocabulary knowledge is defined as “a
continuum between ability to make sense of a word and ability to activate the word
automatically for productive purposes” (Faerch, Haastrup & Phillipson 1984, p. 100). It
contains potential vocabulary, which “learners have not come across before” (Palmberg
1987, p.201) but can be understood when encountered, and active vocabulary, the words
that learners have learned and can understand or use. Nation (1990) developed a list of
the various types of vocabulary knowledge:
1. The spoken form of a word.
2. The written form of a word.
3. The grammatical behavior of the word.
4. The collocational behavior of the word.
5. How frequent the word is.
6. The stylistic register constraints of a word.
7. The conceptual meaning of a word.

4
8. The associations a word has with other related words.
When a learner has mastered all these types of knowledge, s/he is able to use a word in a
native-like and fluent manner. The studies of vocabulary knowledge have made it clear
what learners should master in order to use a word and what the study of vocabulary
teaching and acquisition should focus on. The results of these studies have laid the
groundwork for the theoretical formulation of further vocabulary acquisition research.
Vocabulary learning processes and strategies is an area where a great deal has been
harvested. The research consists of several experimental studies on lexical acquisition in a
second language (L2). The following learning strategies have been found effective:
extensive reading, lexical inference, structure study and word associations.
Extensive reading is endorsed by many studies (e g. Clarke & Nation 1980,
Camine et al. 1984, Krashen 1989, Grabe & Stoller 1997) to improve learners’ vocabulary
knowledge It is claimed that words can be acquired “incidentally” from extensive
reading, and the reasons are:
(a) It is contextualized, giving the learner a richer sense of a word’s use
and meaning than can be provided in traditional paired-associate exercises,
(b) it is pedagogically efficient in that it enables two activities—vocabulary
acquisition and reading—to occur at the same time, and (c) it is more
individualized and learner-based because the vocabulary being acquired is
dependent on the learner’s own selection of reading materials. (Huckin and
Coady 1999, p. 182)
All these studies, however, were based on the way LI (the first language) learners acquire
their vocabulary. Many other studies also find that extensive reading does not
automatically lead to the acquisition of vocabulary, and there is no clear way to show that
a word has been learned incidentally. Paribakht and Wesche (1999) note that vocabulary

5
acquisition “is in some fundamental sense not ‘incidental’” (p. 215). It much depends on
the context surrounding each word, the nature of the learner’s attention, the task demands,
and other factors (Huckin and Coady 1999). Moreover, increasing vocabulary through
extensive reading takes much time and practice and might not be very effective in intensive
L2 learning. It is also hard to ask L2 learners at low language levels to do extensive
reading. “In spite of the evident role of reading in much advanced vocabulary acquisition,
it is also apparent from both research and experience that the process is slow, often
misguided, and seemingly haphazard, with differential outcomes for different learners,
word types, and contexts” (Paribakht and Wesche 1999, p. 197).
Other researchers, like Scherfer (1993), Bensoussan (1992), Hulstijn (1992), and
Fraser (1999), have found that guessing the meanings of words from context, particularly
in reading, results in a high rate of vocabulary memory and acquisition. At present, lexical
inference has been strongly suggested in L2 vocabulary development. Nevertheless, as
some scholars point out, lexical inference will not be successful if a context contains many
unknown words or cannot offer enough hints to infer the meaning of a word Moreover,
“it requires a great deal of prior training in basic vocabulary, word recognition,
metacognition, and subject matter” (Huckin and Coady 1999, p. 190). Therefore, lexical
inference is limited in many language contexts and cannot be used all by itself.
Through tests, interviews and self-reports, Sanaoui (1995) found that learners who
engaged in independent study and self-initiated learning activities of recording, reviewing
and practicing lexical items outside their L2 course were more successful in vocabulary
acquisition. He suggests that vocabulary study should be structured. Moreover, Schmitt
& Meara (1997) claim that word associations (i.e. the links that connect or relate words in

6
some manner in a person’s mind) and verbal suffixes are related to a learner’s vocabulary
size and can also help the learner acquire vocabulary.
The progress in vocabulary learning is the most focused area in the research of
vocabulary acquisition. Studies (e g. Paribakht & Wesche 1997, Zimmerman 1997) have
concluded that “although vocabulary learning certainly does take place through the
presumed ordinary contextual approach, such learning can indeed be improved by adding
formal instruction”(Coady 1997, p. 287). Several books on the subject were published in
the 1980s and 1990s, e g., Working with Words (Gairns & Redman 1986), Vocabulary:
Applied Linguistic Perspectives (Carter 1987), Vocabulary and Language Teaching
(Carter & McCarthy 1988), and Teaching and Learning Vocabulary (Nation 1990). The
discussions include the aim of vocabulary teaching, items to be presented, and teaching
techniques. The main purpose of vocabulary teaching is to train and help students to
derive and produce meanings from lexical items both by themselves and out of the
classroom (Carter 1987). Core words and high-frequency words are suggested to be
taught first (Carter 1987, chapter 7; Coady 1997). The teaching techniques presented are
mainly the following:
1. Keyword Imagination: (1) to teach target language words through sound
associations with the native language, (2) to associate a new word with an
imagined picture, or (3) to teach a word with semantic or functional relations
(e g. to learn the word ‘food’ with related ones like ‘meat’, ‘vegetable’, ‘knife
and fork’, ‘bowl’, ‘table and chair’, ‘kitchen’, etc.) (Gairns & Redman 1986;
Hulstijn 1997).

7
2. Context Technique: to teach words in typical contexts (Hulstijn 1992, 1997;
Scherfer 1993).
3. Communication: to teach vocabulary through different communicative
activities (Nation 1990; Nation & Newton 1997)
Meanwhile, some course materials and dictionaries reflecting the above ideas have been
designed and presented to learners as tools and guides. Examples are: Vocabulary
(Morgan & Rinvolucri 1986), Words and Their Meaning (Jackson 1988), Longman
Dictionary of Contemporary English (1989).
Although vocabulary has gained status as an important component of second
language acquisition, and a number of steps have been taken in its study, there is still a
long way to go. The system of vocabulary acquisition rules has not been established, and
vocabulary teaching is not as systematized as the techniques of teaching phonology and
syntax. While courses on reading, writing, grammar, speaking and listening are common
in L2 programs, there are very few vocabulary courses. We still lack operational
comprehensive models for various areas of vocabulary that “allow us to systematize and
synthesize all the knowledge we have gained so far about vocabulary” (Maiguashca 1993,
p.94). Materials of vocabulary teaching that teachers could use in various educational
contexts are also urgently needed. Moreover, the studies of vocabulary acquisition and
teaching are limited mainly to the area of English as a Second Language (ESL). “All the
current work is based on Indo-European languages, despite the fact that cognate
vocabularies seem relatively easy to learn and that non-Indo-European languages are
known to cause special problems in the area of vocabulary acquisition”(Meara 1996,
P-37).

8
1.2.2 Studies in Chinese Vocabulary Acquisition
The study of teaching and learning Chinese as a second/foreign language is very
young. Despite a lot of interesting work in grammar, speaking, listening, writing and
culture, vocabulary acquisition in CSL/CFL has received scant research attention. The
studies of Chinese word acquisition, compared with the increasing amount of work in
English word acquisition, are very few and superficial. No experimental studies have been
conducted. On the other hand, studies have found that vocabulary is the main difficulty of
all CFL learners at different levels, and it is also the main problem in all the learning
processes of Chinese speaking, listening, reading and writing (Gao, Li & Guo 1993).
Studies on reading in CFL also indicate that word identification undoubtedly facilitates the
ability of reading Chinese. Because of the challenging nature of Chinese vocabulary and
the lack of necessary Chinese word knowledge, it is difficult for CFL learners to identify
and isolate units of meaning, to build up Chinese character networks, and to demonstrate
intratextual perceptions (i.e. how different parts of a text are integrated into a coherent
discourse structure) in Chinese reading; thus, the development of Chinese reading
proficiency is seriously hindered (Everson & Ke 1997, Li 1997). Flowever, Chinese word
study is still limited to the morphological area, and the discussions are focused on the
linguistic description of Chinese words, such as the definition of a ‘word’, word categories
and grammatical functions, the historical development of Chinese words and analysis of
word structure. The only major achievement in vocabulary pedagogy is the statistics of
basic and frequently used words in Modern Chinese. It has been found that 3,000
frequently-used words cover 86.7% of reading materials (Wang 1986). Among them,
1645 are compounds (Wang 1994). It has been accepted that these high-frequency words

9
have to be taught first in CSL/CFL. Beside this research, only a few studies have
discussed some pedagogical techniques in vocabulary teaching, and the following
techniques are suggested:
1. Comparative and Contrastive Technique: to compare and contrast the
meanings and functions of synonyms (Huang, X. 1993; Huang, B. 1997).
2. Key Word Imagination: to image a picture and situation where a key word
can describe or be used, or to link a key word with other related words to form
a network (Zhang 1990; Huang, Z. 1994; Lin 1997).
3. Context Technique: to teach words in sentences and contexts (Zhang 1990;
Zhu 1993; Huang, X. 1993).
4 Word Structure: to list together the words with the same morpheme, or to
analyze word structure in order to help learners distinguish similar words
(Zhang 1990; Liu 1997).
Such studies are highly limited in both scope and quantity. There is no thorough study
and discussion of how vocabulary pedagogy can be applied systematically in the classroom
from the beginning to the advanced level. There is no investigation or analysis of how
learners learn, store and produce Chinese words. Moreover, no learning strategies used
by learners of CSL/CFL are reported or discussed. Vocabulary is also rarely considered as
an important component in course-books. In most Chinese textbooks currently used,
there are only vocabulary lists of Chinese words and their English (or French, Japanese)
glosses, and very few exercises are especially designed for vocabulary. In short, there is a
vast unexplored area in vocabulary acquisition of CSL/CFL, and numerous interesting
topics have not been explored.

10
1.3 Design of Research
1.3.1 Properties of Chinese Words
Chinese is usually regarded as a language difficult for Western learners. From its
phonology and syntax to the writing system, Chinese is very different from western
languages. It is true that many features of Chinese, such as the tones and the writing
system which are not directly related to the pronunciation of a word, are difficult for L2
learners of Chinese; but some other features, such as its word composition and character
structure, can very well be utilized to make it easier to learn the language.
In modern Chinese, most words are compounds. These words are formed by
combining two or three monosyllabic morphemes together. Each morpheme, in the
Chinese writing system, is by and large written as a character. Mostly, the meaning of a
compound can be derived from the meanings of its morphemes or characters. The total
number of Chinese characters is truly huge, but commonly used ones are much fewer.
About 3,800 common characters can cover 99.9% of Chinese reading materials (Zhang
1992, p.69). In Xian-dai Han-vu Chang-vong-zi Biao fS ft '¡2. iff fit ffl '/■ (A List
of Common Characters in Modern Chinese! (1987), 2,500 characters are listed as the
most-frequently used and the most needed characters which can comprise 97.97% of
Chinese reading materials; another 1,000 characters with lower frequencies comprise
1.51% of reading materials; and all the other characters are rarely used and only comprise
0.52% of Chinese reading materials. As a result, only 3000-4000 characters are used to
produce words which comprise 99.64%-99.9% of general reading materials. Moreover,
Chinese characters have another useful feature: each character generally contains one or,

11
in rarer cases, more meaningful components which are traditionally termed “radicals”.
Historically, the total number of radicals has varied greatly, from 214 to 540, depending
on the method of identification. The most minute division of components in recent studies
counts such radicals between 430-475, but only 70-94 of them are the basic and the most
common ones which are used in more than 70% of all the characters (Huang 1996, Fei
1996). The facts that a limited number of characters can be combined into an enormous
Chinese vocabulary and that a limited number of radicals can derive thousands of
characters certainly constitute a tremendous advantage to vocabulary acquisition for
CFL/CSL learners as well as for native speakers. Unfortunately, this has not been taken
advantage of in Chinese vocabulary pedagogy. To fill the virtual void, this research is
designed to study the structures of Chinese words and characters and their roles in
vocabulary recognition of both native speakers and foreigners. From this perspective,
several experimental studies of Chinese word recognition and acquisition were designed to
form an important part of this study. Moreover, in order to provide the rules of Chinese
word structure to vocabulary pedagogy and to help foreign learners acquire vocabulary,
much of this study is devoted to an analysis of Chinese words. At the end of this research,
a possible teaching pedagogy from the beginning to the advanced level is suggested to
help learners develop their vocabulary more easily and more quickly.
1.3.2 Organization of the Dissertation
This study contains nine chapters. Following this introduction, Chapter two briefly
reviews the related theories of SLA and psycholinguistics which can be expected to
contribute to vocabulary pedagogy. Studies in SLA have concluded that well-organized
classroom instruction and carefully-designed learning strategies can help L2 learners

12
acquire a language effectively. This suggests that vocabulary acquisition can also be
improved through formal education and strategy training. Morphological and
psycholinguistic studies have found that words are regularly structured in every language,
and that morphemes figure prominently in the lexical recognition process of native
speakers to help them understand, memorize and learn derived words. This means that
morphemes and word structure should also play an important role in vocabulary
acquisition and pedagogy.
Psychological studies have also found that morphemes and word structure are used
in the recognition of familiar words by native Chinese speakers. It is not clear, however,
if this knowledge is also adopted to guess at unfamiliar ones. Furthermore, it is also
unknown how important and helpful the knowledge of word structure is in the process of
deriving the meaning of a new word, or whether it plays a role in learning a new word. To
answer these questions, the methods used by Chinese native speakers and CFL learners to
understand and acquire Chinese words are investigated, compared and analyzed. Their
reports are presented in Chapters Three and Four. These two chapters consist of surveys,
tests, interviews and analysis of results. The results show that word structures and
character radicals as well as contexts form a very important part of information that native
speakers can rely on to infer the meaning of a word. Such information makes it possible
for native speakers to understand an unfamiliar word easily and fast. L2 learners of
Chinese at different language levels, however, lack the ability to use this kind of
information if they are not trained for it. The results suggest that radicals and word
structure are a very important part of Chinese language, and they should be taught as a
part of the linguistic skills in Chinese instruction.

13
Chapters Five and Six are the analyses of Chinese word structure, including the
description of previous studies, the main structure types of Chinese words, and the
relationships between the meanings of a word and its components. In Chapter Seven, a
cognitive analysis of common measure words (classifiers) and localizers is provided The
goal of these chapters is to find general rules of word structure and patterns that can be
used to help L2 learners of Chinese understand and acquire vocabulary effectively.
Chinese vocabulary pedagogy is discussed in Chapter Eight. Based on the
investigations and word studies of this research, it is suggested that effective vocabulary¬
learning strategies and the general rules of word structure should be taught in Chinese
vocabulary pedagogy. The knowledge of common character radicals/components, basic
grammar and a certain amount of ‘core’ words, i.e. the monosyllabic words and
compounds with high-frequency of occurrence in the language, should be taught to
learners at the beginning level. Character-decomposition and radical-grouping can be used
as teaching techniques to help learners memorize basic vocabulary. At the intermediate
level, the rules of word structure should be systematically introduced before learners
induce any piecemeal knowledge by themselves. At the advanced level, the main task of
Chinese vocabulary teaching is to transform learners’ potential vocabulary into an active
one through extended reading, writing and other ways of communication.
The ninth chapter is the conclusion of the entire work. The results of this research
are summarized in this chapter.

CHAPTER 2
VOCABULARY ACQUISITION AND RELATED THEORIES
2.1 Theories in Second Language Acquisition
Second language acquisition is a very complex process. It involves many internal
and external factors relative to learners. Despite many theories discussing different models
and factors, there is not a theory that directly addresses vocabulary acquisition in
second/foreign languages, which is an important part of the complex process. Vocabulary
acquisition in SLA has only been incidentally treated in some theories. This chapter will
therefore review such incidental treatments together with other related issues in those
theories.
2.1.1 Theories of Language Classroom Instruction
Foreign language learning typically depends on formal classroom instruction. The
process of classroom instruction includes the design of a syllabus, tasks, language input,
classroom interaction and language production. While some researchers advocate
language to be acquired in natural language environments by exposing the learner to
comprehensible language data, many studies have presented sufficient evidence to show
that formal instruction contributes greatly to second/foreign language acquisition By
reviewing the literature on formal instruction, Long (1983) concludes that, in general,
instruction is advantageous for children as well as for adults and for both intermediate and
advanced learners in acquisition-rich as well as acquisition-poor environments, and that
14

15
instruction appears to result in faster learning and higher levels of proficiency. Ellis also
summarizes that “formal instruction helps learners (both foreign and second) to develop
greater L2 proficiency, particularly if it is linked with opportunities for natural
exposure”(Ellis 1994, p.616). Several studies of morpheme acquisition (e g. Perkins and
Larsen-Freeman 1979, Pavesi 1986) likewise show that formal instruction results in
increased accuracy and accelerates progress through developmental sequences, even
though no difference of acquisition orders was found between instructed and naturalistic
learners. Nevertheless, there are also limitations to formal instruction. Several hypotheses
below proclaim that formal instruction only works when it matches learners’ stage of
development and focuses learners’ attention on both forms and meanings in the context of
communicative activities.
The Interface Hypothesis: Instruction facilitates acquisition by supplying
learners with conscious rules and providing practice to enable them to convert the
controlled knowledge into automatic knowledge (Sharwood-Smith 1981).
The Variability Hypothesis: Instruction of new structures will affect learners’
careful style (i.e. the language forms are consciously attended to and monitored)
but not their vernacular style (i.e. the language forms are used spontaneously and
easily in communication) (Ellis 1987).
The Teachability Hypothesis: Instruction can promote language acquisition if
the interlanguage is close to the point when the structure to be taught is acquired
in the natural setting (Pienemann 1985).

16
The Selective Attention Hypothesis: Formal instruction acts as an aid to
acquisition by providing learners with points of access and focusing their attention
(Lightbown 1985).
All these hypotheses indicate that instruction, which matches the learner’s learning stage
and style, speeds up the acquisition process by helping them pay selective attention to
form and form-meaning connections in language input, and by providing them language
rules and practice. There is sufficient evidence that formal instruction works when it is
extensive, comprehensible, clearly related to a specific function, well-designed and within
the learner’s current interlanguage (Ellis 1994, Chapter 14). Even though such studies
and theories address problems of acquisition in general terms only, they may be easily
extended to vocabulary acquisition and instruction. In other words, the process of L2
vocabulary acquisition may hopefully be accelerated through classroom instruction when
the instruction is well-designed, just as the acquisition of sentence structure is.
Conceivably, well-designed vocabulary instruction should 1) present learners with
modified input knowledge to match the stage of acquisition process, 2) focus learners’
attention on word rules that learners cannot derive easily through natural language
exposure, 3) train learners in effective learning strategies, and 4) provide learners with
more opportunities for vocabulary interaction and practice. Studies on native speakers
find that vocabulary instruction appears to have an effect on comprehension (Stahl and
Fairbanks 1986). If so, then direct vocabulary instruction would naturally be more
beneficial to and necessary for L2 learning than LI learning. This is so because L2
learners have less natural and incidental exposure to their target language and they cannot
acquire the mass of vocabulary they need by the limited amount of language data they are

17
provided in meaningful reading, listening, speaking and writing. In fact, at least one study
has found that systematic instruction can indeed result in L2 students learning certain
target words, and it suggests that the most effective way of addressing the vocabulary
needs of L2 students is through a combination of reading and interactive vocabulary
instruction (Zimmerman 1994).
2.1.2 Theories of Learning Strategies
Language learning strategies are mental and behavioural actions or techniques
used by learners to make language learning more successful. They include memorization,
contextualization and inferencing. It has been reported that learning strategies are very
important in the success of SLA, and different learning strategies contribute to different
aspects of L2 proficiency (Ellis 1994, Chapter 12).
There are three major types of strategies: 1) cognitive strategies, including direct
analysis, transformation or synthesis of learning materials; 2) metacognitive strategies, i.e.
learning a language by means of planning, monitoring and evaluation; and 3)
social/affective strategies, which concerns “the ways in which learners elect to interact
with other learners and native speakers” (Ellis 1994, p.538). It has been found that
language learners are generally aware of and can identify the strategies they use if they are
asked to pay attention to what they do. Strategy choice is affected by individual
differences, the learner’s personal background and situational or social factors. Successful
learners appear to use learning strategies more frequently, flexibly and appropriately.
They pay attention to both form and meaning and search for meaning in the L2 data they
are exposed to. Good learners treat the target language as a system by making effective
comparisons, analyzing and using reference, and they also treat teachers as ‘informants’ by

18
showing more active involvement in language learning (Pickett 1978). Research on
language learning strategies holds considerable promise for language pedagogy. It is
believed that “learning will be facilitated if students are explicitly trained to become more
aware of and proficient in the use of a broad range of strategies that can be utilized
throughout the language learning process” (Cohen 1998, p.66). Strategy training in
language instruction can improve both the learning skills and the language skills of
students. It is claimed that strategy training provides students with the necessary tools to:
1) self-diagnose their strengths and weaknesses in language learning; 2) become more
aware of what helps them to learn the language they are studying most efficiently; 3)
develop a broad range of problem-solving skills; 4) experiment with both familiar and
unfamiliar learning strategies; 5) decide how to approach a language task; 6) monitor and
self-evaluate their performance; and 7) transfer successful strategies to new learning
contexts (Weaver and Cohen 1998). Therefore, strategy training can enhance students’
efforts to reach language program goals because it encourages students to find their own
pathways to success, and thus it promotes learners’ autonomy and self-direction.
Research on vocabulary acquisition is in fact the study of learning strategies. It
investigates strategies of different types, analyzes the effective elements in vocabulary
acquisition, and seeks effective ways to use learning techniques in the process of
vocabulary learning. As Ellis remarks, strategy “is particularly useful in vocabulary
acquisition” (1994, p.556), and it is crucial to teach students strategies for learning
vocabulary. A number of scholars have argued that as there is a lot of individual variation
among learners; therefore, teaching them vocabulary learning strategies is even more
crucial (Oxford and Scarcella 1994, Sanaoui 1995, Coady 1997, Parry 1997). L2 learners

19
usually cannot acquire the mass of vocabulary they need only from their language class
and other teaching materials. Thus, they should be taught how to continue to improve
their vocabulary on their own by teaching them appropriate vocabulary learning strategies.
“The development of extensive vocabulary knowledge for advanced literacy purposes
requires some direct instruction and strategy training, as well as extensive exposure to the
language (usually through reading)” (Coady 1997, p. 277). The first problems in
vocabulary teaching can be reduced to the locating of strategies and the choosing among
them. Since successful learners generally pay attention to both form and meaning and
treat a target language as a system, regular rules for both the form and meaning of a word
should be analyzed and introduced into the strategies of vocabulary learning. Moreover,
the learning styles of learners from different cultures and backgrounds should be taken into
account in planning the strategies.
2.2 Theories in Psycholinguistic Studies
2.2.1 Morphological Structure and Mental Lexicon
Mental lexicon is the mental dictionary of a “vast compendium of information
about words and their relationships that you carry about in your head” (Kess 1992, p 80).
In this sense, word recognition is not instantaneous. In the view of some psycholinguists,
there are three stages in word recognition: prelexical process, lexical access, and
postlexical process.
Prelexical processes analyze a written or spoken input, identifying it as a
particular word. Lexical access activates semantic, phonological, orthographic,
and other information associated with the lexical item. Postlexical processes
select, elaborate on, and integrate lexical information in order to comprehend
sentences and discourse. (Taylor 1990, p. 174)

20
From the 1970s to 90s, one typical research question of psycholinguists interested
in the lexicon was whether or not morphological structure plays a role in the processing of
language comprehension and production. In the 1970s, two hypotheses were proposed
for lexical representation: the Whole-Word Hypothesis, which maintains that there is an
independent lexical representation for each word of the language, and no morphological
structure is encoded at the level of lexical representation of words; and the Full
Decomposed Representation Hypothesis, which assumes that morphemic units consisting
of roots, derivational affixes and inflectional affixes are independently represented in
lexical representations, or only those morphologically complex forms of inflectional affixes
are represented. There is evidence against both hypotheses. On the one hand, there are a
large number of polymorphemic words in the lexicon of numerous languages in the world,
and language users can coin and understand novel polymorphemic words without any
noticeable difficulty. This indicates that the morphological dimension of language is not a
linguistic accident but serves an important purpose in language use. There are at least two
problems that the Whole-word Hypothesis cannot solve: the morphological system allows
users to recognize new forms, and it also allows for the rejection of “illegal” forms On
the other hand, the Fully Decomposed Representation hypothesis also has problems, e g it
cannot explain the irregular inflectional affixes in many languages, and it also ignores the
type of word storage, which may be relevant. In light of this, researchers tried to seek
new explanations in the 1980s.
Caramazza, Laudanna and Romani (1988) proposed the Augmented Addressed
Morphology (AAM) Model. The model assumes that lexical access to morphologically
complex words takes place through whole-word access units for known words, and

21
through morpheme-sized access units for unfamiliar morphologically regular words or
novel words. Both whole-word and morpheme-sized access units will be activated.
Recent and ongoing research strongly supports this model. Based on the AAM Model,
further findings suggest that morphological operations crucially co-determine lexical
processing.
In the 1990s, psycholinguistic studies distinguished two kinds of representations of
the mental-lexicon: 1) access representations, and 2) linguistic representations. The access
representations mediate between the perceptual system and the mental lexicon, and the
linguistic ones represent semantic and syntactic properties. Sandra gives the following
reasons that morphological structure of words could be involved in the mental lexicon:
At the access level, morphological structure of words could be involved for several
reasons: (1) economy of representation, i.e. the absence of access representations
for polymorphemic words; (2) access speed, i.e. the use of stem morphemes to
achieve fast access to the mental lexicon; (3) computation of sentence structure,
i.e. early access to affix representations with the purpose of a fast delivery of
syntactically important information to the syntactic module; (4) the automatic
creation of processing unites corresponding to frequently occurring letter clusters.
At the level of linguistic representations, morphological structure could serve the
purposes of (1) economy of representation and (2) acquisition/learning efficiency,
i.e. the creation of an efficient retrieval scheme for words. (Sandra 1994a, p 266)
In other words, Sandra (1994a) argues that morphemes a) might be needed to access a
representation of the whole word, b) are used to express morphological relatedness at a
post-access level, and c) are used to determine the meaning(s) of the word.
Through evaluating prefix processing and representation in two lexical decision
experiments on printed stimuli, Landanna, Burani and Cermele (1994) find that
morphological structure is present in both the lexical representations and in the procedures
for lexical access. After investigating whether the visual recognition of short prefixed and

22
suffixed words is affected by their morphological structure, Beauvillain (1994) reports that
the morpheme unit is a significant advantage to recognize novel words or nonwords.
“Previously experienced words would activate whole-word access units, whereas that
recognition of novel words or nonwords would occur through the activation of morpheme
units” (Beauvillain 1994, p.334). This morphemic decomposition is not constrained by the
sequential organization of the morphemic elements within a word. Zwitserlood (1994)
investigated semantic transparency in the processing and representation of Dutch
compounds. The study showed that 1) completely opaque compounds are the same as
mono-morphemic words and are not connected with their constituents at the level of
semantic representations; and 2) fully or only partially transparent compounds, however,
are linked with the representations of their constituents, and the constituents clearly
contribute to the overall meaning of compounds and produce significant semantic
facilitation. Sandra (1994a) argues that there are two parallel access routes in the mental
lexicon: one making use of whole-word access representations and post-access connection
between morpho-semantically related words; and the other where the meaning of the
whole word is computed from its morphemes. In a study by Clahsen (1996), German
shows the same distinction as English: regular morphological forms are rule-based in
representation, and irregular forms are memory-based in the mental lexicon. These
findings provide support for the dual-mechanism model, which, developed from the AAM
model, suggests that there are two qualitatively different mechanisms for word formation:
one is a rule-based symbolic processor for generating regular forms, and the other is an
associative memory for the storage of irregular forms.

23
Moreover, based on several experimental studies, Chialant and Caramazza (1995)
claim that morphological decompositionality is the result of both semantic and formal
decompositionality. “Morphological information cannot only be regarded as part of the
semantic representation of a lexical item but is also encoded along with the formal
properties of the lexical unit at the lexical representation level”(p 73). In the overview of
Hebrew morphological studies, Bentin and Frost (1995) suggest that adult readers are
aware of the morphological structure of words even when the morphemic constituents are
not phonological units themselves, and that morphological analysis is necessary to activate
the meaning of a morphologically complex word. All this constitutes enough evidence for
the claim that the organization of a language lexicon includes morphological principles
Baayen, Burani, and Schreuder (1996) present evidence in Italian that even regular noun
plurals may be represented as full-forms in the mental lexicon; however, full-form
representations do not block morphological processing. They show that, in fact, the
combination of both full-form and constituent-morphemes representations speeds up
lexical processing.
Psycholinguistic studies have drawn a picture that morphological processing in the
mental lexicon is not an all-or-none issue. Whole-word forms and morphological units are
both in the mental lexicon. Morphological structure plays a very important role in word
recognition, language comprehension and production, and it helps native speakers
memorize, understand and use the vocabulary of a language.
2.2.2 Morphological Structure and Language Learning
The results of experimental data on vocabulary learning strongly suggest that
morphemes do play a role in word learning. A longitudinal study by Carlisle (1995),

24
which was designed to investigate the development of morphological awareness of
children in the early school years (from kindergarten through second grade), has found
that kindergartners have trouble with a morphological awareness task, but first and second
graders show significantly better morphological and phonological awareness on word
analysis and reading comprehension tests. The results of this study indicate that there is a
relationship between morphological awareness and reading achievement in the early school
years. Carlisle (1995) argues: “morphological awareness may be particularly important for
older students because morphological decomposition and problem-solving provide one
way to understand and learn the large number of derived words used in the books they
read” (p. 205). Schenck (1982), in the same manner, describes English vocabulary
strategy performances of 72 students (adults) at four different levels. This study reveals
the fact that memorization, application and generalization of ‘word part’ (morpheme)
information are significant predicators of vocabulary score performance. It suggests that
“knowing sets of word part rules, application of those rules and generalizations from those
rules were the over-all predictors of good or poor scores on the criterion vocabulary test”
(Schenck 1982, p. 94). Sandra (1994a, 1994b) also shows that the young adults he
studied learned derived words with familiar root morphemes and developed a root-based
memory encoding.
With a simple simulation of language learning, Smith (1995) examined whether
acquiring complex morphemic systems poses formidable problems for the learner. He
claims: 1) morphemic structures project in a systematic way; 2) linguistic features help
the learner, and a totally regular pattern is learned more quickly than irregularities or a set
of patterns without morphemic structure; 3) morphemic processing may be an area where

25
individual differences are substantial, and these differences might be derived mainly from
linguistic experience and education; 4) generalization to new instances is patchy, unless
sufficient examples are given of the productivity of a given morpheme; and 5) the
irregularity in a set of patterns affects the ways the entire set of patterns is represented and
processed. Furthermore, the simulations in a study by Gasser (1996) shows that
“performance on word recognition and production tasks is facilitated when there has been
previous training on a morphologically similar task” (p. 111).
In summary, studies have shown that morphological structure is directly related to
vocabulary performance and reading achievement. Native speakers of different languages
are all aware of morphological structure and apply it to their vocabulary learning and
memorization. By using such knowledge, native speakers can learn a large number of
derived words quickly.
2,2.3 Morphological Structure in Chinese Learning Process
Words in Modem Chinese are mainly monomorphemic or bimorphemic ones
developed from monomorphemic words of Classical Chinese by morpheme combination or
affix addition. Most morphemes in Chinese are monosyllabic, and each syllable in turn is
represented by a character in writing. As the Chinese character is the only unit of written
representation, word boundaries are not explicitly marked at all in written texts. Thus, the
concept of word in Chinese is always fuzzy. Furthermore, in the view of cognitive
economy, the character is perhaps the most convenient unit for storage since more than a
million Chinese words are made up of about 4,500 characters (Wang 1986). Because of
this, Hoosain (1992) suggests that the mental storage of morphemes in Chinese plays a
greater role than is the case in English, and “it would be likely that a greater proportion of

26
multimorphemic words in Chinese (compared with English) is not necessarily listed in the
lexicon but instead have meanings arrived at in the course of language use” (p. 126).
Moreover, the unique features of Chinese can probably affect processing strategies used in
reading Chinese texts. Characters perform the role of basic perceptual units in Chinese
reading in much the same way as words do in alphabetic reading (Chen 1992).
In a study by Zhang and Peng (1992), the hypothesis that representations of
Chinese words are stored in morphologically decomposed form was investigated through
three lexical decision experiments in which character frequency, word frequency and
morphological structure were the stimuli. The study suggests that all two-character words
are stored in decomposed form, and that morphological structure information, which
includes the word type, the grammatical class of the characters, the distance and the
strength between the two characters in the lexicon, etc., determines the relationship of the
two characters. In coordinative (parallel) words, the two characters are equally important;
but in modifier-head words, the character of the head is the main morpheme. Meanwhile,
the frequency of the word and that of the character will also affect the storage of Chinese
words. In another study, however, Zhou and Marslen-Wilson (1994) argue that Chinese
disyllabic words are represented as wholes in the mental lexicon. Nonetheless, they also
conclude that the morphological structure of disyllabic words is represented at both the
word and morpheme levels. Based on previous studies, Liu and Peng (1997) present a
processing model of Chinese compounds as shown in Figure 2.1.

27
whole word
orthographi
morpheme
input
Figure 2.1 The Processing Framework of Chinese Compounds
(Liu and Peng 1997, p. 229)
This model suggests that the whole word and the morpheme overlap to some extent at the
meaning level: when the activation level of the whole word meaning starts to rise, the
morphemes of transparent words will receive facilitative feedback from the word meaning
and, on the other hand, will send more activation to the whole word meaning All these
studies indicate that morphological structure does play a more important role in Chinese
language processing than in the case of English or some other languages.
2.3 Theoretical Implications
The theories of SLA and the results of psycholinguistic studies discussed above
directly and indirectly point to what should be taken into serious consideration in the
vocabulary pedagogy of CFL/CSL and how language pedagogy can help learners acquire
vocabulary effectively. The theories provide the following guidelines:

28
1. Vocabulary acquisition can be accelerated by formal instruction that is carefully
designed to match the developmental stage and learning style of the learner,
and by offering word rules with sufficient opportunities for interaction and
language data exposure.
2. Vocabulary acquisition can be successfully carried out by training in applying
various learning strategies. Learners should be led to focus on both the form
and meaning of language input, and to analyze, generalize and use rules
derived from the input.
3. Psycholinguistic studies have shown that morphemes play an important role in
mental lexicon and word-learning processing. Given these findings, word
structure and morphological rules will accelerate the vocabulary learning
progress. Knowledge of morphology should be an important part of
vocabulary instruction and must not be ignored in vocabulary teaching in CFL
4 Modern Chinese vocabulary is morpheme-based. A lot of the lexical items are
compounds. Studies have found that morphological structure is more
important to vocabulary recognition and lexicon memory in Chinese than in
many other languages. This means that the characteristics of Chinese words
should be fully utilized in pedagogy in order to facilitate Chinese vocabulary
learning. Moreover, since written texts of Chinese appear in largely
morphemic characters, the latter should also play an important role in Chinese
vocabulary pedagogy and acquisition.

CHAPTER 3
CHARACTER RADICAL AND WORD STRUCTURE IN
CHINESE WORD INFERRING BY NATIVE SPEAKERS
3.1 Research Questions and Assumptions
As discussed in Chapter Two, psycholinguistic studies strongly indicate that
morphology plays an important role in mental lexicon and word recognition. This claim
applies to Chinese even more truly (Hoosain 1992) because most words in the language
are morphologically analyzable compounds, which are written mainly in self-contained
morphemic characters without any marking for word boundary. Experimental studies also
show that Chinese morphological structure is present in mental lexicon and that it serves
important functions in word recognition and comprehension. Despite all this, there has
not been a single study on how frequently morphological structure is used in word
inference, and whether or not Chinese speakers usually derive the meaning of an unfamiliar
word by morphological structure and by the meaning of the component morphemes.
Furthermore, there are other unanswered questions. For example, what kind of words can
be understood easily through morphological structure and what kinds of word meaning are
difficult to be inferred? When and how can word meaning be inferred correctly? When is
context information necessary to guess a word meaning? Is the frequency of this inference
affected by the education level of the speaker? More research is needed to find the
answers to these important questions.
29

30
Based on previous psycholinguistic studies and observations of what native
Chinese speakers usually do, this study proposes the following hypotheses:
1. Native Chinese speakers can infer the meanings of unfamiliar words without
consulting any dictionary in their reading.
2. The strategies used in the inference involve the use of morphological
knowledge in the mind of the native speaker, even though s/he is not explicitly
taught such knowledge and skill.
3. The knowledge of character structure, especially the information on meaning
from the radical, is an important part of the strategies to infer the meaning of
an unknown character.
4. Chinese speakers, just like native speakers of other languages, can use
contextual information to infer the meanings of unfamiliar words .
In order to test these hypotheses, a series of investigations were conducted in this
study. The results of these investigations also provided the answers to the following
research questions:
1. When do native Chinese speakers infer the meaning of a compound word by
word structure?
2. Can native speakers also infer the meaning of a mono-morphemic word
through the radical of a Chinese character?
3. Do they infer the meanings of unfamiliar words more frequently as they
become more educated?
4. What kind of words have meanings that can be more easily inferred?

31
5. When is contextual information necessary to infer a word meaning?
The investigations and the results are discussed in the following sections.
3.2 Research Design
3.2.1 Data Collection
A series of investigations, which include a survey, a word test and an interview,
were conducted. The survey was first designed in this research to collect data on what
native Chinese speakers think they do when they encounter an unfamiliar word in their
reading. Information on the participants’ backgrounds, such as educational levels and
their usual reading materials, were also solicited. Then, a follow-up word test was
designed to check against the results of the survey and to see if native speakers can truly
infer the meanings of unfamiliar words by radicals, morphological knowledge and context.
This part of the data collection (i.e. the survey and the word test) was mostly done in
Mainland China in 1998. Finally, an interview was undertaken to seek detailed facts about
when and how a word meaning is inferred. The interview was done at the University of
Florida
3.2.2 The Participants
The participants of the survey and test were 184 Chinese native speakers at
different educational levels. Among them, 54 were junior middle school students from
two different classes in the same school, 53 were high school students from two different
classes in another school, 53 were students with different majors in a teacher training
school and 24 were randomly selected graduate students studying in the United States.
Each student was given the survey first and then was asked to take part in the-paper-and-

32
pencil word test. Most of the participants worked under monitors inside classrooms to
make sure that they finished the survey and test according to the requirement.
The participants of the interview were fifteen Chinese graduate students in
different majors at the University of Florida. Among them, two were from Taiwan and
others were from Mainland China. They were randomly selected, and were asked to infer
the meanings of the test words one by one and to describe how they reached their
answers.
3.2.3 The Survey
Questions about how native Chinese speakers recognize unfamiliar words were
designed for a survey to find out about strategies that the subjects thought they use in their
Chinese-word recognition, together with information on participants’ educational levels
and other backgrounds. Questions were either multiple-choice or open-ended in order to
get as much information as possible (see Appendix A). Since participants usually do not
like to spend much time answering a survey, the survey was designed to take no more than
5-10 minutes.
3.2.4 The Word Test
In spite of the usefulness of a survey, a technique of high-quantity data collection,
there are weaknesses as well. One of the weaknesses is in the possibility that the collected
answers may be merely what the participants think they do but may not be what they really
do. The answers should be checked for reliability and validity against the information
obtained in a more objective manner. Moreover, the survey cannot tell us what strategy
was used in inferring a word meaning and when it was used, or if the meaning inference

33
was correct or not. For these reasons, a word-test was designed and presented to the
participants after they answered the survey.
In the test, the participants were required to infer the meanings of some words
without consulting any dictionary or reference material. They were asked to write down a
general meaning (e g. a kind of animal, plant) or a detailed meaning of each test word if
they could. They were also asked to put a question mark “?” beside an unfamiliar word
and then to write down the possible meaning(s) they could infer. If no meaning could be
inferred, a blank was left. The test words were either Classical Chinese, new terms just
appearing in modern Chinese, dialectal terms, nomenclature (i.e. terms only used in
specific professional areas like chemistry, botany, medical science, etc ), or words used
only in Taiwan but not occurring in the Chinese of Mainland China. All of them were
supposedly unfamiliar to the participants. The types of test terms were either mono-
morphemic words or compounds. They were arranged randomly in the test. The
character radicals of the mono-morphemic words either presented some hint of the
meaning categories (e g. plant, an action of hands, animal) or did not link with the
meaning directly. The structure types of the compounds were varied, including these of
modifier-head, verb-object, parallel and noun-verb. Some of the compounds were opaque,
and their meanings were not directly related to their roots or component morphemes. The
test consisted of two parts. Part A was a list of 30 individual words without any context.
Part B contained 15 test words placed in sentences in order to check whether or not
context information is helpful to infer the meanings. Nine of the 15 words also appeared
in Part A in order to verify if the meaning was more likely to be inferred when the context
is present. Thus, the participants were asked to do the word list first, and then move to

34
the second part. After they moved to or finished Part B, they were not permitted to move
back to check or revise the answers of Part A.
Before the survey and word-test were actually used in the field, both were tested in
a pilot project. Then they were revised to delete some problematic items.
3.2.5 The Interview
Subsequent to the above tasks, a verbal-report interview was conducted to check
on the results of the survey and the word test. The technique of a verbal-report can infer
the cognitive processes of participants involved in some learning tasks and can reveal
information that might otherwise be hidden or lost from the researcher. Since dictionary
use has always been emphasized in traditional school education in China, the participants
might have tried to avoid inferring the meanings of unfamiliar words when they were
answering the questions. This would affect the accuracy of the study, and the results
would not reflect the facts in the word recognition process of native Chinese speakers.
Furthermore, the answers of the survey and word test cannot tell how participants reached
a right or wrong meaning, and what kind of clue they mostly paid attention to in the
process of lexical inference. The interview was intended to find out possible variables that
might affect the accuracy of the findings and the cognitive processes of participants.
The same questions of the survey and test were used in the interview.
Interviewees were asked to guess at the meaning of each word in the test as much as they
could and to think aloud about what hint or clue they had adopted to get the meaning. All
the answers were written down by the interviewer immediately for subsequent analysis.
The results were compared with those of the survey and word test.

35
3.3 Results
The results of the survey, the interview and the two parts of the word-test were
calculated separately and compared with each other. The answers of the participants at
different educational levels were also calculated separately in order to see if there were
any differences between these groups. Details of the results are given in the following
subsections.
3.3.1 Results of the Survey
Table 3.1 presents the results of strategy-use reported in the survey. Group A are
the students in a junior middle school, Group B are the high school students, Group C are
the students in the teachers training school, and Group D are the graduate students. The
designation “Dictionary” means that a dictionary was most likely used when an unfamiliar
word appeared in reading. “Surmise” means that the meaning of the word was most likely
inferred at when an unfamiliar word came about. “Both” means that both inferencing and
consulting a dictionary were employed. Generally inferencing was first, and, if not
successful, consulting a dictionary was accomplished. “Ignore” means no attempt was
made to arrive at the meaning. The numbers and percentages are listed under the headings
below.
The results in Table 3.1 indicate that guessing the meaning of an unknown word
was frequently used by native Chinese speakers. In the data, a total of 67 participants
(36.4%) reported that they only surmise the meanings of unfamiliar words without the
help of any dictionary or other means. Sixty (32.6%) of them reported that they usually
guessed at word meanings first and, if not successful, tried to find the answers in a

36
dictionary. In other words, about 69% of participants (127) reported that they would
guess at the meaning when an unfamiliar word appeared in their reading, though about half
of them would also consult a dictionary. This percentage (69%) is very high. The real
percentage could be even higher. Since students are always encouraged to use
dictionaries in Chinese schools, especially in primary and secondary schools, some of the
participants in the survey might have been reluctant to admit that they did not use a
dictionary. In the interview, however, 100% of the interviewees reported that they would
guess at the meaning of an unfamiliar word first, and dictionaries were seldom used (cf.
the results of the interview).
Table 3.1 Strategy-use reported in the survey
Group
Dictionary
Surmise
Both
Ignore
Total
Group A
34 (63%)
4 (7.4%)
16 (29.6%)
0
54
Group B
7 (13.2%)
27 (51%)
19 (35.8%)
0
53
Group C
14 (26.4%)
15 (28.3%)
23 (43.4%)
1 (1.9%)
53
Group D
1 (4.2%)
21 (87.5%)
2 (8.3%)
0
24
Total
56 (30.4%) 67 (36.4%) 60(32.6%) 1 (0.6%) 184
Table 3.1 also shows that the groups at different educational levels usually adopted
different methods to arrive at a word meaning. Among the students of the junior middle
school, 63% of them reported that they would use a dictionary to look for the meaning of
an unfamiliar Chinese word The percentages for other groups are much lower. For
Groups B and C, i.e. the high school students and the teacher trainees, the percentages are
13.2% and 26.4%, respectively. Only one student in Group D reported that a dictionary
was usually used. In terms of inferencing, however, only 7.4% of group A reported

37
positively. The other groups reported much higher percentages. For Groups B and C,
51% and 28.3% of them reported, respectively, that they mainly guessed at the meaning of
an unknown word. For Group D, as high as 87.5% reported doing so.
The results show that the method of arriving at word meanings co-varies with the
educational level of the native speaker. The lower the educational level of a Chinese
speaker is, the more likely a dictionary is used. The higher the educational level of the
speaker is, the more likely other strategies are used. We can rearrange the table according
to educational levels and use a chi-square test to check whether the difference occured just
by chance or is indeed statistically significant. Since Groups B and C, the high school
students and the teacher trainees, are at the about same educational level, they are
calculated together.
Table 3.2 The chi-square test of the strategy-use in different groups
Group A
Group B & C
Group D
Total
Dictionary
34
21
1
nii=56
Inferring
4
42
21
t"
VD
II
(N
c
Total
nji=38
nj2=63
nj3=22
N=123
E= n¡nj /N,
X2=I(0-E)2/E=48.27 a=( n, -
l)(nj-l)=2
p=3.3 xl0 11< 0.001
Note: E= expected number, O = observed number, a = degree of freedom p = the
probability of null hypothesis
In the above test, the probability of the null hypothesis (i.e. no significant
difference between test groups) is very low (p=3.3 xlCT11) and is much less than 0.1%
(0.001). This means that the chance of having a significant difference between these
groups is more than 99.999%, and that the null hypothesis can be rejected The result of

38
the chi-square test demonstrates that strategy-use varies with the educational level of
native Chinese speakers. It is confirmed that the higher the educational level of the native
speaker is, the more inferring will be used to reach the meaning of an unknown word.
Context, character radicals and word-structure were variably listed by individuals
as the information sources by which to infer the meanings of unfamiliar words. The
numbers and percentages of each information source are summarized in Table 3.3.
Table 3.3 List of using different knowledge to infer a word meaning
Group A
n=54
Group B
n=53
Group C
n=53
Group D
n=24
Context
48 (89%)
43 (81.1%)
46 (87%)
24 (100%)
Radical
34 (63%)
20 (37.7%)
36 (68%)
18 (75%)
Word-
structure
28 (52%)
18(34%)
11 (20.75%)
17(70.83%)
As presented in the table, most of the participants in each group reported that
contextual information was used to infer word meaning. The percentage in each group is
more than 80%, and it even reaches 100% in Group D This shows that contextual
information is very important in meaning inferring. Many of them also reported that the
knowledge of radicals was also used frequently. Compared with contextual information
and the knowledge of radical, word-structure, however, was reported to be used less
frequently. The reason may be that many participants in the survey took word-structure
for contextual knowledge, since Chinese is printed in characters without explicitly marked
word boundary. The results of the word test and the interview show that word-structure
knowledge is actually used frequently in meaning inferring. This will be discussed below.

39
3.3.2 Results of the Word Test
As stated before, the test is divided into two parts. Part A consists of 30 words,
and Part B consists of 15 words. Each of the words is worth one point and the whole test
is worth 45 points in total. Participants were asked to mark all the unfamiliar words with
a “?” or circle all the words familiar to them. The participants were instructed to give
meanings of both the familiar and unfamiliar words. One point was awarded if a correct
meaning, either general or detailed, was given for an unfamiliar word. Since the test was
designed to find whether the subject can infer the meanings of unfamiliar words, no point
was awarded for familiar words, even if a right answer was given. To most of the
participants, all the test words were unfamiliar. Fewer than twenty of them marked only
one or two words as familiar, but these exceptions were ignored in the statistics. That is,
for a few participants the sum of points is less than 45. But those cases were not taken
into consideration because the difference is so small that it is negligible. The results of the
word test are summarized in Tables 3.4, 3.5 and 3.6, respectively, for Part A, Part B, and
the whole test. Figures 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 diagrammatically describe the respective tables in
curves.
The tables and figures show that more participants in Group A got lower grades
than those in the other groups. For most participants of Groups B, C and D, the meaning
of 37%-50% of the words (from 11-20) could be inferred in Part A and those of 73%-
100% (from 11-15) words could be correctly reached in Part B.
Table 3.7 displays the mean (i.e. average grade) of each group. The numbers
indicate that, on average, the participants were successful in guessing the meanings of

40
37% of the words in Part A, 77% of the words in Part B. In total, about 50% of the
words’ meanings were correctly inferred in the whole test.
Table 3.4 Results of test Part A
Score Range Group A
n=54
Group B
n=51*
Group C Group D
n=53 n=24
Total
N=182
1-5 (3%-17%)
22 (40.7%)
3 (6%)
2(3.%)
0
27 (14.8%)
6-10 (20%-33%)
26 (48.1%)
17(33.3%)
5 (9.4%)
3 (12.5%)
51 (28%)
11-15 (37%-50%)
5 (9.3%)
16(31.4%)
31 (58.5%)
8 (33.3%)
60 (33%)
16-20 (53%-67%)
1 (1.9%)
14 (27.5%)
15 (28.3%)
12 (50%)
42 (23.1%)
21-25 (70%-83%)
0
1 (2%)
0
1 (4.2%)
2(1.1%)
26-30 (87%-100%)
0
0
0
0
0
*Note: There were 53 participants in this group, but the answers of two participants did
not follow the instructions and their answers were thus excluded from the statistics.
Figure 3.1 Results of test Part A

41
Table 3.5 Results of test Part B
Score Range
Group A
n=54
Group B
n=51
Group C
n=53
Group D
n=24
Total
N=182
1-5 (7%-33%)
22 (40.7%)
0
1 (1.9%)
0
23 (12.6%)
6-10 (40%-67%)
28 (52%)
3 (5.9%)
3 (5.7%)
0
34 (18.7%)
l
LTi
LO
N®
1
o
o
N©
ox
4 (7.4%)
48 (94.1%)
49 (92.5%)
24(100%) 125 (68.7%)
Figure 3.2 Results of test Part B
Figure 3.3 Results of the whole test

42
Table 3.6 Results of the whole test
Score Range
Group A
n=54
Group B 1
n=51
Group C
n=53
Group D
n=24
Total
N=182
1-5 (2.2%-11.1 %)
5 (9.3%)
0
0
0
5 (2.7%)
6-10 (13.3%-22.2%)
17(31.5%)
0
0
0
17(9.3%)
11-15 (24.4%-33.3%)
14 (26%)
0
1 (1.9%)
0
15 (8.2%)
16-20 (35.6%-44.4%)
16 (29.6%)
8 (15.7%)
3 (5.7%)
0
27(14.8%)
21-25 (46.7%-55.6%)
1 (1.9%)
18 (35.3%)
15 (28.3%) 5 (20.8%) 39 (21.4%)
26-30 (57.8%-66.7%)
1 (1.9%)
14 (27.5%)
25 (47.2%) 9 (37.5)
49 (27%)
31-35 (68.9%-77.8%)
0
10 (20%)
9 (17%)
10(41.7%) 29(16%)
36-40 (80%-88.9%)
0
1 (2%)
0
0
1 (0.55%)
41-45 (91.1%-100%)
0
0
0
0
0
Table 3.7 Means (average scores) of the word test
Group A
n=54
Group B
n=51
Group C
n=53
Group D
n=24
Total
n=182
Part A
6.67
12.63
13.77
15.04
11
(22%)
(42%)
(46%)
(50%)
(37%)
Part B
6.19
12.76
12.94
13.75
11.5
(41%)
(85%)
(86%)
(92%)
(77%)
Whole
12.9
25.4
26.7
28.8
22.5
(29%)
(56%) (59%)
(64%)
(50%)
It is true that the test is limited in scope due to the small number of test words and
the nature of the words. The results, therefore, do not accurately reflect the actual
percentage of times that native speakers use diiferent strategies to reach the meaning of an
unfamiliar word in real life. Nevertheless, the results at least suggest that native speakers

43
do infer the meanings of many unfamiliar words on the basis of contextual information,
their knowledge of character radicals and their knowledge of word structure. The results
of Part A in the test reveal that approximate meanings of unfamiliar words can be reached
by means of character radicals and word structure, but the rate of correct answers is
somewhat low (37% on average) when only the knowledge of character radicals or word
structure is applied When contextual information is added and combined with the other
two, the meaning of an unknown word could be reached in most cases, as is shown by the
high scores of Part B (77% on average). Obviously, there is a high correlation between
the availability of contextual information and the chances of correct inference.
On the other hand, all the tables and figures indicate that the higher the educational
level of a native speaker, the higher the scores s/he can receive. This fact is clearly
reflected by the curves in the three figures above: Group A at the lowest educational level
is always at the lowest position, Group D at the highest level of education is at the top,
Groups B and C at comparable levels of education are in the middle The results also
match the corresponding results of the survey (see section 3.3.1 and Table 3.2). The facts
clearly indicate that school education does affect native speakers’ ability to guess the
meaning of a new word by means of 1) the radical knowledge of character, 2)
morphological structure of the word, and 3) the context in which it appears.
To ascertain that the figures are significant, the test of ANOVA was used to
examine the differences between the means of the four groups in the whole test, and to
decide whether those differences are likely to happen by chance or by the variance of
educational levels (see Table 3.8).

44
For 3/178 degrees of freedom, the F-ratio should be 3.91 for a 0.01 level of
probability. As presented in Table 3.8, the F-ratio in this test is much greater (54.5 >
3.91). This means that the probability of the null hypothesis, i.e. that differences happened
by chance, is less than 1% and can be rejected. Therefore, the differences of the four
groups are significant, and it can be assumed that these differences are due to variance in
educational levels.
Table 3.8 ANOVA test of the four groups
Group A
Group B
Group C
Group D
Totals
n
54
51
53
24
N=182, K=4
IX
695
1295
1415
691
4096
IX2
10487
34205
38851
20325
107468
(IX)2
483025
1677025
2002225
477481
16777216
SST=
IX2 - (IX)2/N= 15825.5
SSB= [(IX,)2 / n, + (IX2)2 / n2 + (IX3)2 / n3 + (IX4)2 / a,] - (IX)2 / N =7318
F= MSB/ MSW = [SSB/ (K-l)]/ [(SST - SSB)/ (N - K)] = 54.5 > 3.91
d.f. B = K - 1= 3, d.f. W = N - K = 178, p < 0.01
Note: N= number of participants, K = number of groups, X = grade
SST (the sum of squares total) = the total amount of variation,
SSB (the sum of squares between the groups) = variability between groups
MSB = the mean square between groups
MSW = the mean square within groups
F = Fisher-ratio
d.f. B = degree of freedom between groups
d.f. W = degree of freedom within groups
3.3.3 Results of the Interview
The interview results are summarized in Tables 3.9 and 3.10. The goals of the
interview were to find out how native speakers of Chinese guess the meaning of an

45
unfamiliar word and to check on the results of the survey and the word test. The
interviewees were fifteen Chinese graduate students in the U S A, with thirteen of them
from mainland China and two of them from Taiwan. All the interview questions were the
same as in the survey and the word test in order to verify the data collected by these two
research techniques.
Table 3.9 Results of the interview
Method
Number
Dictionary
0
Surmise
15 (100%)
Total
15
Test
Part A
Part B
Whole Test
point=30
points 14 *
point=44
Mean
15.5 (51.8%)
13.73 (98%)
29.3 (66.5%)
*One word in Part B was familiar to many interviewees and was dropped from the score.
In the interview, 100% of the interviewees reported that they mostly infer the
meanings of unfamiliar words. On average, the meaning of more than 50% of the words
in Part A were inferred correctly, and about 98% of them in Part B were inferred
correctly. Since Part A was designed to separately test the usefulness of character
radicals and word structure in lexical recognition, the words of different types were listed
They include mono-morphemic words, modify-head compounds, verb-noun compounds,
noun-verb compounds and parallel compounds. The average score that interviewees
received for each type is listed in Table 3.10. The average number each method was used
(i.e. to use radical knowledge, word structure, or both of them to infer a word meaning)
are also shown in the table.

46
In Part A, there were altogether eleven mono-morphemic words and nineteen
compounds. For the mono-morphemic words, only radical knowledge could be used to
infer their meanings, and about 43% of them were guessed correctly on average. For the
compounds, either morphological structure or radicals or both could be used to infer the
meanings with, and about 57% of them were guessed correctly. The results suggest that
the meanings of unfamiliar compounds are easier to infer than those of new mono-
morphemic words. To make sure that the difference is not due to chance, a t-test was
used to check the average scores of interviewees for mono-morphemic words and
compounds. The probability of the null hypothesis, i.e. there is no difference between the
two groups, is less than 1% (p=0.0047 < 0.01). Thus the null hypothesis can be rejected.
This means that the score difference due to word type is significant, and that the meanings
of Chinese compounds are truly easier to infer than those of mono-morphemic words
Table 3.10 Average scores to different words and average times of method use in
Part A
Single
M-H
V-N
N-V
V-V
All Compounds
n=l 1
n=13
n=2
n=T
n=3
n=T9
Mean
4.7
7.7
0.93
0.47
1.73
10.83
(43%)
(59%) (47%) (47%) (58%)
(57%) p= 0.0047
Radical
10
1
0
0
0.5
1.5
WS
0
6
2
1
2
11
Both
0
4
0
0
0
4
Note: Single = mono-morphemic word, M-H = modify-head compound, V-N = verb-
noun compound, N-V = noun-verb compound, V-V = verb-verb compound, WS = word
structure, p= probability of the null hypothesis in t-test.

47
In the test, as the number of different types of compounds is highly limited, the
results cannot show which type of compound is easier to infer than others by the radicals
or by the word structure. There is a tendency, however, as shown in Table 3.10, that the
meanings of modifier-head compounds and V-V parallel compounds (the Vs can be action
verbs or state verbs) are more successfully guessed than those of other types. The reasons
are discussed in section 3.4.
3.4 Analysis and Discussion
The results of the investigations show that native speakers of Chinese frequently
infer the meanings of unfamiliar words in their reading, even though they are not
encouraged to do so when they are in school. The knowledge of character radicals and
word structure, as well as contextual information, is used by native speakers in inferring.
The more knowledge or information available, the more successful the inferring will be. In
Part B of the test, where words were given in contexts, participants could combine
together the knowledge of character radicals, the knowledge of word structure and
contextual information to infer the meaning of each test word. The results show that, on
average, 77% of the word meanings in Part B were inferred correctly (see Table 3.7). The
percentage for the same part is even higher in the interview, reaching 98% (see Table 3.9).
If contextual information is not available, as in Part A of the test, the percentage of
success is lower Only about 35% of the test words in that part were inferred correctly in
the test (see Table 3.7), and the percentage is 51.8% in the interview (see Table 3.9). The
percentage may be even lower if only the knowledge of radicals or the knowledge of word
structure alone is available. In the interview, only 43% of mono-morphemic words were

48
inferred successfully (see Table 3.9), because only knowledge of radicals could be
consulted.
The results of both the survey and the word test reveal that inferring the meaning
of a word is affected by the educational level of the participants. Highly educated
speakers do more inferring than less highly educated speakers, and they also do it with a
higher rate of success. The reasons may be as follows:
1. A highly educated speaker may have more knowledge of word structure than a
less educated speaker. While the knowledge of character radicals is usually
introduced in primary school, the knowledge of word structure, is seldom
taught in schools in either Mainland China or Taiwan. Native speakers of
Chinese usually accrue this knowledge by themselves through the use of the
language. The higher the education a speaker receives, the more experience of
reading and writing s/he is likely to have; therefore, the more word structure
knowledge s/he may have acquired. It has been found that Chinese fifth
graders at an elementary school could use some morphological knowledge to
get the meanings of some unknown words (Shu et al, 1995); however, the
knowledge acquisition of Chinese word structure is probably completed after a
native speaker has completed middle school.
2. A speaker with a higher educational level would have fewer unfamiliar words
and more background knowledge in reading; therefore, more contextual
information can be used to infer the meaning of an unfamiliar word.
3. A more educated speaker could have a better ability of deducing a conclusion
from separate pieces of information.

49
Furthermore, the results of the interview show a tendency: the meanings of some
types of compounds, such as modifier-head compounds and verb-verb compounds, could
be inferred more easily than those of other types.
The modifier-head (M-H) compound is a common and productive type of words in
Modern Chinese. The type is very familiar to native speakers. On average, the meanings
of 59% of such compounds were inferred correctly in the interview, and the percentage is
higher than those of other types of compounds (see Table 3.10). In the interview, if the
meaning of the head was known, the general meaning of a whole M-H compound would
be reached easily, even if the meaning of the modifier was unclear. For example, in the
interview, thirteen interviewees inferred correctly that ffi M xi-bing-wu (western-cake-
house, ‘bakery’) is “bakery shop”, “cake shop” or “the place of making cakes and bread”;
twelve of them answered that the meaning of^-K dan-min (Dan-people, ‘a kind of
boatman in southern China’) is “a kind of people” or “a minority”; and all of them inferred
successfully that the meaning of ífíj£ ru-cao (mat-grass ‘straw for making mat’) is “a
kind of grass” or “the straw used on bed”, even though they did not know the first
character. When the head was unfamiliar, the meaning of the whole M-H compound
might also be inferred correctly by the character radicals. For instance, tiao-nan
(jump-nymph ‘the nymph of a locust’) was guessed successfully by fourteen interviewees
as “a kind of insect which can jump” or “a small jumping insect”. “Í®” was an unfamiliar
character to all of the interviewees, but its radical ife, chong (‘insect, worm’) hints that this
character could mean ‘a kind of insect’.
A V-V compound is also termed ‘parallel compound’. The two verbal
morphemes in such a compound usually are synonyms or have similar meanings, and the

50
meaning of such a compound is generally similar to the individual meanings of its
components. Therefore, if the meaning of either of the components is known, the meaning
of the compound is easy to infer. In the interview, thirteen interviewees correctly
indicated that sheng-huang (immature-waste ‘virgin soil, uncultivated land’) is
“immature land”, “the land without plants”, “a remote place” or “uncultivate, waste”. In
the wordj^Jíp yi-yi (move-translate, ‘translate; translation’), the first character was
unfamiliar to all the interviewees, but eight participants still reached the right meaning of
the compound as “translate”, “ translation” or “explain, explanation”.
The meanings of verb-noun (V-N) compounds and noun-verb (N-V) compounds,
as shown by the results of the interview, may be more difficult to infer. There are two V-
N compounds listed in Part A: HIM zhua-biao (grab-fat, ‘to fatten’) and zhi-zi
(plant-character, ‘to set type for printing’). Only three interviewees arrived at the right
meanings. Since the number of such compounds in the test was seriously limited (there
are only two V-N compounds and one N-V compound), the result is not reliable. Perhaps
the reason for the low success rate in the case of the compound HIM zhua-biao ‘to fatten’
is that the meaning of the compound is not directly related to the meanings of its
components. For the compound zhi-zi ‘to set type for printing’, the reason could be
that interviewees lacked the background knowledge of the special field where the word is
used. Many interviewees thought it meant “to borrow a character”, “to create a
character”, or “to type a character”, all of which were close but not exactly correct. In
this kind of situation, contextual information is needed. When HIM zhau-biao occurs in
a sentence in Part B, all the interviewees reached the right meaning through the contextual
information. Another example is an M-H compound su-qing (white-chime stone,

51
‘jasmine’). Its meaning is metaphorical and thus opaque from the meanings of its
components. When it was listed individually, it was incorrectly inferred by most of the
interviewees as “a kind of chime stone” or “a kind of musical instrument”, but none of
them inferred the right meaning. When it appeared in a suggestive sentence in Part B, all
of the interviewees realized that it is a kind of flower.
As discussed above, when only the knowledge of character radicals could be used,
the inference was less successful. Therefore, mono-morphemic words (either
monosyllabic or disyllabic) need the help of contextual information to infer the meanings
correctly. The results of the test and the interview show that the knowledge of character
radicals could be very helpful in inferring the approximate meaning of an unfamiliar word.
In the interview, M lie (‘turn around, twist’) was frequently inferred as “an action of
hand” ( f means ‘hand’), and jü cha (‘raft’) was mostly answered as “an instrument made
with wood” (7^ is ‘wood’). More than ten participants thought that ¿¡lift fuqu (‘lotus’)
is “a plant” ( -**- is a symbol of ‘grass’), that ¡IMM. diexie (‘to walk with small steps’)
should be “an action of feet” (,£. is ‘foot’), and that JH jun (‘river deer’) could be “an
animal like deer” (^ is ‘deer’). On the other hand, however, if only the knowledge of
radicals is used, it may lead to an incorrect conclusion. For example, í$íi¡Í chequ (‘giant
clam, tridacna’) is a disyllabic but mono-morphemic word listed in both Part A and Part B
of the word test. In Part A, none of the participants reached its correct meaning. Many of
them just thought it was “an instrument made of stones” or “a stone-paved road or a
canal”. The reason is that they were misled by the radicals: ^3 ‘stone’, ^ ‘vehicle’ and
HI ‘canal, ditch’. Another example is the V-V compound meng-nie (sprout-tiller,
‘to sprout’) which was listed individually in Part A. In the interview, only five participants

52
arrived at the right meaning “to sprout” by the first character and the word structure, and
others answered incorrectly, thinking that it “is a plant” by only noticing the radical
‘grass’. These results demonstrate that the knowledge of character radicals is important in
inferring the meaning of an unfamiliar Chinese word, but it is more effective when
combined with the knowledge of word structure and contextual information.
3.5 Conclusion
The results of the survey, the word test and the interview provide some answers to
the questions raised at the beginning of this chapter:
1. Native Chinese speakers frequently infer the meanings of unfamiliar words in
their reading instead of consulting a dictionary.
2. The knowledge of character radicals and word structure as well as contextual
information form the basis from which native speakers infer a word’s meaning.
3. The frequency and the successful rate of inferring the meaning of an unfamiliar
word are affected by two facts: a) the educational level of the native speaker,
b) how much information and knowledge are applied. The higher the
educational level a native speaker has, the more inference s/he uses and the
more success s/he achieves; the more knowledge of character radicals, word
structure and context are provided and used, the more frequent and successful
is the inferring.
4. The structural type of a word may also affect the success of its meaning
inferring. The meanings of the words with a common and productive

53
structure, such as modifier-head compounds and parallel compounds, can be
inferred more successfully and accurately.
5. The meaning of a mono-morphemic word or an opaque compound (i.e. its
meaning is opaque from its components) is usually difficult to infer in isolation,
and contextual information is needed to reach an accurate meaning.
6. Since the knowledge of Chinese word structure usually is not taught in school,
it is acquired naturally by native speakers themselves. In my investigations, the
students in a junior middle school used such knowledge less and more
unsuccessfully in meaning inference than all the other participants. Thus, the
acquisition is probably completed after a speaker attains a middle school
education, or at an educational level corresponding to middle school.
The survey, the word test and the interviews in this research have yielded
information that previous studies have not touched on. The results show that, through
context, the knowledge of character radicals and the knowledge of word structure, a
native speaker understands and learns a new word. This suggests that the knowledge of
radical and word structure, as well as contextual information, is an important tool to help
people learn Chinese words quickly and easily. Thus, in order to help L2 learners of
Chinese acquire Chinese words more effectively, more easily and more quickly, this kind
of knowledge should be incorporated into CFL/CSL pedagogy. This, combined with
training in effective learning strategies, should greatly aid the acquisition of Chinese
vocabulary by L2 learners.

CHAPTER 4
CHARACTER STRUCTURE AND WORD STRUCTURE
IN NEW WORD RECOGNITION BY L2 LEARNERS
4.1 Research Questions
The psycholinguistic studies discussed in Chapter two have revealed that
morphological structure in different languages is represented in the mental process of
word recognition of native speakers. The results of Chapter three in this study also
demonstrate that both Chinese character radicals and word structure are used by native
speakers of Chinese to derive the meaning of an unfamiliar word, and that such knowledge
is beneficial to their vocabulary learning.
Nevertheless, since the study of acquisition and pedagogy of Chinese as a
second/foreign language is still very young, vocabulary learning strategies of CSL/CFL
learners and the pedagogy of vocabulary acquisition have not yet attracted attention It is
not clear what strategies are adopted by L2 learners to acquire Chinese vocabulary, and,
compared with native speakers, what differences exist in the acquisition process of
CSL/CFL learners. It is generally believed that the knowledge of word structure is
automatically acquired by learners themselves in the process of language study.
Therefore, currently, the knowledge of character structure and the knowledge of Chinese
word structure are seldom introduced in textbooks of CSL/CFL, and as a result, are not
incorporated as an important component of classroom instruction. Morphological
knowledge, in particular, is almost totally ignored In fact, however, no research has ever
54

55
been done to show that L2 learners of Chinese actually acquire the knowledge of Chinese
word structure by themselves. It is also unclear when such acquisition, if it occurs at all, is
completed, or if such knowledge is also used by L2 learners of Chinese as a strategy of
vocabulary learning.
The present research seeks to answer these questions. Moreover, this study will
also try to ascertain if the knowledge of character structure/radicals and word structure
can help CSL/CFL learners arrive at the meanings of unfamiliar words as it does for native
speakers.
4.2 Research Design
During the years of my CSL/CFL teaching to students at different levels, I have
noticed through a longitudinal observation that the knowledge of character radicals and
word structure is rarely used by L2 learners in their process of learning Chinese words.
This suggests that L2 learners perhaps acquire such knowledge very slowly if it is not
taught to them. Since internal behaviors are not directly observable, whether or not L2
learners of Chinese have such knowledge can only be found out indirectly through other
research methods. Thus, following the investigation of native Chinese speakers discussed
in Chapter three, another investigation, which also includes a survey, a follow-up word
test and an interview that has different contents, was designed and completed The goal of
the investigation was to discover what strategies are typically used by CSL/CFL learners
in vocabulary learning, and if the knowledge of character radicals and word structure is
also helpful to them. These results are analyzed and compared with the results found in

56
Chapter Three in order to decide whether or not such knowledge should be an important
part of the pedagogy of CSL/CFL.
4.2.1 The Survey
First, a survey with twelve questions was designed and presented to participants.
The questionnaire was to determine: 1) the proficiency level of each L2 learner, 2) the
primary source from which they learn their Chinese vocabulary (i.e. from textbooks,
outside reading, or any other source), 3) the strategies used in vocabulary learning, and 4)
whether the learner has learned character radicals and word structure through formal
instruction. Most of the questions were multiple choice. Some of them, such as the
question about learning strategies, were open-ended in order to obtain as many different
answers as possible.
A survey is a means of verbal report, so it can obtain information not available
through observation. Critics of this research methodology have noted that answers to a
questionnaire may not portray an accurate picture of how a participant really does in
language learning (Cohen 1998, Chapter 3). For example, participants may report that
they have used some learning strategies which, in fact, they did not use; or these strategies
are only used in their LI but not in their L2. On the other hand, some learning strategies
involve cognitive processing and are unconscious; thus, participants may not even realize
they employed these learning strategies. These are some of the disadvantages of the
survey method. In order to assure that the data collected are not only quantitative but also
qualitatively sound, other means have to be used as complements.

57
4.2.2 The Word Test
In addition to the survey, a follow-up word test was designed and presented to the
participants in order 1) to double-check the answers of the survey, 2) to find out if L2
learners of Chinese do have the knowledge of character radicals and word structure, and
3) to test if L2 learners of Chinese can also use the knowledge of character radicals and
the knowledge of word structure to infer the meanings of unfamiliar words as native
speakers do.
There were two parts in the test (see Appendix B). Part A contained eighteen
Chinese words listed separately without any context. These test words were either mono-
morphemic words or multimorphemic compounds. All the characters of the words
consisted of some common radicals, such as -H* ‘grass’, t ‘liquid’, ‘foot’, P ‘mouth’,
3 ‘animal’ or I§r ‘bird’. The structure of each compound was either a modifier-head type
or a parallel one (i.e. noun-noun or verb-verb), both of which are very common and
productive word structures in Chinese. Words with the same radical were listed together
Part B contained sixteen test words. These words were arranged in ten separate
sentences, and the context provided some information on the meaning of each word
Moreover, character radicals or morphemes also provided some information on the
meanings of the test words. None of the test words appear in the first 5000-vocabulary
list (i.e. 1,000 for the beginning level, 2,000 for the beginning-intermediate level, and
2,000 for the intermediate-advanced level) of Han-yu Shui-ping Ci-hui vu Han-zi Deng-ii
Da-gang «?% if) 7k yT, ^ M» (‘Criteria for Chinese Vocabulary
and Characters at Different Proficiency Levels’) (1992). In other words, according to the
Criteria, the test words are not the required vocabulary before L2 learners of Chinese

58
reach the higher advanced level. Thus, it was assumed that these words were unfamiliar to
the participants. Participants were required to infer the general meaning of each test word
without consulting any dictionary and were instructed to put a question mark “?” beside
each unfamiliar word.
In order to check whether all the questions were valid, the survey and the test were
tried out in a pilot study. Both were revised before they were administered to a larger
number of participants.
4.2.3 The Interview
Following the completion of the survey and the test, an interview was devised Its
goal was to discover detailed information about how L2 learners deal with unknown
words and to confirm the results of the survey and the test. Except for a few questions, all
of the questions of the interview were the same as in the survey and the test. The
interviewees were asked to think out loud about how they guessed the meaning of each
unfamiliar word. In order to observe whether or not the student might be able to do better
when s/he was led to pay attention to character radicals, morphemes and contexts, some
leading questions were asked by the interviewer. For example, when an interviewee could
not determine on the meaning of a test word, the following questions would be asked: “Do
you know the radical of the characters?”, “Can you get any hint from the characters you
do know?”, or “Will you read the sentence again and see if you can get some information
from the context?”. All the interviews were tape recorded with the permission of the
interviewees for subsequent transcription and analysis.

59
4.2.4 The Participants
Eighty-eight international students participated in the survey and the test. All were
studying Chinese as their second/foreign language at three different universities. They
were either at the intermediate level (i.e. enrolled in the second-year or the third-year
Chinese classes) or the intermediate-advanced level (i.e. junior-advanced level, or in the
first semester of the fourth-year Chinese class) of Chinese at the time that the survey and
the test were taken. Among them, eighteen were students from a Czech university, 52
were international students from the College of International Culture Exchange of Nanjing
Normal University in China, and eighteen were American students who were studying
Chinese at the University of Florida (UF). The participants in the interview were nine UF
students in their third or fourth year of Chinese language study. The interview was
conducted after the survey and the test were completed Since most of the questions in
the interview were the same as those in the survey and the test, none of the interviewees
took part in the survey or the test. Thus, all the interview questions were new ones to
them and their answers were not affected by anything that might have happened in the
survey or the test.
4.3 Results
The results of the survey, the two parts of the test, and the interview were
calculated separately. These are presented in the following subsections. The results
obtained from the participants with different Lis were also calculated separately in order
to ascertain whether or not their learning strategies are affected by their Lis. In order to
distinguish the difference between the participants with varying Chinese language levels,

60
the participants were separated into two groups in the reports: the intermediate level and
the advanced level (but not a higher or senior advanced level).
4.3.1 Results of the Survey
Of the 88 participants who took part in the survey, 56 were at the intermediate
level and 32 were at the advanced level. They reported their sources of Chinese
vocabulary acquisition, their Chinese reading materials, their methods for memorizing new
words, and their strategies for dealing with unfamiliar words in their reading. The results
are presented in Tables 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 and 4.4.
Table 4.1 Sources of acquired words
Group
Intermediate Level
n=56
Advanced Level
n=32
Total
N=88
Textbooks
46 (82.14%)
22 (68.75%)
68 (77.27%)
Reading
5 (8.93%)
3 (9.4%)
8 (9.1%)
T&R
4(7.14%)
4 (12.5%)
8(9.1%)
Dictionary
1 (1.8%)
3 (9.4%)
4 (4.5%)
X2 test of the two groups
p=0.293>0.05
Note: T & R= textbooks and other reading
As shown in table 4.1, the participants reported that they acquired Chinese words
mainly from the textbooks they used. Only a few students (8, about 9.1% of the total)
reported that they learned words from textbooks and other readings like newspapers or
fiction novels. Another eight students reported their vocabulary was acquired mainly from

61
Table 4.2 Materials of Chinese reading
Group
Intermediate Level
n=56
Advanced Level
n=32
Total
N=88
Textbooks only
44 (78.6%)
8 (25%)
52 (59.1%)
Textbooks and
others (newspapers,
literature works, etc.)
12(21.4%)
24 (75%)
36 (40.9%)
X2 test of the two groups p=8.66 x 10‘7 <0.05
their reading outside of class. Dictionaries were also used as a main source of vocabulary
learning, but the percentage (4.5%) is insignificant and can be ignored. The results of this
survey indicate that L2 learners of Chinese perceive their textbooks to be very important
in vocabulary acquisition. Most students, in both the intermediate and advanced levels,
believed their newly acquired Chinese words were mainly from their textbooks The result
of a Chi-square test shows that there is not a significant difference between these two
groups (the probability of the null hypothesis is larger than 5% and cannot be rejected).
Table 4.2 also shows that Chinese textbooks are truly a very important source (if not the
main one) from which L2 learners acquire vocabulary, especially when learners are at the
intermediate level Textbooks were reported as reading material by all of the participants,
and 78.6% of the students at the intermediate level reported that Chinese textbooks are
their only source of reading materials. The result of a Chi-square test shows that the
probability of the null hypothesis (i.e. no difference between the test groups) is very small
and can be rejected. Thus, the difference between the two groups is significant. This only
means that, besides textbooks, the advanced level students read more other materials than
the intermediate students did Even so, textbooks were still their most important reading

62
materials and the main resource from which they acquired words (68.75%, see Table 4.1).
If these results are accurate, the number of vocabulary items introduced, the arrangement
of vocabulary and the method and amount of vocabulary practice should be taken into
serious consideration in textbook design, especially for students at the intermediate level
and above.
Table 4.3 Methods of memorizing new words
Intermediate Level
Advanced Level
Total
n=56
n=32
N=88
Individual
47 (83.93%)
27 (84.38%)
74 (84.1%)
Morpheme Group
9 (16.07%)
5 (15.62%)
14(16%)
X2 test of the two groups
p=0.95 > 0.05
Table 4.3 presents the methods used for memorizing new words. Only fourteen
students reported that they adopted morphological knowledge to help them memorize new
words. The method they used was to group the words containing the same morpheme or
characters together for memorization. The other students, however, just memorized each
new word individually when they come across one. The result of a Chi-square test shows
that there is no difference of strategy use between the two groups (the probability of the
null hypothesis is very large and has to be accepted).
According to another report of the survey, all eighteen Czech students and another
fifteen students with different Lis and Chinese levels obtained some knowledge of
character radicals and Chinese word structure from formal instruction. The fourteen
students who used morphological knowledge to memorize new words were among them

63
This indicates that providing related knowledge in instruction could enhance students’ use
of strategies. Through contact with their instructors, it was found that instruction in
Chinese morphological knowledge was provided randomly by the instructors; that is, in no
systematic manner. Nevertheless, all 33 students thought the knowledge they obtained in
such a way was important and helpful in learning Chinese words. If this is true, a
systematic instruction in Chinese word structure would work even more effectively.
Table 4.4 Strategies of dealing with unfamiliar words in reading
Intermediate Level
n=56
Advanced Level
n=32
Total
N=88
Inferring only
7 (12.5%)
5 (15.63%)
12(13.64%)
Dictionary only
10 (17.86%)
2 (6.25%)
12(13.64%)
Both inferring and
dictionary
38 (67.86%)
25 (78.13%)
63 (71.6%)
Ignore
1 (1.8%)
0
1 (1.14%)
X2 test of the two groups
p=0.38>0.05
Table 4.4 shows that both inferring and the use of a dictionary are strategies used
by most students (about 71.6%) when dealing with unfamiliar words. Only 13.64% of the
students reported that they would just infer or guess the meaning of unfamiliar words
without consulting a dictionary. The same percentage of students reported that they
would only use a dictionary. When participants were asked how they inferred the
meanings of unfamiliar words, they reported deriving the meanings from information

64
found in the context or in the character radicals. Because that participants were not
familiar with the terminology, morpheme or word structure was seldom mentioned
Percentages in Table 4.4 also show some differences between the intermediate
level group and the advanced level group. The advanced level group tends to use more
guessing than the other group. However, when a Chi-square test was performed to check
if the differences were significant, the probability of the null hypothesis (no obvious
difference between these two groups) is 0.38 and is much larger than 0.05. Thus, the null
hypothesis cannot be denied. It suggests that a difference in strategy use of the two
groups exists but is not very significant, and that the difference, perhaps, happened by
chance.
4.3.2 Results of the Test
There were two parts in the test: Part A contained eighteen test words listed
separately and Part B contained sixteen test words placed in sentences. None of the test
words were in the first 5000-vocabulary list (the vocabulary except for the fourth level, i.e.
the senior advanced level) of Han-yu Shui-ping Ci-hui vu Han-zi Deng-ii Da-gang «fit
iu yk ^ m yT. 'f: jz M» (‘Criteria for Chinese Vocabulary and Characters
at Different Chinese Levels’) (1992), so these words were supposed to be unfamiliar to
the participants as originally designed in the test. For one reason or another, however, a
few of the test words were unavoidably known to some of the participants, and the
number of such words varied with each individual. The answers related to the familiar
words were excluded from the statistics and discussion that follow. The statistics only
calculate the percentage of unfamiliar words for which the meanings were inferred
correctly by each participant. For example, if there were ten words that a participant was

65
unfamiliar with and five meanings were inferred correctly by the participant, the score of
the participant is 50%. A few participants did not mark the familiar and unknown words
clearly enough, thus they were excluded from the statistics. Table 4.5 presents the
average scores of the students in the intermediate level group and the advanced level
group.
Table 4.5 Average scores (percentages) and the T-test properties of two groups
Intermediate Level
n=51
Advanced Level
n=26
Total
N=77
T-test
Part A
42.43%
47.26%
44.06%
p=0.44
Part B
37.85%
40.28%
38.67%
p=0.68
Total
41%
45.17%
42.41%
p=0.37
Table 4.5 shows that students from both levels can guess the general meanings of
some test words, but the average percentages of the two groups are lower than 50% in the
test. Since the test words of Part A were listed according to radicals (i.e. the words with
the same radical were arranged together), the participants could have been led to pay more
attention to the radicals and reach the meanings of the words more easily than otherwise.
It could also be assumed that the grades would have been lower if the words had been
listed randomly. The numbers in the table suggest that the advanced level group did better
than the intermediate level group. However, when the T-test was performed to check the
difference, the value of the null hypothesis, i.e. no obvious difference between the test
groups, is not small enough to reject the null hypothesis. Therefore, even though the
scores of the test do show a difference between the two groups of different language

66
levels, the difference is not significant in this test. This merely indicates that the students
with the higher Chinese level can probably do better in inferring the meanings of unfamiliar
words, but such an advantage is not obvious.
Furthermore, Table 4.5 also shows that there is no great difference when test
words were listed individually or placed in sentences. As shown in the table, the average
percentages of test Part B are even a bit lower than the ones of Part A. It seems that, in
this test, context information does not help much for inferring word meaning. The reason
for this will be discussed in Section 4.4.
Tables 4.6 and 4.7 present the test results of the students with different first
languages (LI) and the properties of an ANOVA test for these groups. In the tables,
“South Asian Ls (languages)” refers to Lao, Vietnamese and Malay; “East Asian Ls”
means Japanese and Korean, in which Chinese characters are also used; and “Others”
refers to German, French, Russian and Mongolian.
Table 4.6 Test results of the intermediate-level students with different Lis and the
properties of ANOVA test
LI
English
n=16
Czech
n=8
South Asian Ls
n=7
East Asian Ls
n=14
Others
n=6
ANOVA
N=51
A
49.1%
56.6%
30.56%
32.4%
45.3%
F=0.0973
p=0.983
B
23%
56%
40%
39.4%
48%
F=0.094
p=0.984
Total
37%
57.3%
36%
36.1%
47.4%
F=0.041
p=0.997

67
Table 4.7 Test results of the advanced-level students with different Lis and the
properties of ANOVA test
LI
English
n=2
Czech
n=10
South Asian Ls
n=3
East Asian Ls
n=5
Others
n=6
ANOVA
N=26
A
46%
58%
9.3%
58%
44%
F=0.076
p=0.99
B
50%
54.1%
35%
25.3%
29.2%
F=0.047
p=0.996
Total
46%
54.3%
29%
41.2%
41.1%
F=0.016
p=0.999
As listed in the two tables, the average percentages of the five groups in the test do
not show a significant difference. The probabilities of ANOVA test are all more than
0.98. This result suggests that the first languages of the participants do not affect their
achievements in inferring the meanings of Chinese words if they are not trained or guided
by special pedagogy.
Nevertheless, the tables do show that the average percentages of the Czech group
are higher than those of the other groups. If the Czech group is isolated and compared
with all the other groups as a whole, the T-test shows that there is some difference
between them. The results are presented in Tables 4.8 and 4.9.
In the tables, the value of the null hypothesis (i.e. no difference between the two
groups) is quite small. At the intermediate level, the property of the whole test is smaller
than 5% (0.0065 < 0.05) and the null hypothesis can be rejected. Thus, there is a
significant difference between the two groups at the intermediate level. At the advanced
level, the property of the null hypothesis is a little larger than the judge level 0.05. Even
though the difference is not significant enough to totally reject the null hypothesis, the

68
numbers, however, still suggest that the chance of the difference is quite huge (about
94.9% in the whole test). The reasons will be discussed in Section 4.4.
Table 4.8 Average percentages and the probabilities of T-test between the Czech
group and other groups at the intermediate level
Czech
n=8
Others
n=43
T-test
N=51
Part A
56.6%
40.1%
p=0.084
Part B
56%
34.5%
p=0.0016
Total
57.3%
38%
p=0.0065 < 0.05
Table 4.9 Average percentages and the probabilities of T-test between the Czech
group and other groups at the advanced level
Czech
n=10
i: ———
Others
n=16
T-test
N=26
Part A
58%
42.1%
p=0.105
Part B
54.1%
31.6%
p=0.0168
Total
54.4%
39.4%
p=0.0515 >0.05
4.3.3 Results of the Interview
Nine American students who studied Chinese at the University of Florida were
interviewed. Two of them were in a fourth-year Chinese class, which is the advanced
Chinese level, and seven of them were in a third-year Chinese class, which is the
intermediate Chinese level. The first language of four students is English; of the other five
students, it is either Mandarin Chinese or Cantonese (but they could not speak fluently and
could not read and write). The results of the interview are displayed in Tables 4.10 to

69
4.14. Most of the test words were unfamiliar ones to the interviewees. One point was
awarded if a correct general meaning was given for a tested word. A maximum of 34
points are allowed in the test, eighteen for Part A and sixteen for Part B.
Table 4.10 Strategies of dealing with an unknown word reported in the interview
Intermediate Level
n=7
Advanced Level
n=2
Total
N=9
Dictionary only
2 (28.6%)
0
2 (22.2%)
Guessing only
2 (28.6%)
0
2 (22.2%)
Both
3 (43%)
2 (100%)
5 (55.6%)
Table 4.11 Vocabulary
sources reported in the interview
Intermediate Level
Advanced Level
Total
n=7
n=2
N=9
Textbooks
6 (85.7%)
1 (50%)
7 (77.7%)
Other reading
0
0
0
Both
1 (14.3%)
1 (50%)
2 (22.2%)
From the information provided in Tables 4.10, 4.11, and 4.12, it can been observed
that the results of the interview match the results of the survey and the test. Students may
try to infer the meaning of an unfamiliar word during their Chinese reading, but
dictionaries are still necessary. Most of the interviewees, about 55.6% in the interview,
reported that they consult a dictionary frequently and infer or guess a word meaning only

70
Table 4.12 Methods of memorizing reported in the interview
Intermediate Level Advanced Level Total
n=7
n=2
N=9
Individual
4(57.1%)
1 (50%)
5 (55.6%)
Morpheme group 2 (28.6%)
0
2 (22.2%)
I&M
0
1 (50%)
1 (11.1%)
Context
1 (14.3%)
0
1 (11.1%)
Note: I & M=
both individual and morpheme group
Table 4.13 Average scores of the test in the interview
Intermediate Level
Advanced Level
Total
n=7
n=2
N=9
Part A
7.86 (43.7%)
12.75 (70.8%)
9.2(51.2%)
Part B
8.4 (52.5%)
12.5 (78.1%)
9.3 (58.2%)
Total
16.3 (47.8%)
25.25 (74.3%)
18.5 (54.5%)
Table 4.14 Average scores of students with different Lis in the interview
Non-Chinese
n=4
Chinese
n=5
T-test
N=9
Part A
9.4(52.1%)
9.1 (50.4%)
p=0.926
Part B
9.93 (62%)
8.86 (55.4%)
r-
©
II
ex
Total
19.33(57%)
17.96 (52.8%)
p=0.803

71
when too many unfamiliar words are encountered in a reading or when a dictionary is not
on hand. The basis of inferring is the information provided by the context or character
radicals. Textbooks are also reported as the main source from which the students learned
Chinese vocabulary. Furthermore, except for two students (one at the intermediate level
and the other at the advanced level), all the other students reported that their Chinese
textbooks were their only reading materials. Most of the students (about 55.6%) merely
memorized Chinese words one by one according to the vocabulary list of each lesson in
their textbooks. One student said that he memorized new words in the context of
sentences. Only two students reported that they accessed their morpheme knowledge to
help themselves memorize Chinese words. It happens that these two students were the
only ones who reported that they had learned some knowledge of Chinese word structure
in other schools (e g. at a university in Taiwan). Another student at the advanced level,
who finished elementary school in Taiwan, reported that she would try to group some
words with the same character together to memorize, even though she had no knowledge
of word structure.
On average, about 54.5% of test words were inferred correctly in the interview
(showing in Table 4.13). The percentage is a bit higher than the one in the test (about
42.4%, see Table 4.5). The reasons will be discussed in Section 4.4. The numbers in
Table 4.13 also show that the students in the advanced level did better on the test than the
students in the intermediate level. Nevertheless, since only two students of the advanced
Chinese level were interviewed, the number size is insufficient to tell whether or not there
is a difference between these two groups.

72
The students whose first language was Chinese may have some advantage in
Chinese study. However, Table 4.14 shows that the students who speak Chinese at home
did not do any better on the test than the students whose first language was English. The
properties of the T-test also indicate that there are no differences between these two
groups. The reason could be: 1) the number of the interviewees was quite small;
therefore, the result is not very reliable, and more tests are needed to judge the difference;
or 2) the students whose first language was Chinese might have some advantages on
Chinese grammar, pronunciation and characters, but they probably did not have any
advantage in inferring the meanings of unfamiliar words if they had not been trained to use
some strategies. More discussion will be presented in next section.
4.4 Analysis and Discussion
The results of the survey, the test and the interview have shown that L2 learners of
Chinese sometimes do try to infer the meanings of unfamiliar words while reading. The
inferring, however, is not as frequent or as successful as that of native speakers shown in
Chapter three. There are also other differences between L2 learners and native Chinese
speakers when they deal with unfamiliar words.
4.4.1 The knowledge of Character Radicals and Word Structure
According to the report of the participants, the sources that they inferred the
meanings of words from were character radicals and contexts. The results of the test and
the interview reveal that L2 learners of Chinese may have some knowledge of character
radicals but they lack the knowledge of word structure.

73
Character radicals are the basic units of Chinese characters and usually indicate the
semantic category (i.e. animal, plant, liquid, action, etc.) of a character. Such knowledge
is usually introduced as a part of language instruction to native children in primary school
Even though it is not included as an important ingredient in current textbooks of
CFL/CSL, many instructors actually teach it in beginning level classes when characters and
Chinese dictionaries are introduced. As a result, L2 learners of Chinese do have some
knowledge of character radicals and can use it, sometimes to help themselves learn and
memorize characters. Such knowledge, however, is acquired in a fragmentary way, as
shown by the results of the investigations. For example, in the test and the interview,
many students could only recognize some of the character radicals. They knew that â– ++*
means ‘grass’, ? is ‘liquid’, and P means ‘mouth’, and the meaning of a character with
one of such radicals is usually related to the meaning category the radical marks.
Nevertheless, many of them could not guess the meaning of a character with a radical like
3 (‘animal’), % (‘air’), X (‘food’) or J§r (‘bird’). The unsuccessful inference means
that they could not recognize or were unfamiliar with these common radicals. In the
interview, when the participants were asked if they knew the meanings of these radicals,
many of them gave a negative answer. In fact, they knew many characters with such
radicals like $jj gou ‘dog’, 'H qi ‘steam’, fan ‘rice, meal, food’, ji ‘chicken’, but
they did not make an effort to isolate the radicals. This indicates that the radical
knowledge the students acquired is not sufficient. Thus, a systematic instruction of
character radicals seems to be necessary in Chinese language classes.
The results of the investigation also revealed that many students did not have much
knowledge of word structure. Except for the modifier-head structure, a very common and

74
universal one, the others were unknown to most of the participants. When a parallel
compound came up, many participants could not infer the meaning even when one or two
of the morphemes were familiar to them. For example, in the interview, some participants
could not reach any meaning of the parallel compounds D@ tun-yan [swallow-swallow]
‘swallow’ and Bffc RS. shun-xi [suck-suck] ‘suck’. Actually, they knew the meaning of one
of the two morphemes in each compound and the radical P (‘mouth’), but they could not
figure out that the meaning of the compound is similar to the meaning of a component.
This implies that the students were unfamiliar with this kind of word structure.
As discussed in Chapter 3, the native speakers with an educational level of junior
middle school received the lowest average scores in the test. One reason for this is that
they probably lack sufficient knowledge of word structure. Therefore, it is assumed that,
in a natural language-learning environment, the knowledge of word structure is totally
acquired after a speaker reaches the educational level of middle school. In this chapter,
investigations have found that there is no obvious difference between the students of
different language levels. The participants of the advanced level did not show that they
could do better than the students of the intermediate level in strategy use and in inferring
word meaning. They also did not show that they had more knowledge of Chinese word
structure. These facts suggest that the knowledge of Chinese word structure is probably
acquired after L2 learners reach the advanced level of Chinese language (perhaps at the
senior advanced level), if no instruction and training of such knowledge is given. If this is
true, then, for a long time, L2 learners cannot take the advantage of Chinese word
structure to help them learn Chinese vocabulary quickly. They would waste a lot of time
groping around for this useful knowledge and some of them may never acquire it. Thus,

75
to speed up the process of Chinese vocabulary acquisition, instruction in Chinese word
structure is needed urgently in Chinese pedagogy.
Other results of the investigation also demonstrate that instruction in Chinese word
structure is beneficial to vocabulary study. In the survey, the participants who had
acquired this knowledge all reported that it was very helpful to their vocabulary learning.
Many of them also reported that they had used this knowledge to help themselves
memorize new words. According to reports from the students and the instructor, the
Czech participants in the investigation had been taught some aspects of Chinese word
structure. Tables 4.8 and 4.9 show that the average test grades of this group were higher
than those of other groups, especially when the students were at the intermediate level
The result of the T-test also shows that there was some difference between this group and
the others. If the higher grade was the result of the instruction in Chinese morphology, it
can be safely concluded that a systematic introduction of Chinese word structure and a
related strategy-training will contribute to the vocabulary acquisition of L2 learners.
4.4.2 Strategy Use
As shown in Chapter 3, it was found that native speakers of Chinese can get the
meaning of an unfamiliar word from the character radical(s), the word structure and the
contextual information. Therefore, their inferring is more successful, especially when the
word is placed in a context. From the interviews of L2 learners of Chinese, it has been
observed, however, that L2 learners mainly depend on one kind of information, either
contextual information or character radical information, but not on both, to infer the
meaning of a word They seldom draw on all available information. Because of this, the
information which can be consulted is limited and usually insufficient for arriving at the

76
meaning. The following are some examples. In Part A of the test, both character radicals
and word structure (morphemes) are available to provide clues to the meaning of each
compound. From the modifier-head structure, the participants knew that mao-cao
(cogonggrass-grass, ‘cogongrass’) is “a kind of grass”, ju-hua (chrysanthemum-
flower, ‘chrysanthemum’) is “a kind of flower”, and xiang-shu (oak-tree, ‘oak’) is “a
kind of tree”. However, if the head was unfamiliar, the students usually could not reach
any meaning, even though the radical also provides a clue. Thus, the meanings of If H
xiang-jiao (fragrant-banana, ‘banana’), ganlan-you, (olive-oil, ‘olive oil’) and
huntun-tang (huntun-soup, ‘Huntun soup’) were not correctly inferred by many
interviewees because the heads were unfamiliar. Actually, if they had noticed the radicals
■”* (‘grass’), (‘wood’), X (‘food’) and ¥ (‘liquid’), they at least would have known
that these compounds might be a kind of plant, a food or a liquid. Similarly, when they
were doing Part B of the test, the interviewees frequently only noticed some bits and
pieces of the information provided by the context or by the radicals They rarely realized
that the meaning of a word could be traced through the trio of context, radicals and word
structure. Here are some of the sentences in Part B, as examples:
1. ÜW356ÍITI,
zhe Hang tian zong-shi xia-yu, kong-qi hen chao-shi
This two day always rain, air very wet/humid
‘It has been raining these days, and the air is very humid.’
2. mw
wo-de zi-xing-che lun-zi mei-you qi le, dei qu da-qi
My bike wheel have not air LE, have to go hit-air.
‘My bike got flats, and I have to pump them up.’

77
3.
wo-de dian-nao zhuang le shi-chuang jiu-wu ruan-jian
my computer set LE view-window-95 soft-piece
‘In my computer, the Windows-95 software has been installed ’
Two students in the interview guessed incorrectly that the meaning of ÍS” chao-shi
was ‘cloudy’. They knew that the sentence was about ‘rain’, but they did not notice the
radical 1/ (‘liquid’) and the word (‘air’). Three interviewees understood that the
morphemes of the word “ÍT in sentence two were “hit-air”, but they could not infer
the meaning of the entire compound The reason was that they did not notice the
information in the context, even though they had read the two coordinate sentences and
understood the meaning of the first one. Moreover, while guessing the meanings of the
compounds in sentence three, one interviewee thought that (view-window,
‘window in computer’) was ‘cost’ and (soft-piece, ‘software’) was ‘money’
because she only noticed the number and knew it is about computers. Another one
thought that “MUf” was ‘monitor’ and was ‘material’ by merely noticing the
morphemes. Another four students could not reach any meaning of these two compounds.
In fact, all of them knew the morphemes, but they did not combine the information of the
morphemes and the contexts together to infer the meanings.
When the participants merely use one kind of information in the inference, more
available information was not more helpful to them and thus, was not related to more
success. Thus, the test scores of Part B received by participants are not higher than the
scores of Part A (see Tables 4.5 and 4.13). Not using as many clues as possible in tracing
word meanings is also a reason why the inference of CSL/CFL learners is less successful
than that of native speakers.

78
Sometimes, the interviewees were led by the interviewer to pay attention to all of
the information provided by contexts, morphemes and radicals. In those cases, most of
them were able to reach the right answers they had not been able to infer the first time
around. Thus, the average scores of the interviewees in the test were higher than those of
the other participants. This indicates that the inferring performance of L2 learners should
be more successful if they are provided some training and guidance
Furthermore, as reported in the survey, the method used by the majority of the
students for memorizing new words is to work on each word individually. This means
that Chinese words in the learners’ minds are still separate items and are not connected by
radicals, morphemes, or semantic content as a network. As a result, vocabulary
acquisition is an overly arduous task to the learners, and they have to spend an excessive
amount of time memorizing and learning each word. The facts speak loudly and clearly
that L2 learners of Chinese are in dire need of strategy training in order to acquire Chinese
words more effectively.
4.4.3 Difference or Non-difference
The results of the investigations show that there is probably a slight difference
between the participants of different language levels. For example, more participants at
the advanced level reported that they also read other Chinese materials besides their
textbooks, and fewer of them only used dictionaries to find the meanings of unfamiliar
words (see Tables 4.2 and 4.4). Moreover, the average test scores of the participants at
the advanced level were a slightly higher than those of the students from the lower level
(see Table 4.5). Nevertheless, the difference is not significant, as shown by the results of

79
the Chi-square test and the T-test (see Tables 4 4 and 4.5). More investigations are
needed to validate the existence of such a difference.
L2 learners with different first languages may use different learning strategies
when they study a foreign language. The results of the investigations in this study,
however, do not show an obvious difference between the participants with different Lis
when they were dealing with Chinese words. For example, except for the students who
had gained some knowledge of Chinese word structure, all the other participants mostly
memorized new words individually. In the test, except for the Czech group, who had
some knowledge of word structure, the average scores of other groups were similar (see
Table 4.6). It was found that Japanese students knew more test words than other
participants, but they did not show they could do better when they inferred the meanings
of unfamiliar words. In fact, the numbers in Table 4.6 suggest that the students whose
first languages were western languages probably did slightly better than the students
whose Lis were other Asian languages. The learners whose first language was Japanese
or Korean, which also uses some Chinese characters, may have some advantages in the
study of characters and some basic vocabulary. However, if they were not taught and
trained to use some of the strategies, they could not do better in inferring the meanings of
unfamiliar Chinese words. Similarly, results of the interview show that the students whose
first language was Chinese did not do better in the test either (see Table 4.14). One of
them, who was in the advanced level group, did use a special strategy to find the meaning
of a test word. The strategy was to find the approximate pronunciation of the word.
When she was asked to infer the meaning of a word, she usually used the phonetic
component of a character to get its pronunciation. If the sound matched a word in her

80
spoken Chinese, she would know what the word was. If the phonetic component was not
helpful or if the test word was totally unfamiliar to her (i.e. she had not heard it or used it
in her spoken Chinese), the inference was usually unsuccessful. Certainly, students who
can speak some Chinese will have some advantage studying the language, and they usually
can do better in the acquisition of Chinese vocabulary as well as pronunciation and
grammar, especially when at the beginning level. However, this does not necessarily mean
that they also have more knowledge of character radicals and word structure and can do
better in using this knowledge to infer the meaning of a word The results of the
investigations suggest that the knowledge of character radicals, the knowledge of Chinese
word structure, and strategies of inferring the meaning of unfamiliar words should be
taught to all the L2 learners, no matter what their first languages are.
4.5 Conclusion
From the results of this series of investigations, the following conclusions can be
drawn:
1. The Chinese vocabulary that L2 learners acquired is mostly from their
textbooks, even when the learner is at an advanced Chinese level and can read
other materials. Therefore, vocabulary arrangement and practice should play a
very important part in textbook design.
2. The main method of studying Chinese vocabulary that learners use is merely
memorizing words individually. In the investigation, students at an advanced
level, who had longer study experience, also did not show that they could use
some effective learning strategies. In such cases, strategy training is urgently

81
needed in Chinese language instruction in order to help learners acquire
Chinese vocabulary more effectively.
3. The L2 learners participating in the investigation did have some knowledge of
Chinese character radicals and, sometimes, were able to adopt it into their
vocabulary learning. Such knowledge, however, was insufficient. In addition,
they needed the knowledge of Chinese morphology and also lacked the skills of
integrating different kinds of knowledge to reach the meaning of unfamiliar
words. Due to all these reasons, the inference that L2 learners performed to
get the meanings of Chinese words was usually unsuccessful. Thus, a
dictionary was still frequently needed, even when the learner was at an
advanced level All this strongly argues that the instruction of Chinese radicals
and word structure should receive a lot more attention than it currently does in
the CSL/CFL classroom.
4. The results of the investigations into both native Chinese speakers and L2
learners suggest that the total knowledge of Chinese word structure is acquired
very late (i.e. after middle school or the advanced Chinese level) in a natural
acquisition process. On the other hand, such knowledge has been shown in
this study to be very useful for vocabulary recognition and acquisition. All the
students who had been taught to acquire such knowledge reported that it was
helpful. These students also did better in the test than the other students. As a
result, it can be assumed that the instruction of Chinese word structure can
speed up vocabulary acquisition of L2 learners.

82
5. If the first language of a learner is an Asian language, it may be helpful in
learning Chinese characters and grammar at the beginning level. However, it is
not shown in this study that it is also helpful to inferring the meanings of
unfamiliar words. This indicates that the knowledge of Chinese word structure
and the strategies of using different types of knowledge to reach the meaning
of a word cannot be transferred from the first language of a learner. Formal
instruction should teach all CFL/CSL learners such knowledge and strategies.
Lexical inferring is a very important skill strongly encouraged by many SLA
researchers for reading and vocabulary learning. It has been found that such a skill results
in high rate of vocabulary memory (Bensoussan 1992, Hulstijn 1992, Scherfer 1993). In
English as a Second Language (ESL), word meaning is mainly inferred from contexts, and
sometimes, by affixes and word structure. Such inferring is often not successful because of
insufficient consulted information. In Chinese, however, meaning inferring can be more
helpful and successful, since the character radicals, word structure and context can all
provide information on the meaning of a word It has been shown in Chapter three that a
native speaker of Chinese with high language proficiency is usually very successful in
inferring the meaning of an unfamiliar word by consulting the information from context,
word structure, and character radicals. The more information presented, the more
accurate the inference is. In this chapter, it was found that L2 learners of Chinese,
however, were not very successful in such inference even when they were at an advanced
Chinese level. The reason is that they did not have sufficient knowledge of character
radicals and word structure and could not take advantage of the various types of
information to reach the meaning of a word. Moreover, it seems that Chinese

83
morphological knowledge can only be acquired very slowly after learners have reached the
advanced level if no formal instruction is offered. Studies of SLA have found that formal
instruction and strategy training will not affect the stages of a language acquisition
process, but they will accelerate the progress and speed up the process at each stage. It
has also been found by Cheng (1998) that the instruction of Chinese character radicals can
shorten the stages in character acquisition. Thus, it can be concluded that the vocabulary
acquisition of CFL/CSL learners will also be accelerated through the teaching and training
of related knowledge and strategies.

CHAPTER 5
CHINESE WORD STRUCTURE (I) — SIMPLE WORDS
Previous chapters have revealed that knowledge of word structure is very
important in Chinese vocabulary acquisition and that it can help L2 learners study Chinese
words effectively Many current works have studied Chinese word structures through the
theoretical framework of morphology and syntax. They have sought to explain Chinese
word structure by different linguistic theories. Most of the results, however, cannot be
applied directly to language pedagogy. In order to provide general rules of Chinese word
structure for vocabulary teaching and learning, this chapter and the next two chapters will
present features of Chinese words, such as structural patterns and semantic characteristics,
that are directly applicable to pedagogy. Chapter Eight is an illustration of how these
features can be applied
5.1 Current Studies in Chinese Word Structure
5.1.1 The Definition of Chinese Word
The definition of “word” has always been unclear in linguistic study, and it has been hotly
debated. From the “minimum free form” of Bloomfield (1933, p. 178) to “the union of
particular meaning with a particular complex of sounds, capable of a particular
grammatical employment” (Taylor 1990, p.146), linguists have tried to define the concept
of ‘word’ in terms of syntactic functions, phonological features and/or morphological
structures. There has not been any generally accepted criterion for word-hood, because
84

85
the answer set from any one criterion is not identical to the answer set from any other one.
The definition of the Chinese word is even fuzzier because word boundary is not marked
in its writing system. The boundary between morpheme and word also varies with styles
(e g. classical vs. modem, written vs. colloquial) and with geographical or social dialects.
In classical Chinese, most words are monosyllabic, and nearly each character is a word.
Therefore, the ‘character’ zi) is the unit of lexical study in traditional Chinese
linguistics. In modern Chinese, however, words tend to be disyllabic and the ‘character’
and the ‘word’ (jsj ci) are no longer the same and must be distinguished ‘Character’
now refers to the monosyllabic written symbols and ‘word’ is generally defined as “the
smallest unit which can fill the place of certain functional frames” (Chao 1968, p. 160-161)
or the smallest unit which can be used freely (Fu 1985, Chapter 1; Chen 1994, p 9).
Chinese linguists also use phonological and semantic criteria to identify ‘word’: word
boundaries can be identified by potential pauses (Chao 1968, p. 151; Liu 1990a, p.35), and
each word has a fixed meaning and a phonological form (Fu 1985, p.1-6; Chen 1994, p.
10-11). Such definitions, however, still do not cover all the words in Chinese language.
For example, Chinese interjections and modal particles such as W a, BrT he, I^0,1 wo,
Bj| ao, wa, Qfi ha, P® ma, do not fit in any of the definitions above. These forms do
not have any specific syntactic function nor can they “fill the place of certain functional
frames.”1 Modal particles cannot even be used freely but have to be attached to the end of
a sentence, though they do contribute some semantic sense for the sentence in which they
Note: 1. In fact, these forms may well serve many functions in discourse. It is not that
they cannot fill the functional frames but that the functional frames are not defined well
enough in most approaches. See, for example, Chu (1998, Chapter 4).

86
occur. Dai (1992, 1998) argues that word should have a three-fold definition, i.e. in terms
of syntax, phonology and morphology. To him, “a syntactic word is a minimal constituent
to which syntactic rules may refer; a phonological word is a certain prosodic domain in
which internal phonological rules may apply; and a morphological word is a maximal
domain in which morphological rules may apply” (Dai 1992, p.15-16). This definition is
useful in the linguistic study of the three areas. But, on the other hand, it makes the
problems too complex to be directly adopted for purposes like language pedagogy.
According to Dai’s definition, ff] wo-men (I-plural, ‘we’) is a single word
phonologically and morphologically; but it consists of two syntactic words because f|]
men (‘plural for human’) has an independent syntactic function, even though it is always
attached to a noun or pronoun. Moreover, some common phrases would also become
‘words’ by Dai’s definition. For instance, he would analyze ^ ni hao ([you good]
‘hello’), a fixed expression, as two syntactic words (i.e. subject and predicate), a single
phonological word due to its tone sandhi (i.e. the tone of the first syllable is changed from
a curved tone to a raised one by the affection of the second tone), and a morphological
word due to its single meaning which is not directly derivable from its components. In
such a case, the word-hood of Chinese would become even fuzzier. Yip (1992) analyzes
the prosodic, syntactic, and semantic properties of Chinese words and finds: 1) the X, XX
rhythm (X is one mononym) or YY|Y syntactic structure (Y is a mononymic unit) is for
words and the Y|YY syntactic structure is for phrases, 2) a grammatical class can be
intrinsically assigned to a word, and 3) a word “refers to a discrete object (or category) or
a distinctive property in the real (or imaginary) world” (Yip 1992, p. 60). She suggests
that if a unit of expression complies with all of those three requirements, it must be a

87
word; and that if it meets one or two out of the three, it is probably more of a word than a
non-word, or it is a word in one case and is a non-word in another case. Since language is
not a perfectly designed and rigid pattern, Yip argues, “it seems particularly unnecessary
to argue over a certain unit of expression whether it is a word or an idiomatic phrase if
consensus to its meaning or usage is obtained” (Yip 1992, p. 61).
This study discusses the general properties of Chinese words, i.e. the structure
types, meaning properties and syntactic functions, which can be applied to Chinese
vocabulary pedagogy. In such a case, a general definition of ‘word’ is given here as the
smallest meaningful unit which can fill the functional frame of a typical syntactic structure.
Such a unit can either be used independently or be bound inside a sentence to express a
meaning. Meaning here refers to a semantic, a pragmatic or a syntactic meaning.
Particles, prepositions (coverbs), auxiliaries and conjunctions, which are called
“expletives” (jÉ j5) xu-ci) in traditional Chinese syntax, usually have fixed pragmatic or
syntactic meanings and occupy a small part of Chinese vocabulary. These words will not
be discussed here. Nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs, which are termed as
“full words” (¿ÍJ i»] shi-ci) in traditional Chinese syntax, will be the main subject of this
study.
5.1.2 Previous Works on Chinese Words
There are quite a few interesting and significant works on Chinese words. One
type is a description of Chinese words, such as Han-vu de Gou-ci-fa in ffij f4) i»J jfe
(Chinese Morphology) (Lu, 1964), A Grammar of Spoken Chinese (Chao 1968),
Mandarin Chinese: A Functional Reference Grammar (Li and Thompson 1981), Han-vu
Yu-fa Yd. iq- in & (Chinese Grammar) (Dow 1983), Xian-dai Han-vu Ci-hui M ft Yd. iff

88
ill '/L (Vocabulary of Modem Chinese) (Fu 1985), Han-vu Miao-xie Ci-hni-xue 'Í5L iff fm
^ ill ÍC ^ (Chinese Descriptive Lexicology) (Liu 1990a), and Han-vu Ci-fa Lun 'K in
ill ifc (A Study of Chinese Morphology) (Chen 1994). In Chao’s work, Chinese word
formation and syntactic properties are described thoroughly from Chapter Three to
Chapter Six. This work has become the foundation for and the most important reference
in all the later studies. All the works mentioned above have presented details of the
Chinese word patterns. They, however, describe details to the exclusion of general
principles. Thus, further study is needed to generalize such details in order to apply the
results to vocabulary pedagogy. Moreover, such works focus either on the syntactic
categories and functions of Chinese words (e g. Li and Thompson 1981, Dow 1983, Fu
1985), on social styles (i.e. classical words, idioms, foreign words, etc. as in Liu 1990a) or
on rhetorical meanings (e g. Liu 1990a, Chen 1994). Some other important features of
Chinese words, such as their semantic combinations and the fixed meanings of different
word patterns, have not been touched upon. In these areas, more research and
descriptions should be developed.
The second kind of previous study is morphological and syntactic research on
Chinese words. Such works usually adopt different morphological and syntactic theories
or approaches to explain the properties of Chinese words. There have been two primary
themes among these discussions. The first one is that the rules of Chinese word structure
are related to those of syntactic structures and can be explained by syntactic principles.
For example, Qi (1992) claims that all Chinese words are monosyllabic and that
polysyllabic words do not exist; therefore, morphological study cannot be applied to
Chinese words, and the way of combining monosyllabic words into polysyllabic phrases

89
can be explained exclusively by Syntax. Tang (1994) argues that Chinese compounds are
syntactic islands, and that word-syntax and sentence syntax are one and the same because
both sentences and compound verbs in Chinese have internal and external arguments.
Therefore, “sentence-syntactic rules and principles extend to apply in the domain of word-
syntax as well in all unmarked cases” (Tang 1994, p. 495). Ross (1985) distinguishes
Chinese compounds in two types: lexical compounds and phrasal compounds. “Lexical
compounds are indivisible words formed in the lexicon, while phrasal compounds are
sequences of words joined by syntactic phrase structure rules”(Ross 1985, p. 20). Dai
(1992, 1994) claims that Chinese morphology is an inflectional one and is determined by
or accessible to syntactic rules. Both Li (1990) and Zou (1994) contend that Chinese V-V
compounds are governed by the Case Theory of the Government-Binding Theory of
syntax. The second theme of those studies is that complex Chinese words have their own
properties different from those of phrase structure. For instance, Liu (1990b) argues that
only derivative words and derivational rules can work on the basis of syntactic principles
and that morpheme orders and semantic relationships of word components can only be
studied by morphological theories. Several other studies apply morphological theories to
Chinese and discuss whether Chinese compounds are right-headed (Packard 1990,
Starosta et al. 1998) or headless (Huang 1998), and whether Chinese word formation is
level-ordered (Packard 1990) or not (Sproat & Shih 1993).
The two themes above represent opposite views in morphological study: the view
that word structure should be explained by syntactic theories versus the view that word
structure has its own properties. Each view is based on some phenomena and features of
words but not on the whole inventory of the language. In fact, a word is the meaningful

90
linguistic unit that is smaller than a phrase but larger than a morpheme, and it is the
element between a phrase and a morpheme. Word structure thus has the properties of
syntax, especially in modern Chinese, a language where more than half of the lexical items
are compounds. At the same time, words are not equivalent to phrases and they may have
purely lexical features which cannot be explained by syntactic rules. For example, in
modern Chinese, reduplications and Root-Affix (prefix, infix or suffix) words cannot be
explained simply by syntactic headedness theory (see Sections 5.2.2 and 5.2.3). Even in
compounds, some properties may be more morphological than syntactic (see Chapter 6 4).
In this dissertation, not only will the general word properties similar to those of phrase
structures be presented, but the lexical features of Chinese words will also be discussed.
The third kind of previous studies concerns specific types of Chinese words.
These studies analyze syntactic or semantic features of different word categories. Topics
include the cognitive discussion of a few specific Chinese classifiers (Yau 1988, Tai 1994)
and certain morphemes (Liu 1992), the grammatical functions of Verb-Complements
(Teng 1977, Yong 1995) and Adjective-Noun constructions (Wang 1995), verbalization
and nominalization of Chinese words (Chan & Tai 1994, Tai 1997), word categories and
sub-categories (Hu 1996). As some of the findings of these studies can be relatively easily
applied to Chinese pedagogy, they will be incorporated into this research directly.
5.2 Types of Chinese Words
There are four major types of Chinese words: mono-morphemic words,
reduplications, Root-Affix, and Root-Root compounds. Besides, abbreviations can also

91
be regarded as a special type of Chinese words. They are discussed in the remainder of
this chapter and in the next chapter.
5.2.1 Mono-morphemic Words
There are two kinds of mono-morphemic words in Chinese: monosyllabic and
polysyllabic.
Monosyllabic words are traditional Chinese words. Most of them appear
frequently in different language materials of modern Chinese. According to Xian-dai
Han-yu Pin-lu Ci-dian M ft 'N. hO -ft- (A Word-Frequency Dictionary of
Modern Chinese) (Wang 1986), of the top 1,000, 2,000 and 9,000 frequently used words,
there are 565, 957 and 2,400 monosyllabic words, respectively. Liu, J. (1990) found that
among the most frequently used 300 Chinese words, 75.7% of them are monosyllabic.
Moreover, nearly all of the particles, prepositions, pure classifiers/measure-words (i.e. the
words only used as classifiers/measures-words) and most of the adverbs are monosyllabic.
A monosyllabic word is a meaningful lexical item which cannot be further
decomposed in Chinese and has to be presented as a whole in the mental lexicon. Since
monosyllabic words are used in modern Chinese very often, and because these words can
also be used as morphemes in other words, they should be the basic vocabulary of L2
learners. Generally, L2 learners of Chinese have to acquire monosyllabic words one by
one in language contexts and environments. Chapter Seven will analyze the cognitive
meanings of Chinese classifiers—which are all monosyllabic words—in order to help
learners understand them easily. Chapter Eight will discuss how to help L2 learners of
Chinese study monosyllabic words effectively by instruction in character properties (i.e.

92
the character structure and development, the radicals) and the training of memorizing
strategies.
Polysyllabic mono-morphemic words can also be divided into two types:
traditional Chinese words and transliterations. Traditional polysyllabic mono-morphemic
words are rare but exist. These words have appeared in Chinese vocabulary for hundreds
or even thousands of years. Many of them are the names of some insects and plants and
their characters are usually morphemic-phonetic ones; that is, one component marks the
pronunciation, and the radical marks the meaning category (e g. insect, plant, etc ). For
example, M qingting ‘dragonfly’, ¡Kll #fc zhizhu ‘spider’, H fuyong ‘cottonrose
hibiscus; lotus’, ^ ^ij moli ‘jasmine’. There are also some verbs or adjectives, such as
laodao, ‘be garrulous’, Üf/r zhengrong ‘lofty and steep’, but these are the words
that occur in Chinese with low frequency. Some of these words, such as ]=T Üí muxu, H
M yingsu, and ÃœJ putao, may also be transliterations. Since they have been used in
Chinese for a long time, it is unclear which languages they were borrowed from
Polysyllabic transliterations are quite common in modern Chinese. The characters
of these words just represent the syllabic pronunciations and do not have anything to do
with their original meanings. Some of the words were introduced into the Chinese
language hundreds of years ago. For example, [W] hutong ‘lane; alley’ was borrowed
from Mongolian in the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368 A.D.). But many of them came into
Chinese in the 19th or 20th century. Most of the transliterations in modern Chinese are
nouns, i.e. the names of places, people, instruments or proper nouns. A few of them are
adjectives. For instance:

93
M f0 3E aodaliya ‘Australia’ || KÜ huashengdun ‘Washington’
^ íjíj kelindun ‘Clinton’
ft motuo ‘motorcycle’ IKldr dishi ‘taxi’
3j fe malasong ‘Marathon’ H ^ EE aolinpike ‘Olympic’
M fkyoumo ‘humorous; humor’.
None of the polysyllabic mono-morphemic words are decomposable. Therefore,
their meanings cannot be reached through word structures and characters. But L2
learners can get their meanings from context, phonetic radicals of characters and
pronunciations marked by characters. Moreover, since most of these words are nouns, i.e.
the name of an insect, a plant, a place, a person or an instrument, it should not be hard to
infer the meanings of the transliterations from context. Learners can also use character
radicals and pronunciations to help them memorize these words.
5.2.2 Reduplications
In modern Chinese, many nouns, measure words (classifiers), action verbs and
state verbs (adjectives) can be reduplicated to form new meanings. Chinese reduplications
have been discussed in Chao (1968) and a few other works, but none of them point out
that the reduplicated patterns and their semantic meanings are rule-governed, nor do they
list the general rules. In order to help L2 learners of Chinese understand reduplicated
words and know how to use reduplications easily, the rules of reduplicate patterns are
generalized and given below.

94
(1) Nominal Reduplications
A. In modern Chinese, all monosyllabic measure-words (MW)/classifiers and all
monosyllabic nouns that can be used as measure-words contingently can be reduplicated
The meaning of such reduplication is ‘every N\ For example:
A A A ge-ge ren [MW-MW person] ‘every person’
A A ifj |nj ci-ci fang-wen [MW-MW visit-ask] ‘each visit’
ft ft tian-tian [day-day] ‘every day’
A A ren-ren [people-people] ‘every person’
Except for a few words (such as A zi ‘character’, f] yue ‘month’, and A shi
‘thing’), monosyllabic nouns which are never used as measure words (i.e. cannot be used
directly after a number and before other nouns) in general cannot be reduplicated. Some
nouns may be used after — yi ‘one’ to mean ‘N full of For instance: — A fttl yi-
shouyou [one-hand oil] ‘oil (is) all over the hand’
B Parallel compounds which refer to locations can be reduplicated as
N1N1N2N2 type (N1 and N2 are the two components, which are antonyms, of a
compound) to emphasize ‘every N1 and N2’ or ‘all of N1 and N2’. For example,
li-li-wai-wai [inside-inside-outside-outside] ‘all of the inside and outside’,
\X\Wfñffi qian-qian-hou-hou [front-front-back-back] ‘all of the front and back’,
AAAA zuo-zuo-you-you [left-left-right-right] ‘all of the left and right’. A few other
compounds with a similar structure occur, but the pattern is not productive. Examples are
f] fifcix nan-nan-nu-nu, [man-man-woman-woman] ‘every man and woman’, AAAA
hua-hua-cao-cao, [flower-flower-grass-grass] ‘different (kinds of) flowers and grasses’,
0 0 -A-A ri-ri-ye-ye, [day-day-night-night] ‘each day and night’.

95
C. Kinship terms are usually reduplicated but the reduplication does not change
their meanings. Both the monosyllabic forms and the reduplicates are acceptable,
especially those for members of the immediate family. For example, ^ ba ‘pa’, ba¬
ba ‘dad’; M ma ‘mom’, ^ M ma-ma ‘mom’; ^fr ye ‘grandpa’, ye-ye ‘grandpa’; If
ge ‘elder brother’, If If ge-ge ‘elder brother’.
(2) Reduplications of Action Verbs
In modern Chinese, all monosyllabic action verbs and disyllabic verbal compounds
with parallel structure (i.e. the two components are equal and are synonyms or antonyms)
can be reduplicated to mean ‘try to V’ or ‘V a little’. For example:
chi ‘to eat’ -> Vfc chi-chi ‘try to eat, eat a little’
H kan ‘to look at, to watch, to read’ kan-kan ‘just watch/read a little’
ÍI SI zheng-li ‘to tidy up’ # fl W. M zhengli-zhengli ‘to clean a little’
fit ii£ tui-qiao [push-knock] ‘to weigh; to deliberate’ ffii M. fi ¡Üft tui-qiao-tui-
qiao ‘to weigh a little; to deliberate a little’.
To highlight the attemptive meaning ‘to try’, such reduplications can have the verb
^ kan ‘look’ added to them to become W^f. E g. chi-chi-kan ‘to try to taste’;
Ü M ÍI M If zhengli-zhengli-kan ‘to try to clean’.
(3) Reduplications of State Verbs (or Adjectives)
Some state verbs (adjectives) for such notions as colors, tastes, temperatures and
feelings (i.e. cold, warm, hot, cool, glad) can be reduplicated.
A. When a monosyllabic state-verb is reduplicated, a particle de can always be
added after the reduplication in sentences. Such reduplications are termed ‘Vivid

96
Reduplicates’ by Chao (1968, p. 205). That is, they are used to vividly describe some
features. For example:
ÉI hong ‘red’ -> Hil(ft)) hong-hong (de) ‘reddish’.
[Sj gao ‘high, tall’ -> r#jr§í(fó) gao-gao (de) ‘highish’
ÍÉf dan ‘sweet’ -> ítítfíM) tian-tian (de) ‘sweetish’
M lei ‘tire’ -> lei-let (de) ‘tiredly’
B. A disyllabic state-verb (adjective) AB can be reduplicated as AABB or ABAB.
The AABB pattern is only for disyllabic parallel-compounds. If the two components of a
parallel compound, A and B, are synonyms, the reduplication AABB means ‘very A and
B’. For instance:
'/rIe qing-chu [clear-clear] ‘clear’ íffílfHaiI qing-qing-chu-chu ‘very clear’
rHS qi-gnai [strange-weird] ‘weird’ nfisf qi-qi-gnai-guai ‘very weird’
If the two components A and B are antonyms, the reduplication means ‘some are A, and
some are B’. For example:
[fi] j£ gao-di [high-low] ‘high and low’ -> iSriSHftjK gao-gao-di-di ‘some are
high, some are low’
fljjiijy ming-an [bright-dark] ‘bright and dark; obvious and hidden’
Uh Bh ming-ming-an-an ‘(some are) obvious and (some are) hidden’
The ABAB type is usually for Modifier-Head compounds to intensify features
being described. Examples are:
á£lír jin-huang [gold-yellow] ‘golden yellow’
^ jin-huang-jin-huang ‘very very yellow’

97
bing-leng [ice-cold] ‘as cold as ice’
bing-leng-bing-leng ‘very very cold’
Many parallel compounds and some other compounds that indicate states of the
mind or feeling (e g. “happy, glad, angry, sad, nervous, headache, jealous, understand”),
may also be reduplicated in the ABAB pattern. Such reduplication is often used in a
causative sentence to mean ‘to cause X to become AB’ or a contingency sentence. E g.:
BfJÉl ming-bai [clear-white] ‘understand’ Él^j] f^| rang ta ming-bai-ming-bai
[let he clear-white-clear-white] ‘to let him understand’. JF'C kai-xin [open-heart] ‘to be
happy’ -> ni neng bu neng kai-xin kai-xin [you can not can open-
heart-open-heart] ‘Can’t you be happy?’. An exception is that a Modifier-Head
compound gao-xing [high-mood] ‘happy, glad’ is treated as a parallel compound
when it is reduplicated. When it is in the AABB pattern, it means ‘very happy, very glad’;
when it is in the ABAB pattern, it is ‘to become happy’. For example:
Wo gao-gao-xing-xing de gei tayi jian li-wu
I very-happy Particle give he one MW gift
‘I give him a gift very gladly.’
wo mai jian li-wu gei ta, rang ta gao-xing-gao-xing
I buy MW gift to he, let he become-happy
‘I will buy a gift for him and let him be happy.’
Since all adjective reduplications have the meaning of increasing the degree of a
state or feature, they cannot be further modified by other degree adverbs like hen,
‘very’, fei-chang, ‘extremely’, and you-dian, ‘a little/bit’.

98
5.2.3 Affixes
Like other languages, Chinese has prefixes, infixes and suffixes. Infixes are very
few in number and mostly serve some phonological functions but do not have any
semantic meanings. Most of the prefixes and suffixes in Chinese are attached to nomináis,
only a few of them are attached to verbs. The meanings and functions of Chinese affixes
are governed by general rules, and many of the affixes are productive. L2 learners of
Chinese can acquire words with affixes easily and effectively by learning their rules. Even
though some of the works mentioned in Section 5.1.2 discuss the meanings and syntactic
functions of Chinese affixes, none of them analyzes them either clearly or completely.
Following is a description of the common affixes in Chinese words, and it provides a
general view and the rules for Chinese learners.
(1) Prefix
There are several prefixes in Chinese: M lao, % di ‘rank-’, ^ qi ‘its-, that-’,
1>Xyi ‘from-’, ^ dang ‘just at-’, that are always attached to a noun; and of ke ‘able-’, ^
bu ‘no, not, un-’, that are attached to verbs and adjectives.
K a is always attached to forms of address of family members or someone’s name
(last or first name) to form disyllabic intimate terms. It is mostly used in colloquial
Chinese and some Chinese dialects. For example: KM a-jie [prefix-elder-sister] ‘elder
sister’, KiE a-wang [prefix-Wang (surname)] ‘Wang’, Kill a-shan [prefix-Shan (name)]
‘Shan’.
^ lao means ‘old’ when it is used freely. As a prefix, it mainly adds a syllable to a
word and loses the semantic meaning. It appears in several situations.

1
99
1. To attach to a few bound monosyllabic-morphemes to form disyllabic words.
This is the phonological function of lao, and it is not unproductive. For
instance: lao-shi [prefix-teacher] ‘teacher’, lao-hu [prefix-tiger]
‘tiger’, lao-shu [prefix-mouse] ‘mouse’.
2. To attach to a monosyllabic number (from two to ten) or ^ da ‘big, large’ and
/h xiao ‘small’ to denote seniority among siblings or the order of some ranks.
E g. lao-da [prefix-big] ‘the eldest one, the number one’, lao-xiao
[prefix-small] ‘the youngest one, the last one’, lao-er [prefix-two] ‘the
second one’.
3. To attach to the monosyllabic surname of someone—who is above middle age
and is a male—to form an intimate form of address. For instance, lao-
wang ‘Wang’, lao-li ‘Li’.
4. To form new colloquial words which refer to some class of people. For
example, lao-xiang [prefix-town] ‘fellow-townsman’, lao-wai
[prefix-outside] ‘foreigner’, lao-zong [prefix-general (manager)] ‘general
manager; president’, lao-guang [prefix-Canton] ‘Cantonese’. This usage
of 3k lao has two functions: 1) to contribute a semantic meaning—‘a kind of
people’—to the new word, and 2) to mark a casual style. It is a semi-
productive prefix, and there is not a straightforward rule to tell which
morpheme it can or cannot be attached to.
'$n di is always attached to numbers to form ordinals. For instance, W>— di-yi
[rank-one] ‘the first’, W’ tH di-shi-wu [rank-ten-five] ‘the fifteenth’.

100
^ qi is a third-person pronoun in both nominative and possessive cases in classical
Chinese with the meaning of ‘he, she, it, they, them; his, her, its, their’. As a prefix in
modern Chinese, it usually means ‘its-, that-’. E g.: ^4* qi-zhong [its-middle] ‘among
(them)’, qi-shi [its-fact] ‘in fact’, qi-ci [that-second] ‘the second’. It carries
some classical flavor.
Prefix I'A yi is attached to words of locations or directions to refer to a boundary.
For example: yi-qian [at-front/before] ‘before, ago’, VX^b yi-wai [at-outside] ‘the
outside of, I>JsXEyi-dong [from-east] ‘the east of, i>XAyi-lai [from-coming] ‘since’.
^ dang as a prefix is usually attached to a noun to mean ‘just at (a time or a
place)’. E g.: dang-shi [at-time] ‘at that time’, dang-di [at-place] ‘local, in the
locality’, dang-nian [at-year] ‘in those years, in those days (in the past)’, ^ dang-
mian [at-face] ‘in somebody’s presence, to someone’s face’.
oj ke means ‘able, can’ when it is used as a root in a compound. As a prefix, it is
usually attached to a verb (state verb or action verb) to mean ‘able to be V’. This function
is productive. Examples are: ke-chi [able-eat] ‘edible’, ke-xiao [able-laugh]
‘laughable, funny’. oT ke can also be attached to a noun to mean ‘fit N’, but it is not very
productive: nJA ke-ren [fit-person] ‘personable, lovely’, oj P ke-kou [fit-mouth] ‘tasty,
delicious’, oJA' ke-xin [fit-heart] ‘satisfying’.
^ bn ‘not’ is a negative word in Chinese, but it cannot be used alone. It may also
be used as a productive prefix to attach to a verb, adjective or a noun to form a new word
with a negative meaning For instance: 4^' bu-bi [not-need] ‘need not, do not have to’,
bu-xing [not-fortunate] ‘unfortunately’, bu-ran [not-so] ‘otherwise’, hu¬
man [not-satisfy] ‘dissatisfied’.

101
(2) Suffix
There are relatively more suffixes in modern Chinese. Most of them are nominal
suffixes, such as -zi, -JL -er/-r, -tou, -4 -sheng, -dr -shi, -M -yuan, -df -zhe, -M-
-jia , -fl’ J -men, -'14 -xing, - Étl -de. A few of them, like -'it -hua, -~J -le, -M -zhe, -Ü -
guo, -# -de, -itk -de, -qilai are verbal suffixes.
Suffix -f1 zi has three functions: 1) To add a syllable to certain monosyllabic
nominal morphemes to form a disyllabic word. For example, zhuo-zi [table-suffix]
‘table’, Hi"? chnang-zi [window-suffix] ‘window’, ^±4* xie-zi [shoe-suffix] ‘shoe(s)’. 2)
After a state verb (adjective) to form a noun with the meaning of ‘a person who is A’. For
instance, pang-zi [fat-suffix] ‘fat person, fatty’, long-zi [deaf-suffix] ‘deaf-
mute’, - xia-zi [ blind-suffix] ‘blind person’. Such words are informal expressions and
sometimes have the tones of despite. 3) To attach to an action verb to form a noun with
the meaning of ‘the instrument used to V’ or ‘the person who Vs’. E g., Sf-jp jian-zi
[cut-suffix] ‘scissors’, shu-zi [comb-suffix] ‘comb’, pian-zi [cheat-suffix]
‘swindle’. All the words with a suffix -f- zi are nouns. In this case, zi can be regarded
as a marker for noun.
JL -er/-r is also a nominal suffix with a function similar to ~f -zi: to add a
phonological ending to some nouns. E.g. JfcJL huar [flower-suffix] ‘flower’, HfJL
chuangr [window-suffix] ‘window’, |±JL xier [shoe-suffix] ‘shoe(s)’, ¡HJL huar [picture-
suffix] ‘picture, painting’. Mostly, its use is optional. In northern China, like in Beijing,
people add JL -r to many monosyllabic and disyllabic nouns; but in southern China, people
seldom use it.

102
zk tou means ‘head’2. When it is used as a suffix, it occurs in five situations:
1. To attach to some nominal morphemes to form disyllabic nouns. The noun
usually refers to something which is a lump or chunk For example, ki^k shi-
tou [stone-suffix] ‘stone’, mu-tou [wood-suffix] ‘wood’, man-tou
[steamed bun-suffix] ‘steamed bun’, li|^ shan-tou [hill-suffix] ‘hill’.
2. To attach to a few action verbs to form the nouns with the meaning of ‘the
instrument used to V’: chu-tou [to hoe-suffix] ‘hoe’, zhi-tou [to
point-suffix] ‘finger’
3. After localizers and certain nouns to form locations. E g. qian-tou
[front-suffix] ‘front’, _h^ shang-tou [above-suffix] ‘above’, di-tou
[field-suffix] ‘(on) field’, shou-tou [hand-suffix] ‘(on) hand’, kou-
tou [mouth-suffix] ‘(by) mouth’.
4. To attach to certain state verbs to form nouns. E.g.: tian-tou [sweet-
suffix] ‘sweetness, advantage, profit’, xiang-tou [think-suffix] ‘idea;
hope’, ^ zk ku-tou [bitter-suffix] ‘suffering, hardship’, kr zk kai-tou [begin-
suffix] ‘beginning’.
5. After an action verb to form a noun with the meaning of ‘worth of V-ing’.
E g. chi-tou [eat-suffix] ‘the worth of eating’, shuo-tou [speak-
Note: 2. Dai (1992, Chapter 5) argues that ^ -tou is an inflectional suffix because it does
not change the category of the word it is attached to. However, the examples here show
that it is a derivative suffix. First, it may change the category of the word it is attached to,
as in the fourth function listed. Second, it may give a new semantic meaning to a word or
morpheme. Even when it just adds a syllable to form a disyllabic noun, it still contributes
a semantic meaning to the word: what the word refers to is something with the shape of a
lump or chunk. This meaning is derived from its original meaning ‘head’. None of its
functions is totally syntactic. Thus, it should be treated as a derivative suffix.

103
suffix] ‘the worth of saying’. This function is very productive.
Suffixes ¿fe sheng, it shi, M yuan, # zhe all mean ‘person’ and are similar to the
English suffixes ‘-er’ and ‘-or’, A sheng, it shi and jn yuan are all attached to a
monosyllabic word referring to some professional persons, ¿fe -sheng and it -shi are not
productive, but -jiq, -yuan is more productive. E g. xue-sheng [study-er] ‘student’,
Eit yi-sheng [medical-er] ‘doctor’; it hu-shi [caretake-er] ‘nurse’, iici: zhan-shi
[fight-er] ‘warrior’; Wtfn jiao-yuan [teach-er] ‘teacher, faculty’, M gu-yuan [hire-er]
‘employee’, Afrin. fei-xing-yuan [fly-er] ‘pilot’, IeTM guan-yuan [official-er] ‘officer (of
government)’, jia-shi-yuan [drive-run-er] ‘driver’. The suffix # -zhe is the most
productive one among these suffixes. It not only refers to professionals, but it may also
refer to a person who just does an action or who is in a kind of state For example,
zuo-zhe [write-er] ‘writer, author’, du-zhe [read-er] ‘reader’, M# qian-zhe [front-
er] ‘the former’, zhang-zhe [eld-er] ‘elder, senior person’. Moreover, it can also be
attached to polysyllabic words to carry a classical flavor: # shuo-hua-zhe [speak-
speech-er] ‘the person(s) who (is/are) speak(ing), speaker’.
Suffix M -jia means ‘-ist’ and always refers to professional experts. Such as
#3^ ke-xue-jia [science-ist] ‘scientist’, jiao-yu-jia [educate-ist] ‘educator’,
zheng-zhi-jia [politics-ist] ‘statesman, politician’, zhuan-jia [special-ist]
‘expert, specialist’. This suffix is very productive and can create new words.
1É -xing ‘-ity, -ness’ may attach to nouns, verbs and adjectives (state verbs) to
refer to a property or a feature. Eg., gong-xing [common/general-ity]
‘commonality’, ojfb'14 ke-neng-xing [possible-ity] ‘possibility’, Afefe ren-xing [human-

104
ity] ‘humanity, human nature’, ¡5£'|4 suan-xing [acid-ity] ‘acidity’. This is also a
productive suffix and can derive new words.
ffl -men is a plural suffix for human beings. Such as xue-sheng-men
[student-s] ‘students’, lao-shi-men [teacher-s] ‘teachers’, AÍH ren-men [person-
s] ‘people’. Such words usually refer to people in general and cannot be modified by
specific words, numbers and quantities.
As a suffix, fó -de has two functions in modern Chinese:
1. After nouns and pronouns to be a possessive marker. For example, wo-
de [I-suffix] ‘my, mine’, ftfeff]fó ta-men-de [he-plural-suffix] ‘their, theirs’,
xue-sheng-de [student-suffix] ‘student’s’.
2. After verbs (state verbs and action verbs) or verbal phrases to derive the
meaning of ‘the thing(s) to be V’ or ‘the person who does V’. E.g. £ffó
hong-de, [red-suffix] ‘the red one’, /hfó xiao-de [small-suffix] ‘the small one’;
[fcfó chi-de [eat-suffix] ‘the things for eating, food’, Ufó kan-de
[look/watch/read-suffix] ‘the things for watching/reading’, K^Hfó mai-
dong-xi-de [(sell-things)-de] ‘the person who sells, seller’.
As a sentence particle, fó de has more functions: a) as a nominal particle in noun
phrases to mark the modification of a head noun, and b) to be combined with J|§ shi ‘be’
to form a nominalized phrase. E.g. fó 4$ wo xie de shu [I write DE book] ‘the book
that I wrote’; $c;H:fóAAfó Wo shi zuo-tian lai de [I be yesterday come DE] ‘it was
yesterday that I came.’ These functions are usually discussed in Chinese syntax. All the
functions of fó de can be generalized as nominalization.

105
it -hua is a verbal suffix with the meaning of ‘-ize’. It can attach to nouns,
adjectives (state verbs) and certain adverbs to derive new verbs. This is a very productive
suffix. E g.: HÜHL mei-guo-hua [America-suffix] ‘to Americanize’, ¿fjfiJik dong-ci-hua
[verb-word-suffix] ‘to verbalize’, ^ttit lao-hua [old-suffix] ‘to age’, ££{b lü-hua [green-
suffix] ‘to greenize (by planting trees)’, JE&it zhengchang-hua [often/normal-suffix] ‘to
normalize’.
Ail the other verbal suffixes T -le, -zhe, ¿t -guo, í# -de, TÜ1 -de, -qilai
are inflectional ones which are attached to verbs (state or action) or verbal phrases to
mark tenses or aspects of actions and events. Many works about Chinese grammar have
discussed these suffixes/particles (e g. Chao 1968; Li and Thopson 1989; Chu 1983,
1996), and thus, their meanings and functions are not discussed here However, there is a
rule of their usages that L2 learners should know: none of these inflectional suffixes can be
located after an intransitive verb-object compound. If the word that these suffixes attach
to is a verb-object compound, the suffixes have to be put after the verbal morpheme,
except for a few transitive verb-object compounds like zhu-yi [fill-attention] ‘to pay
attention to’. For instance:
shuo-hua [speak-speech] ‘to speak’ -> i&ThS shuo-le-hua ‘have spoken’
^4$ nian-shu [read-book] ‘to study’ -> 4? nian-zhe-shu ‘be studying’
) "íli # £jp nian-shu nian-de hao [read-book read-DE good] ‘to study
well’
For -qilai, it must be inserted into the compound in the pattern verb-^7-object-/a/.
E g. ij£ j|2 shuo-qi-hua-lai [speak-QI-speech-LAI] ‘to start to speak’.

106
(3) Infix
In modem Chinese, genuine infixes are very few, and almost none of them have
any tangible meaning. A common one is PM -//. As Chao (1968, p. 257) points out, it is
usually inserted into a disyllabic derogatory term to form a vivid partial reduplication
E g.: 0Hi? luosuo ‘long-winded, wordy’ -0 '0I'M'909$. luo-li-luosuo ‘wordy’; lao-qi
[old-air] ‘old-fashioned; old-mannish’ -> ^üPM^i^l lao-li-lao-qi ‘old-fashioned; old-
mannish’.
Particle í# de and negative word bu can also be inserted into verb-complement
compounds as infixes to form potential expressions. E g.: P0 % chi-wav [eat-finish] ‘to
finish eating’ -> tfc chi-de/bu-wav [eat-able/not-finish] ‘be-able/unable to finish
eating’.
Since most of the affixes in Chinese are derivational and can produce new words, it
will be important to teach L2 learners the common affixes discussed above. The
knowledge of Chinese affixes may help L2 learners memorize words effectively and may
also lead them to infer the meanings of many new words they come across on their own.
5.2.4 Abbreviations
Usually, a word in modern Chinese has no more than three syllables. Thus, proper
nouns and many phrases which are more than three syllables are usually shortened by
abbreviation. Abbreviation is a special pattern of words which serves as a meaningful unit
and cannot be decomposed in sentences. With the fast development of society, economy
and science, abbreviations in modern Chinese are used more and more frequently. To L2
learners, it is usually difficult to understand the meanings of Chinese abbreviations by
themselves. Thus, formal instruction must include the teaching of common abbreviations

107
and their rules. Unfortunately, Chinese abbreviations have not caught much attention in
Chinese linguistic study. Except for the work of Dou (1983), which mentions some rules
for abbreviation (p. 16 and p. 125), no other books of Chinese grammar have discussed
them Sproat and Shih (1996) claim that Chinese abbreviations are lexically determined
because there are a variety of ways to form an abbreviation (p.65). In fact, however, rules
can be formulated despite Sproat and Shih’s claim. Here are the general rules for typical
Chinese abbreviations.
(1) Syntactic Categories
In Chinese, only polysyllabic (more than three syllables) proper nouns, nominal
phrases and some verbal phrases can be abbreviated. However, fixed expressions like
idioms, set phrases, etc. usually cannot be abbreviated. For example:
M tí HIM si-ji yu shou-piao-yuan -> ff]W si-shou
driver and sell-ticket-er ‘driver (and) ticket seller (on a bus)’
4a HI iff lK ^ zhong-guo yu-yan wen-xue xi zhong-wen xi
Chinese language literature department ‘the department of Chinese language and
literature’
kuo-chong rong-liang -> if § kuo-rong
expand-fill contain-capacity ‘to add capacity of contain’
(5F ftit: yan-jiu yu tao-lun -> M'it yan-tao
study and discuss ‘to study and discuss’
7j lao-dong gai-zhao, -> lao-gai
labor reform ‘reform through labor’
(2) Syllables and Tones
Chinese abbreviations generally have no more than three syllables, and they also
follow the rule of Chinese tone sandhi. The characters in each abbreviation usually keep
their own tones. However, if the condition of tone sandhi is satisfied, some tones will be

108
changed. For example, a main tone sandhi rule in Mandarin is that a third tone pattern
(214) changes to be a second tone pattern (35) when it is followed by another third tone:
214 + 214 35 + 214. If two syllables (characters) in an abbreviation both happen to be
the third tone and linked together, the first one will change to a second tone pattern.
E g. Tone pattern Tone sandhi
Full expression: ffcik IfS qi-ye guan-li 214-51214-214 214-5135-214
‘business management’
Abbreviation: qi-guan 214-214 35-214
(3) Syllable-Selection
A. In modern Chinese, to abbreviate a phrase is to omit some syllables. Typically,
the first syllable (character) of each word in a lull expression is selected to compose an
abbreviation. For instance:
Full expression
Abbreviation
ÍSÍ5 M chao-ii shi-chany
chao-shi
super-degree market-square
‘supermarket’
ff-iu huan-jiny bao-hu
huan-bao
around-environment protect-protect
‘environmental protect/protection’
H# Í53ÍJ# Aolinpike yur^dong hu[ Ao-yim-hui
Olympic sport meeting ‘the Olympic Games’
she-hui ke-xue yuan -> f± # she-ke-yuan
social science institute ‘the Institute of Social Science’
B If a full expression contains more than three words, to satisfy the syllable rule
of abbreviation, the selection will be: the first syllable of the first word + the first syllable
of the second word or of the penultimate one + the first syllable of the last word.

109
41 HI üf W # %. zhong-guo vu-van wen-xue xi zhong-wen xi
Chinese language literature department ‘the department of Chinese language and
literature’
ip’W ^ xi-fang yu-yan wen-xue xz Miff xz-j>m xz
western language literature department ‘the department of Western languages and
literature’
tS ^ $3 ft zc shi-jie fu-nu dai-biao da hu[ -> tit #3 z? shi-fu-hui
world women representative large meeting ‘the Conference of International
Women’
C. In order to avoid misunderstanding or ambiguity, neither prefixes nor
conjunctions are selected to compose an abbreviation If the last word of a full expression
is a disyllabic one, the monosyllabic adjective before it will not be selected. The modifier
V or A of a nominal V-N or A-N compound may not be selected, either, to avoid
ambiguity. Moreover, if the first syllables of two words in a phrase happen to be the
same, they will not be used. For example:
ü — 31 ^ di-yl zhong-xue
rank-one middle-school
-A —■ cf yi-zhong
‘The First Middle School’
yan-jiu vu tao-lun.
study and discuss
$B'f yan-tao,
‘to study and discuss’
it ^ fiji wen-hua da ge-ming
culture big revolution
-> ^jEpL wen-ge
‘the Cultural Revolution’
tu W? JT1 on iie-hun yong-pin
make-marriage use-article
£P?pn hun-pin
‘articles for marrying’
ffe fM dian-vingyu dian-shi -> i$%lying-shi
electricity-reflection and electricity-vision ‘movies and TV (programs)’
D. A few abbreviations are used in a habitual way. If the last word of a full
expression is gong-si [public-department] ‘company’ or ^ xue-yuan [study-

110
yard/place] ‘college’, it will either be dropped or kept as a full form This is because
choosing either syllable of such a word may cause ambiguity.
41 [H it/L S A BJ zhong-guo hang-kong gong-si -> 41 M zhong-hang
China air-line company ‘the Chinese Air Company’
‘í3 U H A Bj zhong-guo iian-zhu gong-si -> 4'itAB] zhong-jian
-gong-si
China build company ‘The Chinese Architectural Company’
nan-iing vi-vao xue-yuan HE nan-yi
Nanjing medical college ‘Nanjing Medical College’
I ^ gong-cheng xue-yuan -> I ^ gong-xue-yuan
engineering college ‘the College of Engineering’
If the last word is 4i fr yin-hang [silver-trade] ‘bank’, the second syllable is
chosen traditionally:
A K $1 ÍT ren-min yin-hang A ÍT ren-hang
people bank ‘The People’s Bank’
A Jk 45 ÍT nong-ye yin-hang -> A A nong-hang
agriculture bank ‘Bank of Agriculture’
However, recently, the first syllable is selected to follow the prototypical rule:
43 HI $1 A zhong-guo yin-hang -> 41 45 zhong-yin or 4J A zhong-hang
China bank ‘Bank of China’
t& 45 A shi-jie yin-hang -> A 45 shi-yin
world bank ‘The International Bank’
(4) Shortened Form of Places
When a term refers to an area covering more than one city or province,
monosyllabic historical names of different places are used to compose a special kind of
shortened term without dropping some syllables of the original expression. A lot of names
of cities and provinces in China share the first character, such as lii^K Shandong, lL|H

Ill
Shanxi; $]^) Hunan, Hubei, etc. If a phrase referring to two or more places is
abbreviated as the composition of their first-syllables, it would cause misunderstanding.
Fortunately, all the provinces and some big cities have their own monosyllabic historical
names which are used as their code names today. For instance, Hu is Shanghai,
M Jing is JbM Beijing, pf Tai is pf Taiwan. These short names are used in a new term
to denote more than one place.
E.g. a'M Taiwan and fgíÉ Fujian -> pii&J Tai-Min
ill 0 Shanxi and llj^H Shandong -> ia H Jin-Lu
Shanghai and Nanjing -> Hu-Ning
If a place does not have a special short term, the first character of its modern name
will be used: |f Xianggang and Hl'l Aomen -> Gang-Ao ‘Hong Kong and
Macao’ gang is the traditional term for Hong Kong, but there is no traditional name
for Macao).
The general rules listed above can help L2 learners get to know how Chinese
abbreviations are formed and thus, permit them to figure out the original forms by
themselves. In Chinese language courses, both common abbreviations and their original
forms should be introduced at the same time in order to let students understand the
meanings and formulations easily.
In this chapter, the general rules of four word types, i.e. mono-morphemic words,
reduplications, Root-Affix words and Abbreviations, have been discussed. In the
following chapter, the analysis of compounds, which is the main word type of Modern
Chinese, will be presented in order to provide all the general rules of Chinese word
structure for L2 learners.

CHAPTER 6
CHINESE WORD STRUCTURE (II) — COMPOUNDS
Chapter Five has discussed previous studies of Chinese words and general rules
governing four types of Chinese words: mono-morphemic words, reduplications, affixes
and a special type—abbreviations. This chapter will discuss another type of Chinese
word—compounds, which are much larger in number and higher in frequency of use than
the other types.
6.1 Compounds in Modern Chinese
In morphology, a compound is “the concatenation of words to form other words”
(Spencer 1991, p. 309). In modern Chinese, the concept of a compound is much more
complex. The components of a Chinese compound are generally words of classical
Chinese, but they are not necessarily words (free morphemes) of modern Chinese.
According to the statistics of Yuan and Huang (1998), about 31% of modem Chinese
morphemes are free morphemes, and the rest are bound morphemes, which have to be
combined with other morphemes to form words. Thus, a compound in modern Chinese is
actually a combination of two or more morphemes (either free or bound morphemes),
which may often be classical Chinese words. In this sense, reduplications and words with
affixes may also be regarded as compounds. This study, however, excludes these two
types of words from compounds because that compounds are measured by the following
112

113
three criteria: 1) a compound must consist of two or more different morphemes, 2) each
morpheme must have a semantically definable meaning, and 3) none of the morphemes
should be in a fixed position when combined with other morphemes. These criteria are
extended from the general definition of compound in morphology.
A compound is a word. Thus, it is a lexical item and is different from a phrase. A
typical compound has these features: 1) it is a basic semantic expression, and its meaning
may not be the simple composition of its components, 2) intra-word phonological rules,
such as neutral tones and stress, may apply to the compound, 3) it is the smallest syntactic
unit in sentences and cannot be split up by parentheticals (i.e. other words or phrases).
Nevertheless, there is not a clear-cut division between compounds and phrases. Some
compounds are more like words, but some are more like phrases. For example,
compounds P^tS. chi-fan (eat-food, ‘to eat’) and i&ifj shuo-hua (speak-speech, ‘to
speak’) are between words and phrases. Their meanings are lexicalized and must be
learned as a unit, but they can be split up by syntactic particles or other words as tfcTtS
chi-le-fan (eat-LE-food, ‘have eaten’), shuo-zhe-hua (speak-ZHE-speech, ‘be
speaking’). These marginal compounds will be discussed in detail when related questions
are presented in this chapter.
In modern Chinese, most of the words are compounds. Table 6.1 shows the
numbers of compounds in the vocabulary lists of Han-yu Shui-Ping Ci-hui yu Han-zi
Deng-ji Da-gang '(f iu 7jC f- j»J '/T ^ if f'-ffWL KWi (Criteria for Chinese
Vocabulary and Characters at Different Proficiency Levels) (1992).

114
Table 6.1 Compounds in Han-yu Shui-Ping Ci-hui vu Han-zi Dens-ii Da-sane
(Criteria for Chinese Vocabulary and Characters at Different
Proficiency Levels)
1st Level
2nd Level
3rd Level
4th level
Total
Words
1033
2018
2202
3569
8822
Compounds
520
(50.3%)
1342
(66.5%)
1668
(75.8%)
3019
(84.6%)
6549
(74.2%)
The first level is the beginning level, the second and third levels are the
intermediate, and the fourth level is the advanced. Clearly, the higher the level is, the
larger the number of compound words used. It is even more impressive when the
coverage of the words for all four levels is considered. According to the statistics
presented in the preface of the Criteria (p. 12), the nearly 9,000 lexical items cover 95% of
the vocabulary in general reading materials. In other words, about 70% of the general¬
reading vocabulary are compound words. Nothing speaks louder than this fact does for
the importance of studying compounds in Chinese vocabulary acquisition and teaching. It
is especially important for L2 learners of Chinese to know the general rules and patterns of
Chinese compounds in order to more effectively acquire the large number of compounds.
6.2 Patterns of Chinese Compounds
Traditionally, Chinese compounds are said to be formed in five patterns: modifier-
head, subject-predicate, verb-object, verb-complement and parallel (coordinate)
compounds. All of them are named by the internal syntactic structure. This classification,
however, has some practical problems. Semantic relationships of the components are
more tangible to L2 learners of Chinese than syntactic relationships and can help them

115
understand the meanings of compounds. Moreover, the syntactic structures of some
Chinese compounds can be ambiguous. For example, kao-ya [roast-duck] ‘roast
duck’ and cun-kuan [store-money] ‘deposit’ can be either verb-object or modifier-
head. To avoid this ambiguity, morphological patterns are used in this study Chinese
compounds are grouped into three major patterns: 1) endocentric compounds, in which
one component functions as the head and the other as a modifier; 2) exocentric
compounds, in which no elements can be regarded as a head; and 3) parallel (or dvandva)
compounds, in which the components form a conjunction (see Spencer 1991, Chapter 8).
These three types are the basic ones. Some Chinese compounds may be more complex
and can be regarded as 4) complex compounds, which consist of two or more of the basic
patterns or one basic pattern with an affix. In this section, both syntactic structures and
the types of semantic combinations in each basic pattern will be listed and discussed.
Moreover, since 95% of compounds in modem Chinese are nouns, verbs and adjectives 1
(Yuan and Huang 1998), these three categories will be the focus of this study.
6.2.1 Endocentric Compounds
An endocentric compound can be a noun, a verb, an adjective or an adverb The
first three categories will be the main emphasis in our discussion.
The syntactic structure of these compounds is Modifier-Head. If N, V, and A refer
to noun, verb, and adjective, in a nominal compound, the syntactic categories of its roots
can be N(N, A), A(N, V) or VN. In a verbal one, the combination can be (V, N, A)V. In
Note: 1. Adjectives are more often termed as “state verbs” in Chinese syntax, since they
share functions with verbs But to L2 learners, the term “adjective” is more familiar and
easier to understand, thus we adopt the traditional name to refer to the Chinese “state
verb”.

116
an adjective compound, the roots can be A(A, V, N), V(N, A), or NA. The semantic
patterns of the roots in these compounds are complex, and they are discussed in the
following.
(1) N1-N2 -> N
If a Chinese compound contains two nominal components, the compound is always
a noun. The semantic relations of the two components can be generalized as Specific-
Object/Concept, in which the second component refers to an object or concept and the
first one specifies the object/concept by referring to a material, a source, a time, a location,
an aim, a method, or a sample, etc. For example:
Material-Object (‘N2 is made of or contains Nl’): mu-xiang [wood-
box/chest] ‘wooden chest’, íjfEftil cao-di [grass-land] ‘lawn, grassland’.
Sample-Object (‘Nl is a category ofN2’): song-shu [pine-tree] ‘pine-tree’,
moli-hua [jasmine-flower] ‘jasmine’.
Source-Object (‘N2 is from Nl’): 44^ niu-rou [cattle-meat] ‘beef, $|;§f ji-dan
[chicken-egg] ‘chicken egg’, shi-you [stone-oil] ‘petroleum’.
Specific-Concept (‘N2 is of NI’): jin-shu [metal-belonging] ‘metal’,
zhou-mo [week-end] ‘weekend’, nong-cun [peasant-village] ‘village (of peasants),
rural area, countryside’, shu-xue [number-study] ‘mathematics’, yi-xue
[medicine-study] ‘medical science’.
Time-Object/Action/Concept (‘N2 is at the time of Nl’): zao-fan
[morning-meal] ‘breakfast’, Hjfx shu-jia [summer-vacation] ‘summer vacation/break (of
school)’, 4P-Ü: zao-cao [morning-exercise] ‘morning exercise’.

117
Location-Object/Concept (‘N2 is located at Nl’): shou-biao [hand-watch]
‘watch’, jing-ju [Beijing-opera] ‘Beijing Opera’, up nei-bu [inside-part] ‘inside’.
Aim-Place (‘N2 is the place for Nl’): tu-shu-guan [picture-book-hall]
‘library’, t&lS fan-dian [meal/food-store] ‘restaurant’, che-zhan [vehicle-station]
‘bus station’, $jJLM you-er-yuan [young-child-yard] ‘nursery school, kindergarten’.
Method-Object (‘N2 is operated by/with Nl’): lan-qiu [basket-ball]
‘basketball’, ¿Üíjc zu-qiu [foot-ball] ‘soccer’, qi-che [gas-vehicle] ‘car’.
Transliteration-Description (Nl is a transliteration, N2 is the Chinese category):
pi-jiu [beer-liquor] ‘beer’, pfja $ jipu-che [jeep-vehicle] ‘jeep’, ifft fei-cheng
[Phi(ladelphia)-city] ‘Philadelphia’, fo-zhou [Flo(rida)-state] ‘Florida’, Hij'fj ao-zhou
[Au(stralia)-continent] ‘Australia’.
(2) V1-N2 N
An endocentric V-N compound is also a noun. The semantic structures contain
the following types:
Action-Location (‘N2 is the place for doing VI’): xue-xiao [study-
(comparative field)] ‘school’, %CÉÍ jiao-shi [teaching-room] ‘classroom’ yi-yuan
[(medical treat)-yard] ‘hospital’, dao-chu [reach/arrive-place] ‘everywhere’.
Action-Actor (‘N2 is the person or object doing VI’): JPdr hu-shi [(take care)-
person] ‘nurse’, ÍYÍBA (jie-shao)-ren [introduce-person] ‘introducer’, ¿¡]%U] dong-wu
[move-object] ‘animal’, fei-ji [fly-machine] ‘airplane’.
Action-Receiver (‘N2 is manipulated by action VI’): kao-ya [roast-duck]
‘roast duck’, pao-cai [soak-vegetable] ‘pickled vegetable, pickles’, fe!?® chao-mian
[fry-noodle] ‘fried noodles’, chan-pin [produce-thing] ‘product’.

118
(3) Nl-N2^ N or Vl-N2^ N
Some semantic types of nominal endocentric compounds can be either N-N or V-
N structure. They are listed as follows:
Goal-Instrument (‘N2 is an instrument for N1 or for doing VI’): cha-bei
[tea-cup] ‘tea cup’, JEM hua-ping [flower-bottle] ‘vase’; you-piao [post-ticket]
‘postage stamp’, Í¡b¡]% tang-yi [lie-chair] ‘reclining chair’, du-wu [read-material]
‘reading material’. In this semantic type, the second morpheme can also be a nominalized
verb: xin-feng [letter-seal (sealer)] ‘envelope’, qiu-pai [ball-pat (bat)] ‘bat;
racket’, shou-tao [hand-cove (cover)] ‘gloves; mittens’, shu-bao [book-wrap
(bag)] ‘book bag’.
Result-Cause (‘N2 is the object that causes N1 or does VI’): bing-jun
[disease-bacterium] ‘germs’, xiao-hua [laugh-speech] ‘joke’, xiao-qi [laugh-
gas] ‘laughing gas; nitrous oxide’. Compounds of this sort are few in number and they are
not usually productive
(4) N1-A->N
A few nominal compounds have an N-A structure, and their semantic type is
always Object-Feature (‘Nl has the feature of A’): bing-gan [cake-dry] ‘dry
cake-^ cookie’, ^ |=3 dan-bai [egg-white] ‘egg white’, HfJt dan-hnang [egg-yellow]
‘yolk’.
(5) Varied Structure
In some semantic types like Method-Action, Comparant-Compared, and Feature-
Described, the syntactic category of components varies. Each component can be a noun,
a verb, an adjective or even an adverb. Mostly, the syntactic feature of such a compound

119
is the same as the second component, and its meaning can be derived by the components
and structure; but sometimes, the compound is less typical and more lexicalized, and the
syntactic category of the compound is different from the head-component The meaning
of a lexicalized compound may be more abstract and cannot be derived directly from its
components. Thus, such a compound is better to be treated as a whole unit in word
teaching and learning.
Method-Action (Nl/Vl/ADVl-V2-> V or N)
Mostly, such compounds are verbs with the meaning of ‘action V2 is done by the
way of X (N, V) or in some degree/state of X (Adv.)’. E g.: Pií kou-shi [mouth-test]
‘oral test’, yan-qing [banquet-invite] ‘to treat with banquet’, qian-jin [front-
march] ‘to march forward’, xiang-jian [mutual-see] ‘to see/meet with each other’,
zai-jian [again-see] ‘bye, see-you-again’, zai-hun [again-marry] ‘remarry’,
ífétlf pao-shou [throw-sell] ‘to sell in big quantities’. A few such compounds are nouns
with a nominalized meaning: lin-ju [near-live] ‘neighbor’, zong-tong [total-
control] ‘president (of a nation)’, £ hui-yi [meet-talk] ‘meeting, conference’.
Comparant-Compared (N1/V1-N2/V2/A2 N/V/A)
Such compounds have the meaning of ‘a state/object/action like X (Nlor VI)’.
For example: a) N1-N2 -> N: ¡?K$Í bing-tang [ice-candy/sugar] ‘crystal sugar; rock
candy’, c ganlan-qiu [olive-ball] ‘American football’; b) Nl-V2-> V: lin-li
[woods-stand] ‘stand in great numbers’, niao-kan [bird-look] ‘to get a bird’s-eye
view’; and c) Vl/N2-A2-> A: !$,'[& fei-kuai [fly-fast] ‘as fast as flying, very fast’,
jin-huang [gold-yellow] ‘golden yellow’, =iÉ3 x;/e-bai [snow-white] ‘as-white-as-snow’.

120
Feature-Described (A1-N2/V2/A2 -> N/V/A)
In this semantic type, the first root A1 is always an adjective which describes a
feature, and the second one is an object/concept, an action or a state which is
described/modified by Al. Eg.: a) A1-N2 -> N or A: AA da-yi [large-clothes]
‘overcoat’, kuai-che [fast-vehicle] ‘express train/bus’, re-xing [hot-heart]
‘enthusiastic, warmhearted’, (£1$. di-ji [low-degree] ‘elementary, vulgar, low’; b) Al-
V2-> V, A or N: BbTK an-shi [dark-show] ‘hint’, MA shen-ru [deep-enter] ‘go deep
into; penetrate into’, iE3?|j chi-dao [late-arrive] ‘to arrive late’, nan-kan [hard-look]
‘ugly; shameful’, £fPfc, hao-chi [good-eat] ‘delicious, tasty’, 01® xin-wen [new-hear]
‘news’, leng-ying [cold-drink] ‘cold drink/beverage’, ífcEh ruan-wo [soft-lie] ‘soft
berth’; and c) Al-A2-> A: xian-hong [bright-red] ‘bright-red’, WM. shen-lan [deep-
blue] ‘dark-blue’, T'jfciff dan-huang [light-yellow] ‘light-yellow’.
In modern Chinese, about 80.6% of the nominal compounds are endocentric
(modifier-head) compounds (Yuan and Huang 1998). Mostly, the syntactic category of
such a compound is the same as its head, which is the right-side component. Such general
facts can be very useful for L2 learners to understand new words which are endocentric
compounds. Moreover, nearly all of the semantic types listed above also appear in other
languages like English. For example, wooden-table (Material-Object), Sunday-school
(Time-Object), spoon-handle (Specific-Category), study-room (Action-Location), coast-
road (Location-Object), bookstore (Aim-Place), pie-tin (Goal-Instrument), running-dog
(Action-Actor), roast-duck (Action-Object), supermarket (Feature-Described), pan-fry
(Method-Action), cherry-tomato (Comparant-Compared), football (Method-Object), egg-
white (Object-Feature). Thus, L2 learners of Chinese do not have to memorize these

121
types one by one but just directly transfer their first language knowledge to help them infer
the meanings of unfamiliar endocentric compounds. Only the compounds of the Feature-
Described semantic type need more attention because the structure of such compounds are
varied and the meanings may have been fossilized, i.e. they are very close to lexical items
In an adverbial compound, the category of the morphemes can be adverb-verb as
in lllin geng-jia [more-add] ‘even more’, verb-noun as in 'ÍlM li-ke [stand-time] ‘at
once’, adverb-adjective as in bu-bi [not-must/necessary] ‘do not have to’, and
number-verb/adjective as in —£ yi-gong [one-all] ‘total, totally’, —yi-qi [one-up]
‘together’. Adverbial compounds are few in number and are not productive Their
meanings are lexicalized and are not the sum of the meaning of their components. L2
learners must learn them in context and memorize them as undecomposable lexical items
6.2.2 Exocentric Compounds
In an exocentric compound, none of the components can be a head. The meaning
of the compound is a meaning composition of its components or is lexicalized The
resulting category of such compounds can be a noun, an action verb, an adjective or an
adverb. The combination of the roots can be N(A, V), A(N, V), V(N, A), W, or AA.
The syntactic pattern of such a compound is Subject-Predicate, Predicate-Object, or
Predicate-Complement. The semantic types are discussed in the following.
A. Subject-Predicate
(1) Subject-State (N1-A2^A)
The two components in such compounds are like subject and predicate, and the
subject is a nominal root and the predicate is a state verb (an adjective). Mostly the
compound is also a state verb (adjective), and the meaning may be the composition of the

122
two components or a metaphor. For example: [=]A zi-da [self-big] ‘self-important,
arrogant’, nian-qing [age-light] ‘young’, BH£l yan-hong [eye-red] ‘covet; be
envious; be jealous’, tou-tong [head-pain] ‘headache’.
(2) Actor-Action (Nl-V2^ V, N or A)
This one is similar to the first pattern, but the predicate is an action verb. Most of
such compounds are verbs which may also be used as nouns, a few of them are only used
as adjectives. Eg.: min-zhu [people-direct] ‘people-govern; democracy;
democratic’, di-zhen [earth-shake] ‘earthquake’, ÉI '(n zi-zhi [self-govern]
‘autonomy; autonomous’, shen-wang [spirit-go] ‘be charmed, be enchanted’, [eJz^J
zi-dong [self-move] ‘automatic’, Aia ren-zao [man-make] ‘man-made; artificial’.
B. Predicate-Object
(3) State-Object (Al-N2^ A)
Usually, such compounds are adjectives which can be used as predicates in
sentences. For example, áffl'O xi-xiti [fine-heart] ‘careful’, man-yi [full/filled-feeling]
‘satisfied’, hi zhun-shi [accurate-time] ‘punctual; on time’, kong-qian [empty-
front] ‘unprecedented’. A few of such compounds are only used as action verbs, such as
gan-bei [dry-cup] ‘to make the cup dry-> to drink a toast/bottom-up’.
(4) Action-Object (Vl-N2^ V, N or A)
This pattern is also termed Verb-Object. Most of such compounds are verbs with
the meaning of ‘to do the action of Vl-ing N2’, but some are nouns or adjectives (state
verbs). Eg.: bao-ming [report-name] ‘to sign up’, du-shu [read-book] ‘to
study’, ban-gong [do-business] ‘to work, to do official business’, § tan-hua
[talk-speech] ‘to talk’; guan-jia [manage-home] ‘to keep house; house-keeping; a

123
butler’, IfJfA si-ji [manage-machine] ‘driver’, fu-shou [support-hand] ‘handrail;
armrest’; Pjfl|§ ting-hua [listen-to-words] ‘be obedient; to listen to someone’, WC'L'fang-
xin [put-down-heart] ‘feel relieved; be at ease’, bao-qian [carry-sorry] ‘be sorry; feel
apologetic; regret’.
(5) Action-Instrument (V1-N2 -> V, ‘to do VI with N2’): tjff' da-zhen [hit-
needle] ‘to inject; to give an injection’, tiao-sheng [jump-rope] ‘rope skip; rope
skipping’, jfj] kai-dao [open-knife] ‘to perform or have an operation/surgery’.
(6) Action-Location (V1-N2->V, ‘Action VI is at/toward/from N2’):
hua-bing [slide-ice] ‘to skate; ice-skating’, j3:[^ zhu-yuan [state-hospital] ‘to be in
hospital’, qi-chuang [rise-bed] ‘to get up from bed’, _h# shang-xue [up-school]
‘go to school’.
A rule that L2 learners should know and must pay attention to: a verbal Predicate-
Object (V/A-N) compound is usually an intransitive verb, and the two components can be
separated by an aspectual particle, measure word or any other type of word/phrase. In a
sentence, if there is another object, it has to be the object of a preposition and is located
before the compound. For instance: M7 7t bao-le ming [report-LE name] ‘have signed
up’, 1ST—shui-le yi da jiao [sleep-LE one big sleeping] ‘to have a good sleep’,
gen ta jie-hun [with her tie-marriage] ‘to marry her’. Since the components of
such compounds can be separated in sentences, these compounds are also called “free-
bound words (r^S'n F'J li-he-ci)”. Semantically, they are words and are basic meaningful
expressions; syntactically, they are more like phrases. Some such verbs which are not
Predicate-Object compounds may also be treated as one by insertions between the
components. For example, youmo ‘humorous, humor’ —MR you ta yi mo

124
[YOU him one MO] ‘to make a fun of him’. Only a few Predicate-Object verbs like '&M.
zhu-yi [fill-mind] ‘to pay attention to’, $Oll' fang-xm [putdown-heart] ‘to feel relieved’,
dan-zin [take-heart] ‘to worry about’, guan-xin [involve-heart] ‘be concerned
«
with’, in which the second components are usually something about mind, can be used
transitively to have an object directly after them in a sentence. For instance: iklS'ftli zhu-
yi ta [fill-mind he] ‘watch out on him’. However, even among these compounds, the two
components are not always tightly bound. The degree of closeness between the V and N
varies in different usages, and an insertion is also possible in some instances: ££ & m zhu
dian yi [fill little mind] ‘to pay a little attention’, Jjfc fa fa 'll' fang bu xia xin [put not
down heart] ‘cannot be relieved’, Ü ^ fa 'll' dan bu shao xin [take not few heart] ‘to
worry about very much’, — fa 'll' guan yi-xia xin [involve one heart] ‘be concerned
with for a while’.
C. Verb-Complement
(7) Action/State-Result (A1/V1-A2/V2-» V)
Chinese simple verbs (action verbs and state verbs) usually are non-perfective
aspect and only mean ‘try to do V’ or ‘try to cause a state’, and they do not tell about the
result. Thus, another component is usually attached to a verb to tell about the result of the
action. For example, chi-wan [eat-finish] ‘to finish eating’, ^fjAl kan-jian [look-
appear] ‘to see’, gou-cheng [construct-become] ‘to form as’, gai-wei [change-
become] ‘to change into’. The structure of such compounds may be the combination of
V1-A2, A1-V2, V1-V2 or A1-A2. Thus, such compounds are also termed resultative V-
V compounds, in which the two components are verbs (action or state verbs/adjectives).
This pattern is quite unique in modem Chinese and is highly productive As the

125
compounds of this pattern have special meanings and grammatical functions in sentences
and they sometimes are ambiguous, many studies have discussed them. Most of the
studies, however, were done in the framework of the Government-Binding theory, such as
Li 1990, Gu 1992, and Zou 1994. They merely focus on the syntactic problems of such
compounds and try to explain the sentences containing them by the Theta-role Theory and
the Causative Theory. They all ignore the semantic features of different resultative
compounds. Nor do they notice that the thematic and causative roles of the arguments in
a sentence are always decided by the meaning of a resultative compound and its
components in the sentence. As a result, despite their contribution to syntactic theory,
they can hardly be applied in the vocabulary pedagogy of CFL/CSL. To be more
practical, we have formulated the following rules (a)-(d) to help L2 learners interpret the
meaning of a sentence containing an Action/State-Result compound.
a. When a V1-A2 (Action-State) compound is used in a sentence with subject X
and object Y, the sentence meaning is: ‘X do(es) action of Vl-ing and causes Y to be in
the state of A2\
E g. ^ PH JfeJUT Sk % Lisi ran-hei-le tou-fa.
Lisi dve-black-ASP hair ‘Lisi dyed his hair black.’
I.e. Lisi did the action of dying and his hair became black.
If A2 (the state verb) must apply to an animate argument but the object NP is
inanimate, then the state of A2 will be interpreted as pertaining to the subject rather than
to the object. As a result, the sentence is interpreted as ‘X do(es) the action of Vl-ing Y,
and X get(s) to be in the state of A2\

126
E g. H EEJÉLT tS Zhangsan chi-bao-le fan.
Zhangsan eat-full-ASP meal
‘Zhangsan has eaten the meal and got to be full.’
I.e. Zhangsan did the action of eating a meal and he became full.
b. When an A1-V2 (State-Action) compound appears in a sentence with both
subject X and object Y, the sentence is interpreted as ‘X causes Y to be in the state of Al,
and as a result Y do(es) the action of V2.’
E.g. #, flJÉÜT M i§r Ta qi-pao-le gu-ke.
He upset-run-ASP customers ‘He upset the customers and they left.’
I.e. he caused the customers to be upset and they left.
c. In a sentence with a VI-V2 (Action-Action) Compound, if the subject X is the
agent of VI, the object Y is the patient of VI and the agent of V2, then the sentence is
interpreted as ‘X do(es) the action of VI and cause(s) Y to do the action of V2’.
E g. *?I£H. ffijiflT Zhangsan gan-zou-le Lisi.
Zhangsan drive-go-ASP Lisi ‘Zhangsan kicked Lisi out.’
I.e. Zhangsan did the action of “kick” and caused Lisi to do the action of going
away.
d. When an A1-A2 (State-State) compound is used, the sentence means ‘subject
X cause(s) object Y to be in the state of Al, and as a result Y gets into the state of A2’.
E.g. MM7 Fan-zhong de iia-wu lei-bing-le mu-qin.
Heavy DE housework tire-sick-ASP mother
‘The heavy housework made mother tired sick.’
I.e. the heavy housework caused “mother” to be tired, and as a result, she got sick.
The four rules above can be further generalized 1) if VI is an action verb, then the
subject of the sentence is the agent of the action, and either the subject or the object of the
sentence will be in the state of A2 (Rule a) or do the action V2 (Rule b); 2) if the first

127
component is an adjective (state verb), then the subject causes the object to be in the state
of Al, and as a result, the object does the action of V2 (Rule c) or gets into the state of
A2 (Rule d).
These rules should be very useful to L2 learners who have acquired a knowledge
of participant roles: in a non-passive sentence, the subject is usually the doer of an action
or the causer of a changed state, the object is the recipient of the action or is caused to be
in a changed state. The same applies to a Chinese sentence with an Action/State-Result
compound. What L2 learners should know additionally is whether the result (the second
component A2 or V2) applies to the subject or to the object. A simple rule of thumb
solves the problem quite easily: V2 always pertains to the object, but A2 may pertain to
the subject when it is not compatible with the object. For example, in classroom
instruction, a simple sentence with one verb can be provided first:
% T "flii Wo qi-le ta. [I angry-ASP he] ‘I upset him.’
Students can understand this sentence without problems: the subject caused the object to
be upset. Then a resultative component is added:
fie j£7 ftti Wo qi-zuo-le ía. [I angry-go-ASP he]
T made him angry and (as the result) he left ’
This time, L2 learners only need to pay attention to the added verb. It is an action verb,
therefore, the result applies to the object: the object jtli ta ‘he’ did the action of M zou
‘going’.
In all the exocentric compounds discussed above, Subject-State and State-Object
compounds are usually adjectives (state verbs), Action-Object, Action-Location and
Action/State-Result compounds are verbs (action verbs). Actor-Action compounds may

128
be adjectives or nouns, but most of them are verbs. Most exocentric compounds are at
the border between morphology and syntax, that is: their internal structures are the same
as those of corresponding phrases and are syntactically analyzable
In modern Chinese, adverbs may also be exocentric compounds. The combination
of the two components can be Action-Actor (N-V) (e g. SHH yan-kan [eye-look]
‘helplessly’), Action-Location (V-N) (eg. S]/j£ dao-di [reach-bottom] ‘after all’), and
P(preposition)-V (e g. cong-lai [from-come] ‘always’). Since the number of such
adverbs are few and the meanings of many adverbs are lexicalized, they are better treated
as whole lexical items in CSL/CFL teaching and learning. Decomposing analysis is not
very necessary.
6.2.3 Parallel Compounds
In parallel compounds, the two components are either synonyms or antonyms, and
their syntactic relationship is coordination. Such compounds can be nouns, verbs,
adjective, adverbs and prepositions. The combinations can be N1-N2, VI-V2, A1-A2, P
(preposition) 1-P2, and ADV(adverb)l-ADV2. If the two components are synonyms, the
compound meaning usually equals the meaning of any one component, but sometimes the
syntactic category is changed; if the components are antonyms or refer to different things,
the compound meaning is usually the sum of the two components, but sometimes, it only
has the meaning of one components or the syntactic category is changed
(I) Compound Meaning = Rootl or Root2
a. Nl-N2-> N: hai-yang [sea-ocean] ‘ocean’, i)$Tfj cheng-shi [city-city]
‘city’, JL.J! er-tong [child-kid] ‘children, kids’.

129
b. V1-V2-^V, or V & N: bang-zhu [help-help] ‘to help’, ^$3, ben-pao
[run-run] ‘to run’; kao-shi [exam-test] ‘to have a test/exam; test, exam’,
ai-hao [love-like] ‘to like; hobby’.
c. Vl-V2-> N: jiao-shou [teach-give] ‘professor’, £UiR zhi-shi [know-
know] ‘knowledge’, ^|n] xue-wen [leam-ask] ‘learning, knowledge’, 'ii'%
xing-wei [act-do] ‘action’.
d. Vl-V2-> V or A: {?!$kyong-yue [jump-jump] ‘to leap; eagerly, enthusiastic’,
bao-shou [protect-guard] ‘to keep; conservative’, jff IS kai-tong [open-
open] ‘to open; open minded’.
e. Al-A2-> A, or A or N: an-jing [peace-quiet] ‘quiet’, xi-huan
[happy-glad] ‘like’, wei-xian [dangerous-dangerous] ‘dangerous;
danger’, Hffa hei-an [black-dark] ‘dark; darkness’.
f. Al-A2-> V: po-huai [broken-bad] ‘to damage, to destroy, to break’,
jailr wei-hai [dangerous-harm] ‘to harm’.
g. Pl-P2-> P: zi-cong [from-from] ‘since (for “time”)’.
h. ADVl-ADV2-> ADV: P'jijyj' gang-cai [just-just] ‘just now, a moment ago’.
i. Al-A2-^ ADV: fftWi shao-wei [bit-bit] ‘a little bit’.
j. Vl-V2-> P or ADV: an-zhao [accord-toward] ‘according to’, S'tfl
kong-pa [afraid-afraid] ‘afraid, perhaps, probably’.
(2) Compound Meaning = Rootl + Root2
a. Nl-N2-> N, or N & V/A: fu-mu [father-mother] ‘parents’, # ft sui-yue
[year-month] ‘time’, tflJLl jiang-shan [river-mountain] ‘land; country’,
mao-dun [spear-shield] ‘contradiction, problem; contradictory’.

130
b. VI-V2-^ V & N: hu-xi [exhale-inhale] ‘breathe’, wang-lai [go-
come] ‘come and go, contact’, sheng-jiang [rise-fall] ‘go up and down’.
c. Vl-V2-^ N: JFA kai-guan [open-close] ‘switch’.
d. Al-A2-> N: A/Js da-xiao [big-small] ‘size’, rtjM gao-ai [tall-low] ‘height’,
KM chang-duan [long-short] ‘length’, Hf=l hei-bai [black-white] ‘black-and-
white, right and wrong’, KK shi-fei [right-wrong] ‘right and wrong’.
(3) Compound Meaning = Rootl
Some parallel compounds just have the meanings of their first components, and the
meanings of the second components have been lost. Most such compounds are nouns.
a. Compound = Nl: guo-jia [country-family] ‘country’, MM jia-ting
[family-yard] ‘family’, chuang-hu [window-door] ‘window’, zhi-
liang [quality-quantity] ‘quality’, shi-qing [things-feeling] ‘things’,
ren-wu [person-thing] ‘person’, ycm-jing [eye-eyeball] ‘eye’.
b. Compound = VI: wang-ji [forget-remember] ‘forget’.
c. Compound = Al: jin-zhang [tight-expand] ‘nervous, tense’.
(4) Compound Meaning = Root 2
Contrary to Pattern (3), some parallel compounds only have the meanings of their
second components.
a. Compound = N2: JñL?i§ xiong-di [(elder-brother)-(younger-brother)] ‘younger
brother’, Mili feng-jing [custom-scene] ‘scenery’.
b. Compound = V2: fTM da-suan [hit-calculate] ‘to plan’, ÍTÍ3 da-sao [hit-
sweep] ‘to sweep’, fTÍ# da-ban [hit-makeup] ‘to makeup’.

131
c. Compound = A2: gan-jing [dry-clean] ‘clean’.
Generally, most of the parallel compounds have the same syntactic categories as
their components do. An exception is the case where adjective antonyms form a
compound and the result is a noun. Parallel compounds in which the two components are
antonyms are also used to produce quadri-syllabic idiomatically fixed expressions. For
instance, gn-jin-zhotig-wai [ancient-modern-China-foreign] ‘(from) ancient (to)
modem, and (from) China (to) other countries’, sheng-si-cun-wang [alive-die-
exist-deceased] ‘to live or die; life-and-death’.
6.2.4 Complex Compounds
Complex compounds are words containing two or more compounded types Most
of them are nouns in Chinese. For instance: til A ji-qi-ren [(machine-machine)-
person] ‘robot’ (parallel-endocentric), xi-chen-qi [(suck-dust)-machine] ‘vacuum
cleaner’ (exocentric-endocentric), dian-bing-xiang [electric-(ice-box)]
‘refrigerator’ (endocentric-endocentric), AfU gong-yong-dian-hua [(public-use)-
(electric-speech)] ‘public telephone, pay phone’ ({exocentric-endocentric}-endocentric),
chang-tu-qi-che [(long-way)-(gas-vehicle)] ‘long-distance bus’ ({endocentric-
endocentric }-endocentric). Mostly, the meanings of complex compounds are the
compositions of their components. Thus, L2 learners can understand such compounds
easily if the three basic types of Chinese compounds are made familiar to them. One
problem for L2 learners of Chinese is that they must learn how to recognize the word
boundary of complex compounds within a context. One important judgment is that no
other words can be inserted into such compounds. For example, gong-yong-

132
dian-hua ‘pay phone’ is a compound, but gong-yong de dian-huan [(public-
use) DE (electric-speech)] ‘a phone shared by some people (e g. in an office)’ is a phrase.
6,3 Productive Types of Chinese Compounds
As shown above, the structure patterns of Chinese compounds are many and
complex. Some of them are productive, others are not. Of the productive ones, not all
are equal in their productiveness. Through the productive patterns, new compounds are
derived every day in Chinese people’s lives, and the meanings of the new words can be
inferred through contexts and word structure. While the end product may merely be
trendy terms, which are likely to be ephemeral and not significant in language pedagogy;
the process itself forms an important part of language acquisition strategy, which will be
useful at all times
The most productive patterns of Chinese compounds are endocentric compounds
(except for the Object-Feature type) and exocentric compounds of the Action-Object,
Action-Location or Action-Result semantic types. For example: dian-ba [electric-
bus] ‘electric bus (without cables outside)’ (Material-Object), lou-shi [building-
market] ‘real-estate market’(Specific-Category), dong-diao [winter-fishing] ‘to fish
(with a hook) on ice’ (Time-Action), qi-you [ride-travel] ‘to travel by bicycles’
(Method-Action), kong-sao [space-(sister-in-law)] ‘airline-hostess (not very young
and married)’(Location-Object), if’-!]1 hu-ge [nurse-brother] ‘male nurse in a nursing
home’(Action-Actor), re-xiao [hot-sell] ‘sell well’ (Feature-Described); pao-
ba [soak-bar] ‘to dawdle in a pub’ (Action-Location), 'j^jS cao-gu [fry-stock] ‘speculate
in stocks’ (Action-Object), qi-dong [set-move] ‘to set up/to start (a program)’

133
(Action-Result). There are also a few parallel compounds in which the two components
are synonyms: fa-mo [fine-confiscate] ‘to confiscate, to fine’, Mill'] licmg-li [pretty-
beautiful] ‘pretty, beautiful’, •jffff ting-sheng [rise-raise] ‘(market price) rise up
(strongly)’. Many new words are also complex compounds. For instance: 0
shnang-xiu-ri [double-(rest-day)] ‘two-day weekend’ fa-shao-you [(rise-fever)-
friend) ‘a fanatic fan (of sports, movies, music, etc.)’, xin-xin-ren-lei [new-
(new-(people-race))] ‘the new new-generation, the youngest generation (in modern
society)’. Some of those new words may look like abbreviations, but they do not have full
forms. For instance, NILE dian-ba [electric-bus] ‘electric bus (without cables outside)’,
dong-diao [winter-fishing] ‘to fish (with a hook) on ice’. A few of them are old
words but are used for new meanings, such as qi-dong [set-move] ‘to start (a
matching) to set up (a program)’; bao-zhuang [wrap-pack] ‘to pack (goods) ->
to design and makeup the appearance of a music star’.
6.4 Morphological Features
Since Chinese compounds are rich and complex, they have attracted a lot of
attention in Chinese morphological and syntactic research. For example, as mentioned in
Section 5.1.2, some previous studies have discussed whether the syntactic structure of
Chinese compounds is the same as sentence/phrase structure (e g. Ross 1985; Dai 1992,
1994; Liu 1990b; Tang 1994), whether Chinese compounds are level governed (Packard
1990, Sproat & Shih 1993), and whether Chinese compounds are right headed (Packard
1990, Starosta etc. 1998, Huang 1998). Since all the patterns of Chinese compounds have
been listed in this chapter, a discussion of their morphological features is in order here

134
6.4.1 Compound Structure and Phrase Structure
Chao (1968) states that in Chinese “most compounds are syntactic and only the
relatively few cases of obscure relationships between the parts in compounds can be
considered asyntactic” (p. 366). Tang (1994) argues that, in Chinese, word syntax and
sentence syntax are one and the same. He analyzes compound verbs and their parallel
syntactic constructions in Chinese and claims that both are “licensed by the same principles
and parameters of universal grammar” (p. 523). The reason Tang gives is that the internal
and external functions of Chinese compound verbs are the same as that of Chinese
sentences.
Are Chinese compounds truly governed by sentence syntax? From the patterns
and examples of Chinese compounds presented in this chapter, the relationships between
compounds and phrases can be seen more clearly.
It has been shown in this study that the internal structures of Chinese compounds
are Modifier-Head, Subject-Predicate, Predicate-Object, Predicate-Complement, and
Coordination. Each pattern is parallel to a syntactic construction of the Chinese sentence.
Thus, it is true that the internal structures of Chinese compounds and that of the sentence
are the same. It is also mentioned in section 6.2.2 that most Predicate-Object compounds
can only serve as intransitive verbs. These compounds cannot take an object NP after
them in a sentence because the verbal component has already assigned an object case to
the nominal component. This follows the Theta-theory: a theta-role is assigned to one
and only one argument. Thus, to some degree, the external functions of Chinese
compounds are also governed by the principles of sentence syntax. Nevertheless,
compounds are not equivalent to phrases. First, the meaning of a phrase is the

135
composition of its constituents, but the meaning of a compound may not. Second, a
phrase structure is not tightly bound, in the sense that other words or constituents can be
inserted into it. But a typical compound is a meaningful whole and usually does not allow
insertion within its boundary without losing its integrity. Third, compounds are words,
and their syntactic structures are not always head-governed or level ordered as phrase
structures are even when the structural patterns are similar (to be discussed in the next
section in detail). Fourth and finally, compounds have a constraint on the number of
syllables: A typical compound usually does not contain more than three syllables; but a
phrase does not have such a constraint. However, as mentioned at the beginning of this
chapter, there is not a clear-cut division between Chinese phrases and compounds. Some
compounds, of which the meanings are lexicalized and the structure is bound, are more
typical of words; but some, such as Predicate-Object verbs which allow insertions
(discussed in section 6.2.2) are more like phrases.
4 »
Typical Predicate-Object Typical
Compound Verbs Phrase
Figure 6.1. Scopes of Chinese Compounds and Phrases
Figure 6.1 above shows that the domains of compounds and phrases overlap, and
that some constructions in Chinese have features of both compounds and phrases.

136
6.4.2 Chinese Compounds and the Right-hand Head Rule (RHR)
The term “head” in morphology is borrowed from the theory of phrase structure,
the X-bar theory in Chomsky’s Government-Binding (GB) syntactic theory. A phrase can
be analyzed as a level structure, and the X syntactic category is the head of the phrase:
a) Phrase X”-» Spec, X’; b) X’-> X, (YP) (ZP)
Williams (1981) applies X-bar theory to word structure and argues that we should
regard the verb root stand as the head of withstand, and its features will also percolate up
to the dominating node giving the complex verb withstand. He farther claims that all
words are headed, and that the head is the right-most morpheme of the construction This
statement is known as the Right-hand Head Rule (RHR).
However, many counterexamples to the RHR have been found in different
languages, implying that the rule may only be language-specific. For example, Lieber
(1980) claims that in Vietnamese all compounds are left-headed, e g. nha thuong
[establishment be-wounded] ‘hospital’. In spite of the counter-evidence, ‘head’ and X-bar
theory are widely accepted in word analysis. Lieber (1992) claims that there are no
morphological rules, and all morphological structures are head-structured and can be
explained by syntactic principles. Hacken (1994) also argues that all compounds are head
compounds, “H(head)-compounding is equal to compounding”(p. 136). With regard to
word formation in Mandarin Chinese, Packard (1990) and Starosta et al. (1998) also claim
that Chinese compounds are right-hand headed. By checking through all the patterns of
Chinese compounds presented so far, however, this study finds that not all Chinese
compounds are right-hand headed and not all of them are even headed.

137
As shown in Section 6.2.1, it is true that most Chinese endocentric (Modifier-
Head) compounds are right-hand headed. That is, the syntactic features of such
compounds are the same as those of their right-hand components. If the right-hand
component is a noun, the compound is also a noun; if the component is a verb, an
adjective or an adverb, the compound is also a verb, an adjective or an adverb
respectively. Despite this general tendency, there are still a few endocentric compounds
that are not headed, and the syntactic features of the compounds are not the same as any
of their components. For instance: IPtPII xin-wen [new-hear] ‘news’, leng-ying
[cold-drink] ‘cold drink/beverage’, /J^ xiao-chi [little-eat] ‘dim sum, snack’, and ífcÉb
ruan-wo [soft-lie] ‘soft berth’ are all nouns, but their components are adjectives or verbs;
& i$L hui-yi [meet-talk] ‘meeting, conference’ is also a noun, but both its components are
verbs. Moreover, as shown in Section 6.2.1, the Object-Feature semantic type of Chinese
endocentric compounds are left-hand headed, and the syntactic features of such
compounds are the same as their left-hand components.
In Chinese exocentric compounds, the Subject-State pattern is right-hand headed
But the Actor-Action pattern is more complex. Some of its compounds are also right-
hand headed, but some other, such as shen-wang [spirit-go] ‘be charmed, be
enchanted’ and É3 2j] zi-dong [self-move] ‘automatic’, do not have a syntactic head
because the syntactic features of the compounds are different from those of their
components. The patterns of State-Object and Action-Location are both left-hand
headed. Many Action-Object compounds (i.e. V1-N2 V) are also left-hand headed, but
some of them (i.e. V1-N2 N/A) are unheaded. Action/State-Result compounds may
also be treated as having a left-hand headed structure.

138
Parallel compounds can be regarded as headless ones, because the two
components in such compounds are coordinate and have the same syntactic features. In
general, the syntactic features of such a compound is the same as those of either one of its
roots. But in a few cases, the syntactic category is different from both its components
(e g. V1-V2 -> N, A1-A2 -> N).
Lieber (1992) and Hacken (1994) treat exocentric and parallel/coordinate
compounding either as derivations with an empty (zero) affix or as lexemes listed in the
lexicon. With regard to Chinese word formulation, their treatment will cause problems.
First, if Chinese Modifier-Head words are compounds, there is no reason to
exclude exocentric and parallel structure words as compounds, since all of them are also
Root-Root combinations. Second, if compounds which are not right-hand headed are
derivations with an empty affix, it cannot be explained 1) why different syntactic features
of different compounds are all marked by an empty or zero affix, and 2) how an
empty/zero affix can tell what syntactic features a compound should have. Third, if
exocentric and parallel compounds are lexemes, these two patterns should be
undecomposeable, and thus, unproductive. In fact, Chinese exocentric and parallel
compounds can be easily decomposed, and Section 6.3 of this study shows that Action-
Object, Action-Location and Action-Result patterns of the exocentric compounds are
some of the most productive patterns in Chinese. Moreover, as shown by the examples in
Section 6.2.2, the meanings of many exocentric compounds can also be derived from their
components and are not as highly lexicalized as typical lexemes.
According to the statistics of Huang (1998), in Mandarin disyllabic compounds,
about 89.7% of nouns, 57.8% of verbs and 62.7% of adjectives are right-hand headed.

139
All the others are either left-hand headed or headless. Therefore, the RHR cannot apply
to Chinese compounds.
The above discussion, however, does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that no
generalizations can be derived from the facts about the structure of Chinese compounds.
In fact, there are general tendencies for Chinese compounds. Modifier-Head and Subject-
Predicate compounds tend to be right-hand headed, Predicate-Object and Predicate-
Complement compounds tend to be left-hand headed. Coordinate (Parallel) compounds
are a non-issue, since it does not matter whether they are recognized as left-head or right-
hand headed. These tendencies exactly match the syntactic structures of Chinese phrases.
The difference is, as presented above, that in each compound structure pattern, there are
some headless compounds. They are not head-governed, and their syntactic features are
not percolated from their components. Thus, such compounds cannot be analyzed as
level-ordered as phrase structures are, and thus are not governed by the theory of sentence
syntax (e g. X-bar theory and Case theory). Therefore, the external functions of Chinese
compounds are not as straightforward as Tang (1994) claims them to be, i.e. governed by
syntactic principles. What can be said is that although a majority of Chinese compounds
are headed and can be explained by the syntactic principles of phrases, there are simply too
many exceptions that cannot be subsumed under those rules. These exceptions deserve
just as much, if not more, attention in theoretical as well as practical studies. All this
constitutes a strong reason for presenting the compounds the way we did in Sections 6.1-
6.3.

140
6.5 Conclusion
Chapter Five and the current chapter have presented the types of Chinese words in
detail: mono-morphemic words, reduplications, affixed words and compounds, with
abbreviations as a special type. It has been shown that semantic content, syntactic
function and, if applicable, word formation for each type are all governed by some general
rules. These rules can help L2 learners of Chinese understand the structure of a Chinese
word that leads to its meaning and syntactic function. More detailed conclusions are
provided below:
1. As monomorphemic words cannot be decomposed, each of them has to be
acquired as a whole. A knowledge of character structure and radicals can help
L2 learners of Chinese acquire the words encountered in reading.
2. Reduplications consist of three types: nominal, verbal (action-verb), and
adjective (state-verb). Except for kinship terms, nominal reduplications are
usually formed from monosyllabic measure-words/classifiers and monosyllabic
nouns which can be used as measure-words/classifiers contingently. Such
nominal reduplications always mean ‘every N\ Nominal parallel compounds
N1-N2 (N1 and N2 are antonyms) which refer to locations may also be
reduplicated in an N1N1N2N2 pattern to mean ‘every N1 and N2’ or ‘all of
N1 and N2\ Verbal reduplication VV or V1V2V1V2 (VI and V2 are the two
components of a compound) is reduplicated by monosyllabic action verbs or
disyllabic verbal compounds with a parallel structure. Such reduplication
means ‘try to V’ or ‘V a little’. If a # kan ‘look’ is added at the end, the

141
meaning ‘try to V’ is highlighted. A parallel verbal compound with the
meaning of ‘VI and V2’ (i.e. VI and V2 are not synonyms) can also be
reduplicated as V1V1V2V2 pattern. The meaning is ‘to do VI and V2
repeatedly’. Adjective reduplications are a little complicated. A monosyllabic
adjective can be reduplicated to describe a state or feature vividly. A parallel
compound may be reduplicated as AABB to increase the degree of a state or
feature (when the components A and B are synonyms), or to mean ‘some are A
and some are B (when A and B are antonyms). A Modifier-Head compound
may also be reduplicated as ABAB to increase the degree of a state or a
feature. However, not all of Chinese adjective compounds with a parallel or
endocentric (Modifier-Head) structure can be reduplicated. Moreover, all
Chinese adjective reduplications cannot be modified by degree adverbs.
3. There is a relatively large mumber of affixes in Chinese. a (to form
disyllabic intimate terms), ^ lao (to form disyllabic nouns or to form
colloquial addresses and ranks), % di ‘rank-’, ^ qi ‘its-, that-’, yi ‘from-’,
Éj dang ‘just at-’ are common prefixes which are always attached to nouns,
rtf ke ‘able-’ and d' bu ‘not-, un-’ are common prefixes which are attached to
verbs and adjectives (state verbs). zi (after some monosyllabic nouns,
adjectives and verbs to form disyllabic nouns), JL -r (to add a phonological
ending to some nouns), Sk tou (after some monosyllabic nouns, localizers,
action verbs or state-verbs to form nouns), bk sheng ‘-person, -er’, dr shi ‘-
person, -er’, jjq yuan ‘-person, -er’, ^ zhe ‘-person, -er’, M- jia ‘-ist’, ff] men
‘plural for people in general’, j4 xing ‘-ity, -ness’, and (Hj de ‘possessive

142
marker or nominal marker’ are nominal suffixes which always form nouns, it
hua ‘-ize’ is a derivative verbal suffix. T Is, M zhe, M guo, ilk de, %■ de,
qilai are inflectional verbal suffixes which mark Chinese aspects, and they
have been discussed in many studies of Chinese grammar. PM H is a common
infix which is inserted into a disyllabic derogatory term to form a vivid
reduplication.
4. Chinese abbreviation is a device to shorten long expressions, prototypically, by
keeping the first syllable of words in a nominal phrase, a verbal phrase or a
proper noun. Affixes and verbal or adjectival modifiers in nominal compounds
are not selected to form an abbreviation. Monosyllabic historical names of
provinces and large cities are used as shorter alternatives to refer to an area
covering more than one place.
5. Chinese compounds can be recognized as having three major types:
endocentric, exocentric and parallel compounds. The semantic relationships of
compounding components can be used as an important guidance to reach the
meanings of compounds. The syntactic structures of Chinese compounds are
largely the same as those of Chinese phrases. However, Chinese compounds
and phrases are not one and the same, even though there is no clear-cut
demarcation between them. Prototypical compounds are more lexicalized and
usually cannot have other words inserted into them. Some of them are highly
bound units, their meanings and syntactic features cannot be derived directly
from their components. Less prototypical compounds, however, are more like
phrases. Not only can their internal structures be analyzed by syntactic rules,

143
but also they may even contain insertions of other words or phrases (e g.
Predicate-Object verbs). In Chinese vocabulary pedagogy, highly lexicalized
compounds can be treated as whole units, the others, especially less typical
compounds, should be decomposed and analyzed by general semantic and
syntactic rules.
Since compounds constitute the greater part of Chinese words, they have to be
focused in Chinese vocabulary teaching and learning. As presented and discussed in this
chapter, Chinese compounds contain properties of both words and phrases. Such
properties should be a focus of vocabulary pedagogy. On the one hand, the meanings of
a lot of Chinese compounds can be derived from their components and the semantic
relationships of components, and their internal structure are the same as that of Chinese
phrases. Thus, L2 learners should be trained to analyze the structure and the semantic
pattern of a compound in order to get the meaning and syntactic function of it by
themselves in language exposure. Thus, they can acquire Chinese words more effectively.
On the other hand, a certain number of Chinese compounds may be more lexicalized, and
their meanings and syntactic functions cannot be derived directly and easily from those of
their components. At this time, L2 learners must also adopt enough context information
to infer the meaning of such a compound. A few highly lexicalized compounds are better
learned as a whole as mono-morphemic words. A continuum pedagogy will be discussed
in Chapter Eight.

CHAPTER 7
MEASURES AND LOCALIZERS
In Modern Chinese, when a noun is preceded by a numeral or a demonstrative
pronoun, a measure word (also called “classifier” by some grammarians)1 is needed
immediately in front of the noun. Different nouns are paired with different measure
words. To learn this complex system is a tremendous task for L2 learners in their Chinese
study. The collocation between a noun and a measure word, however, is not decided by
rigid grammar rules but by the semantic features of the particular objects or concepts
represented by the noun. The use of nouns is further complicated by another fact. Except
for intrinsic place-words such as names of places or countries, a common noun can also be
used to denote a location, but it is generally followed by a localizer in such a case. Even
though localizers are required for syntactic reasons rather than for semantic purposes (Chu
1983), the collocation between localizers and their cooccurring nouns is likewise governed
by cognitive semantic features of each particular situation. In this chapter, the general
principles of different measure words and localizers are discussed through the analysis of
their cognitive meanings.
Note: 1. In this study, “classifier” only refers to a word which assigns nouns or verbs to a
specific category by their semantic features or cognitive meanings; “measure word” refers
to any word (including a classifier) directly located between a numeral/demonstrative-
pronoun and a noun or verb to modify an object or a concept (see the following section).
144

145
The guiding theory of our analysis is the five basic claims presented by Langacker
(1988, p. 49-50) about the nature of linguistic meaning:
Thesis A: Meaning reduces to conceptualization (mental experience).
Thesis B: A frequently-used expression typically displays a net-work for
interrelated senses.
Thesis C: Semantic structures are characterized relative to “cognitive domains”.
Thesis D: A semantic structure derives its value through the imposition of a
“profile” (designatum) on a “base”.
Thesis E: Semantic structures incorporate conventional “imagery”, i.e. they
construe a situation in a particular fashion.
This theory points out that linguistic meanings are presented in people’s cognition as
networks which are characterized as categories. Moreover, a category is derived through
some prototypical values, and less prototypical situations are categorized by particular
imageries extended from the central zone. To find the collocational principles between
Chinese measure words or localizers and their nouns is to find the cognitive values and
governing categories of each measure word and each localizer. The cognitive values, as
shown in the following analysis, form a network which is governed by (and defines)
categories.
7.1 Measure Words
Measure words are used in every language for denoting measures such as weight,
distance, value, etc. For instance, “meter”, “gram”, “kilogram”, “liter”, “dollar”, “pound”
are measure words in English The difference is that in Chinese, measure words denote
not only measures but also categories for nouns and verbs. (Verbs in Chinese may also be
described by numerals and measures, though less often than nouns). There are hundreds
of measure words in Modern Chinese, and they can be generalized into five groups: 1)
standard measures, 2) classifiers for nouns, 3) classifiers for verbs, 4) quasi-measures, and

146
5) temporary measures Measures only denote quantities of objects or concepts,
classifiers describe cognitive features of objects or concepts. Some classifiers may mainly
denote quantities or amounts as measures do, but they must also indicate some other
features (such as shape, state, material, etc.) of objects/concepts that simple measures
cannot indicate.
7.1.1 Standard Measures
Standard measures are words which denote length, capacity, weight, area, time,
temperature and currency. For example, gong-li [metric-LI] ‘kilometer’, mi
‘meter’, sheng ‘liter’, fcjrr gong-jin [metric-JIN] ‘kilogram’, M Hang ‘a Chinese unit
equivalent to 50 grams’, ft fen ‘minute; cent’, ÍÜ du ‘degree’, ^3 jiao ‘dime’, JC yuan
‘dollar’. Standard measures in Chinese are a closed set, to which no new words can be
added unless new measures are added in life. Many of them are translated terms of
international measures. Since each of the Chinese standard measures easily corresponds to
a measure in most foreign languages, they are not difficult to learn and do not need any
further discussion.
7.1.2 Classifiers for Nouns
Classifiers for nouns are special measure words which categorize nouns by their
physical or functional-perceptual properties. They are, however, not a unique feature of
Chinese. Classifiers are also used in many other Oriental languages (such as Thai,
Vietnamese, and Japanese), African languages (like Bantu), Australian languages and
some Amerindian languages. Even in English, classifiers are also found, for example, a
loaf of bread, a piece of paper, a head of cabbage, though they are few in number and are
only required for certain nouns. In Chinese, there are many classifiers, and they are

147
required for any noun that is modified by a numeral or a demonstrative pronoun. Different
nouns are collocated with different classifiers. “The relationship between noun and
classifier in classifier languages is typically explicable, but not always predictable without
extensive knowledge of the relevant language” (Allan 1977, p. 294). A few works have
studied Chinese classifiers, but none of them have clearly shown why specific classifiers
only categorize certain nouns. Chao (1968, Section 7.9) lists some common Chinese
classifiers and gives some nouns as examples to go with them. Yet, no detailed
explanations are given for their collocations. Among the researchers, Tai (1994) is the
first one to analyze Chinese classifiers by their cognitive meanings, but his work focuses
on the discussion of general cognitive theories and only a few classifiers (e g. ^ zhi and
Id gen) are analyzed to illustrate theoretical points. For lack of a comprehensive study of
the Chinese classifiers that is readily applicable to CSL/CFL, we will turn to a cognitive
approach for our purpose.
According to the cognitive theory mentioned above, world knowledge comes as
structured information rather than as arbitrary or unpredictable attributes. Items in
structured information appear in people’s cognition as category systems which “provide
maximum information with the least cognitive effort” (Rosch 1978, p. 28). Classifiers
constitute a system that categorizes nouns by perceptual properties. Thus, if the
perceptual properties can be identified, there is a good chance that the collocational
principles of classifiers and nouns may follow naturally.
Allan (1977) claims that classifiers in all languages fall under seven general
categories: material, shape, consistency, size, location, arrangement, and quanta. Tai
(1994) claims that Chinese classifiers can be assigned five categories: animacy, shape,

148
consistency, size, and parts of objects. Wiebusch (1995) argues that “the bipartition
between animacy and inanimacy is not very appropriate for (Chinese) classifiers” (p. 8)
because all Chinese classifiers shared by animals and humans are also used with inanimate
objects. He differentiates Chinese classifiers into three major categories: type
(kind/function), quality (shape/consistency/size), and composition (complexity/part of
set/part of object). In fact, classifiers in Modern Chinese are more complex. All the seven
categories discussed by Allan (1977) occur in Chinese, and there are also others like time,
location and instrument. Many Chinese classifiers are distinguished from each other in
more than one way and can be included in two or more categories. Very often, there is
not a clear-cut boundary between neighboring categories. In this study, the following
categories are proposed for Chinese classifiers: Arrangement, Division, Instrument,
Location, Part of Object, Quality (shape/size/consistency/material), Quanta, Synonym,
Time, and Type. Among them, the concepts of “arrangement”, “location” and “quanta”
are borrowed from Allan (1997), the explanation of “part of object” is the same as in Tai
(1994). All the others are new categories used in this study. Classifiers with the value of
more than one category are only discussed in one major category but the functions
belonging to other categories are also mentioned. A few classifiers cannot be put in any
category above, and they are discussed as “Others” at the end. In each category, the
cognitive meanings of a few classifiers are given as examples. Those classifiers usually
have complex cognitive values and can be explained by the cognitive theory discussed
above: the cognitive classification of a classifier is derived through a prototypical
perceptual property, and such property may be extended to less prototypical values to

149
form a network. All the other classifiers with simple cognitive meanings are listed in
Appendix D
(1) Arrangement
Many objects in Modern Chinese are classified by the methods they are handled or
arranged with The classifiers used for this purpose are derived from verbs. In a noun
phrase of the form “numeral/demonstrative-M-N”, the classifier actually signifies a
resulting state. Such classifiers can thus be grouped together under “arrangement”
Common arrangement classifiers are $ chuan ‘string, bunch’, bao ‘bag, box’, 1M ding
‘top’, 1# dui ‘heap, pile, stack’, fa ‘sending out, shooting’, feng ‘sealing’, M jie
‘section’, jnan ‘roll’, 3ÍÍ shu ‘bundle, bunch’, and $ tao ‘suit, set’. E g.:
W section’ classifies objects which are cut in a certain length or
section: liangjie mu-tou [two section log] ‘two chunks of log’.
^ tao ‘to cover (over); to slip over’ is the classifier for suits of clothes. From this
basic function, ^ tao is extended to classify objects which are in suites or sets, but the
pieces may be in different shapes, sizes or functions: —0]/^^/^ yi tao can-
ju/fang-jian/jia-jn/shu [one set meal-utensil/room-space/home-utensil/book] ‘a set of
dinnerware /a suite of rooms /a suite of furniture /a series of books’. Figure 7.1 is the
classification network of $ tao. A vertical line indicates the functional category of a
classifier, a thick arrow —>• represents the application for a given function, a thin arrow
â–º marks an extension of a basic function/meaning or of an upper-level
function/application. The symbolic meanings are the same in other figures in this section
In Figure 7.1, $ tao is a classifier applied to suits of clothes through arrangement, and

150
this is its basic function. The notion ‘suit’ for clothes is extended to other objects like
dinnerware, rooms, furniture, books, etc.
tao ‘suit, set’
Arrangement
1 ...
Suits of clothes â–º Objects indultes or sets
‘dinnerware, rooms, furniture, books ...’
Figure 7.1 Classification network of Tao
(2) Division
Some objects, events or concepts are divided into different sections, parts or
periods. Several classifiers, such as M ceng ‘layer, tier’, |x duan ‘section, part’, fen
‘share, portion’, hao ‘number’, tF jie ‘section, length’, /j§ jie ‘session’, and H ji
‘collection, volume, part’ are used to name such divisions. Classifiers of this sort are more
like simple measures and are at the border between classifiers and measures. E g.:
lx duan ‘section, part’ classifies time, objects or abstract concepts which can be
divided into sections, periods or parts: —-itS-tl's] yi duan shi-jian [a section time] ‘a
period of time’, liang duan wen-zhang [two section writing] ‘two
passages/paragraphs of a writing’.
1$" jie ‘joint; node; knot section; length’ The sections indicated by tF jie are
usually linked or jointed together This is the difference between jie and another
classifier Ü\jie (see the analysis of ffijie in Arrangement). For instance, jiujie
che-xiang [nine section vehicle-box] ‘nine railway coaches’, H^FÜc san jie ke [three
section class] ‘three (periods of) classes’.

151
(3) Instrument
A few Chinese classifiers are instruments of doing or dealing with the objects they
classify. bi ‘writing instrument; pen’ and H mu ‘curtain, screen’ are common ones.
bi is frequently used with — yi ‘one’ to modify written characters which are well
executed (by someone): ^ Ta xie yi bi hao zi [he write one pen good
characters] ‘he writes a good hand’. From the original meaning of ^ bi “writing
instrument”, a new meaning ‘character stroke’ is derived. Then, from this meaning, it
refers to ‘score’ (i.e. a record done in writing) and becomes the classifier of money, bills,
and debt: /PK /fü Hang bi qian / zhang zhai[two stroke money/ bill/ debt] ‘two
scores of money/ bills/ debts’. Figure 7.2 shows the network of classified categories of
bi.
^ bi ‘writing instrument’
I
Instrument
kv
ritten characters
*
‘character stroke -> score’
1
| money, bill, debt ~
Figure 7.2 Classification network of Bi
(4) Location
Some classifiers in Modern Chinese refer to the place where objects are usually
located The common ones are M chang ‘field, ground’, chu ‘place’, a tai ‘stage’, 's!
tang ‘hall, main room’, fjff suo ‘place’, ü wei ‘site, seat’, ^ zuo ‘seat, place’.
M chang ‘(large) field, ground’ is the classifier for ball games, speeches, shows,
movies, stage plays and other performances, in-classroom tests, wars and weather

152
phenomena like rain, wind, fog and snow. All these events occur or result on a large
field/ground/area. Since ball games, speeches and performances are competitions,
movements or activities, M chang is extended to classify competitions and related events
like debates, discussions, and quarrels. Revolutions, fights, rebellions, and struggles are
all events related to violence, they take war as the prototype and are also classified by M
chang. Figure 7.3 shows the extended uses of chang as a classifier.
chang ‘field, ground’
,1 â– 
Location
Revolutions
Revolts
Rebellions
Struggles
Debates
Activities
Discussions
Movements
—
Figure 7.3 Classification network of Chang.
o tai ‘stage; table’ is the classifier for stage plays, shows and other performances
which occur on stages. As mentioned above, chang may also classify such events. %fj]
chang refers to a performance or showing, but pf tai counts the unit of the play or show
itself. E.g.: fÉifí]írifíTHÍ23. Zhe hang tai xi, ta-men ge yan-le san chang
[this two TAI plays, he-plural each perform-LE three CHANG] ‘They gave three

153
performances of each of the two plays’. Since o tai also means ‘table’, it is extended
through “shape” to classify all kinds of large-sized machines which stand up in three-
dimensions, such as machines, engines, radios, cameras, computers, printers. Figure 7.4 is
the classification network of o’ tai.
n tai ‘stage; table’
Location
Shape
Performance Large three-dimensional machines
1 1
Shows, Stage plays
Engines, Radios, Cameras, Computers,...
Figure 7.4 Classification network of Tai
(5) Part of Object
Some classifiers in Modern Chinese are the parts of objects they classify. Such as
ÍE ba ‘handle’, dong ‘ridge-pole’, gan ‘pole, the shaft or arm of something’, hu
‘door’, lie jia ‘frame, rack’, P kou ‘mouth’, Jm shan ‘door, board or (window)
casement’, tou ‘head’, M wei ‘tail’, !§: zhan ‘small cup’, and ^ zhu ‘tree trunk’. For
example:
ÍE ba ‘handle’ classifies objects which have a handle. Many of them are
instruments, such as spoons, knives, umbrellas, rulers, teapots, hammers, saws, axes,
screwdrivers, bottle openers, hand guns, and chairs (a chair has a back or arms which can
serve as handles).
P kou ‘mouth’ is the classifier for people in a family. Eg.: 0 P A wo jia
you si kou ren [1 family have four KOU people] ‘there are four people in my family’. It is

154
also used as a classifier for containers with some depth. For example, well, water-vat, and
caldron. This is an extended value of the original meaning by image. Figure 7.5 shows
the cognitive values of P kou.
P kou ‘mouth' ►
I
Part of Object
L- ,
people (in a family)
‘Mouth-like containers’
I
Shape
well, water-vat, caldron,...
Figure 7.5 Classification network of Kou
(6) Quality
Many Chinese classifiers are used to describe the shapes, size, consistency or
materials of objects. For example, ^ tiao ‘strip’, jj| dao ‘line, road’, lei ‘row, line’,
# pai ‘row, line’, gen ‘root’, ^ zhi ‘branch’, gu ‘strand, skein’, 3f£ zhang ‘to
spread, stretch, open’, ® mían ‘face, surface’, fu ‘width of cloth’, kuai ‘piece’, fj'
pian ‘thin piece, slice’, @1 tuan ‘round’, di ‘drop’, wan ‘small ball, pellet’, Ü li
‘grain’, IS ke ‘small and round things’. The following are some examples.
& tiao ‘strip’ is used as a classifier for objects which are long and winding in
shape: street, scarf, bench, river, trousers, leg, snake, fish, dog, etc. Since skirts and
shorts are clothing for the lower part of the body, they group around trousers and also
take on & tiao as their classifier. tiao is also the classifier for some abstract things
such as news, rules and principles. The reason is that when news, rules or principles are
written down on papers, they appear as lines in time or space. Figure 7.6 is the network
of its classified categories.

155
& tiao ‘strip’
Quality
Y
Objects in long and winding shape —+ Abstract things written down in lines
X
street, river, bench, trousers, fish..
news, rules, principles,...
-â–º Clothing for the lower part of the body
JL
skirts, shorts
Figure 7.6 Classification network of Tiao
H dao ‘line, road, path’ is used as a classifier applying to objects that resemble a
line in one’s perception, e g. light, river, and scar. In such cases, & tiao can also be used
instead of H dao. By metaphorical extension, successive doors and walls that one
encounters on one’s way are treated as lines and are classified by H dao. For example.
Mill I' J Hang dao men [two line door] ‘two successive doors’, san dao shou-xu
[three line procedure] ‘three steps in a procedure’, si dao cai [four line dish] ‘four
courses (of a meal)’. Moreover, like & tiao, jjf dao can also classify abstract nouns like
news, questions, orders, and laws, presumably since these concepts can be printed or
written out as lines. & tiao can classify most of the nouns described by Hi dao, but the
reverse is not true.
zhang, jfj /M/a/7, Ipg fu are all classifiers for objects with a flat surface. Their
differences are in functions and materials. % zhang means ‘to spread, to stretch, to open’.
Under the classification of 3K zhang, the objects must have the function of supporting
solid objects on their flat surface on the top For example, table, stool, bed, paper, photo,
picture, face and so on. A table or a desk is for objects to be placed on, a stool or bed is

156
for people to sit or lie on, and a piece of paper is also for writing or printing something on.
All objects of paper, such as checks, bills, paper money, pictures and photos, cluster
around paper and are in the same category zhang). On a face, there are features such
as eyes, mouth and nose. Thus, a face is also classified by 3I£ zhang The classifier t0
mian means ‘face; surface’. Its classifying function is to highlight the flat surface of an
object. The cognitive basis of this function is the disregard of the third dimension of the
object and the highlighting of the importance of the remaining two-dimensional surface.
For example, wall, mirror, drum, and flag all have their two-dimensional surface made
conspicuous either in function or in appearance. The classifier fg fu ‘width of cloth’
classifies large flat objects of which the material is cloth or paper, e g. large paintings,
pictures, maps, and yard goods. In some extensions, this category overlaps with that of
3|£ zhang, and, thus, some nouns like picture, painting and map can be classified by either
zhang or Ipg fu. Figure 7.7 shows the classification network of zhang.
Í/R ‘spread, stretch, open’
Quality and function (i.e. object with a flat surface to place things on)
Objects of paper
1
check, bill, picture, photo, newspaper,.
Figure 7.7 Classification network of Zhang

157
(7) Quanta
Some classifiers describe objects by quantity. Examples are ÍJ da ‘dozen’, X>f dui
‘pair (be opposite)’, XX shuang ‘pair’, glj fit ‘set’, fjj bang ‘gang’, f)C huo ‘mess, group,
crowd’, qun ‘group, school’, pi ‘batch, lot, group’, and H zhi ‘single, only’.
Among them, the cognitive values of XÍ dui, XX shuang, §lj /«, and H zhi are complex,
and they are analyzed in the following
XX dui is “pair, (classifier of) pigeons, eyes, husband and wife, earrings” (Chao
1968, p. 595); XX shuang is “pair, (classifier of) eyes, chopsticks, socks, stockings” (Chao
1968, p. 595). So far, no study has tried to distinguish the difference between them In
fact, the difference between them lies in the cognitive frames in people’s minds. The
collocations of the two classifiers and the nouns after them are decided by the different
perceptual properties of objects.
XX dui basically means “to be opposite”. When XX dui is used as a classifier, it
refers to ‘two entities in opposition to each other’. Therefore, the nouns after it should be
objects appearing in pairs but being opposite in gender, position, or function (to be
antonyms): parents, husband and wife, son and daughter (of a family), ears (on a head),
wings (of a bird), pillows (side by side on a bed), earrings, chairs (on each side of a small
table), and word “contradiction”. From classifying couples of people in different genders,
X>f dui is extended to classify people who are in pairs but are the same gender For
example: —yi dui tong-xing-lian [one DUI same-gender-love] ‘a homosexual
couple’, —yi dui xuan-shou [one DUI select-hand] ‘a pair of athletes (face to
face in a competition)’, —XXXXBMjjp yi dui shuang-bao-tai [one DUI twin] ‘a set of
twins’. The cognitive categories of classifier XX dui are presented in Figure 7.8.

158
'
XÍ dui ‘pair (be opposite); couple’
Two persons without
gender difference
1
birds
wife and husband
twins
—
parents
gays
son and daughter
Figure 7.8 Classification network of Dui
XX shuang is typically used to classify objects which are used or located in pairs.
Nouns like shoes, chopsticks, gloves, socks, stockings, hands, feet, legs, arms, shoulders,
eyes and eyebrows all can follow XX shuang. The difference between Xí dui and XX
shuang is: X>t dui classifies paired objects located in opposing or facing positions while XX
shuang classifies paired objects located side by side. A pair of ears and kidneys are always
separated by a body part and located on opposite sides of it, thus, they can only be
classified by X>f dui. A pair of hands, feet or legs, though separated, can be brought
together and they are more appropriately classified by XX shuang. Other nouns like
shoulders, eyes, or eyebrows may be classified by either of them. If Xif- dui is used, the
separated location of such organs is the focus in a speaker’s mind (i.e. the arms are at
opposite sides of a body, the shoulders are separated by the neck, the eyes and eyebrows
are on the opposite sides of the face). When XX shuang is used, the separated locations of

159
the pair are ignored in favor of their functioning together as a pair. Moreover, M. shuang
usually cannot classify people and animals which are in couples or pairs
@(J fu means ‘set’. It classifies small daily-used objects which are used as sets of
tools (more than one piece but not necessarily two) and all pieces are in the same shape,
size or function For example: eye glasses (the two lenses are the same size and are fixed
on a frame together), gloves, bracelets, earrings, chess, playing cards, etc. Some of the
objects, such as gloves, bracelets and earrings, are also in pairs and are worn by hands or
organs locating at opposite sides of the body; therefore, they are generally classified by glj
fu but can also be classified by M shuang (for gloves) or XÍ dui (for bracelets and
earrings). The difference between glj fu ‘set’ and another classifier $ tao ‘set; suite’ is
that ^ tao only classifies large objects which are in sets or suites but all pieces are not
necessarily the same in shape, size, content or function. Furthermore, §!] fu is also used to
categorize appearances and manners of humans assumed for specific purposes, but $ tao
cannot. For example: —yi fu xiao lian [one set smile face] ‘a smiling face’,
—yi fu ku-xiang [one set cry-appearance] ‘a crying face’, —SÜ'ITIS yi fu guan-
qiang [one set official-tone] ‘a bureaucratic tone’.
R zhi is a very common classifier in Chinese. It means ‘single, only’ in Modem
Chinese; thus, it classifies objects as individuals (generally, as members of a pair or group):
—R^R zhi shou [one ZHI hand] ‘one hand’, MR$± hang zhi xie [two ZHI shoe] ‘two
shoes (may be from two different pairs)’, HR Büllif san zhi yan-jing [three ZHI eye]
‘three eyes’. In classical Chinese, R zhi originally means ‘one bird’; thus, it is also the
classifier for small animals like birds, cats, chickens, ducks, and, by extension, dogs,
insects, etc. Another function of R zhi is to classify small containers like suitcase, box,

160
bottle, bowl, pot, pan, cup, tray, plate, dish, etc. Figure 7.9 shows the categories of
classifier K zhi.
K zhi ‘one bird’
Quanta
Animacy
1
Small Container
bowel
dish
cup
pan
Figure 7.9 Classification network of Zhi
Besides the quanta classifiers listed above, many objects in Chinese can be
classified for quantity by the container they are placed in. Some common containers
which are frequently used as classifiers are bottle, cup, bowl, plate, page, nest, and so on.
They are also nouns in their own right, but in some sense they are “borrowed” temporarily
as classifiers. Thus, they can be termed “temporary” classifiers or measures. They will be
discussed in Section 7.1.5.
(8) Synonym
Some classifiers were originally also the names of the objects they classify, but
later, they became specific classifiers in Modern Chinese. They are |'b) jian ‘room’ for

161
rooms, ^ ben ‘book’ for books, flfr ce ‘book’ for books, jüj pian ‘(finished) article’ for
articles, 'nj ju ‘sentence’ for sentences, ^ liang ‘cart, carriage’ for vehicles, M sou ‘boat’
for boats and ships, ke ‘plant’ for plants, 7fe duo ‘flower’ for flowers, E pi ‘cloth’ for
cloth and horses, and ^ sheng ‘sound’ for sounds. For instance:
|bJ jian originally means ‘space or time in between’, and it also refers to rooms.
Thus, it becomes the specific classifier for all kinds of rooms: classrooms, bedrooms,
kitchens, bathrooms, etc.
E pi used to refer to cloth of four 3t Zhang length in ancient times (Li 1965, p
473). In Modem Chinese, it is used as specific classifier for cloth in bolts. It is also a
specific classifier of horses because the shadow of a horse is about the length of E pi
(Kang-xi Zi-dian HI 'T- -fe ‘the Dictionary of Characters in Kangxi’. p 94). Figure
7.10 shows the classification of E pi.
E pi ‘four-Zhang cloth’—> Object aboutfour-Zhang length
Synonym
T
cloth in bolts horse
Figure 7.10 Classification network of Pi
(9) Time
A few Chinese classifiers describe the time or period of an event, such as M dun
‘pause’, qi ‘period, phase’, and zhen ‘a period of time’. For example:
zhen ‘a period of time’ is usually used after the number — yi ‘one’ to describe
certain weather phenomena (e g. rain, wind, snow, hail) which last for some time: —
yi zhen feng [one period wind] ‘a gust of wind’, —yi zhen yu [one period rain] ‘a

162
spatter of rain’ It also classifies gun-fires and bombs which fall like rains: —W'f&'X yi
zhen pao-huo [one period cannon-fire] ‘a burst of gun-fire’
(10) Type
Some classifiers in Chinese are the names of kinds, types and categories of objects
or concepts. These include § fan ‘kind; time’, [h] hui ‘return, circle’, jia ‘family’, ^
lei ‘class, type’, H men ‘door; class, field’, IR xiang ‘item’, #yang ‘shape, form, style’,
zhong ‘kind, type, class’. For example:
[U hui ‘return; circle’ is a classifier for verbs with the meaning of ‘time’(see next
section) and a classifier for matters to mean ‘kind, type’: liang hui shi [two HUI
matter] ‘two (different) matters’.
I'! men ‘door -> class, field, category’ classifies knowledge, science, courses (in
school) and fields of study which can be divided into different categories. For instance,
—men zhi-shi [one field knowledge] ‘a field of knowledge’, liang
men xue-ke [two field study-category] ‘two fields of study’, san men ke [three
field course] ‘three courses’. Moreover, H men also means ‘piece’ and is the specific
classifier for cannon and artillery. The reason for this is unclear In biological taxonomy,
|'l men means ‘phylum’.
(11) Others
There are also classifiers which are commonly used in Chinese but are more
abstract and do not belong to the categories discussed above. They are nP bu, ge, ft1
jian, $£ mei, etc.
pP bu ‘part; unit’ classifies large machines, vehicles (automobiles and bicycles),
major creative academic works and literary or art products (e g.: novel, movie, dictionary.

163
sculpture). When it classifies large machines, it can be replaced by n tai (see n tai in
Location); when it classifies vehicles, it can be replaced by ^ liang (see ^ liang in
Synonyms).
'h ge ‘individual’ is the classifier most commonly used in Chinese. It classifies all
the address terms for people, people-like objects and objects or countable abstract nouns
which do not have their own specific classifiers. It can be regarded as a substitutive
classifier in Chinese to replace the functions of many other classifiers in colloquial and
casual situations.
# jian ‘piece; thing’ classifies clothes and things like work, legal cases, and
general objects which are not otherwise specifiable. E.g.: —'WfcM.yi jicin yi-fu [one
piece clothes] ‘one clothes’, liang jian dong-xi [two piece object] ‘two things
(objects)’, —yi jian shi-qing [one thing matter] ‘an event, happening’,
san jian an-zi [three piece case] ‘three cases’.
$£ mei originally means ‘stick (of trees)’ (Li 1965, p. 871). In Modem Chinese, it
is a classifier with a classical flavor The objects it classifies are postage stamp, ancient
coins, badges and medals.
To summarize, our discussion of the noun classifiers has made the following
assumption: even though the categories many classifiers apply to are highly complex, the
analysis above shows that each of them can be derived from a basic cognitive value and
can be explained by existing cognitive theories. Our cognitive analysis can describe the
functions of those seemingly complex classifiers in a reasonable manner. By doing so, we
have successfully found the collocational principles between classifiers and nouns, which
would otherwise seem to be arbitrary.

164
7.1.3 Classifiers for Verbs
There are a number of classifiers for verbs to record the occurrence of an action.
The common ones are ifa bian, #C ci, [h] hui, T xia, £§ tang, sheng, M dun, § fan,
zhen. Among them, T xia, # fan, and r/iew can also quantify states (i.e. to be used
with state verbs). The verb-classifiers do not show complex networks as noun-classifiers
do, but they are similarly related directly to the semantic meanings of those words. In
Chinese, the quantifier of an action or state must be in post-verb position.
j¡H bian ‘all over’ is the classifier of completed actions. ci ‘order, sequence’ is
the general measure word for actions. The difference between these two words is that j||
bian indicates the whole process of an action but ci only indicates the occurrence
without specifying whether the action has been brought to a completion not. For example:
(1) UP 4^ 4$, na ben shu, wo kan le liang bian
[that book, I read LE two time]
T have (completely) read that book twice.’
UP*4$, urn %â– 
na ben shu, wo kan le liang ci, dou mei kan wan.
[that book, I read LE two time, not read finish]
T tried to read that book two times, but I did not finish it.’
The first sentence in (1) cannot be followed by ‘did not finish reading it’ as the
second sentence.
[h] hui ‘circle; return’ is the classifier for both nouns (see Type in above section)
and verbs. When it is used as the measure for an action, the style is casual and more
dialectal. It is interchangeable with ci in most cases, but it usually does not classify
uncompleted actions, since its semantic meaning ‘circle’ indicates a completed event.

165
T xia ‘down’ is also a general classifier for verbs like ci, but it is more casual
than IX ci. It indicates that an action or state has lasted for just a short time. For
instance:
(2) wo chi le liang xia
[I eat LE two time] ‘I tasted (it) twice.’
^—T. denyi xia [wait one time] ‘wait a second.’
^0^7“T- iian-qi leng le yi xia [sky-air cold one time]
‘The weather was cold for a short while.’
tang means ‘wade’. As a classifier, it quantifies actions related to walking (e g.
walk, run, go, come). The action is a completed trip, e.g.
(3) zhe tiao lu, wo zou/pao le san tang.
This road, I walk/run LE three time
T walked/ran three times along this road ’
3% ¿7 7 T W MJLm o wo qu/lai le liang tang beijing.
I go/come LE two time Beijing
T went/came to Beijing twice.’
sheng ‘sound’ is the specific classifier for actions related to voice or sound
The verbs it can quantify are Rjlt han ‘yell; shout; call’, PH jiao ‘cry; shout; call’, ^ ku
‘cry’, ^ ma ‘scold’, shuo ‘speak; say’, B[rJ xiang ‘to make a sound’. It is also the
classifier for nouns related to such actions (see Synonym in the section above).
$|i dim ‘pause’ is a pejorative measure word for actions like beat, hit, scold,
complain, satirize, etc. It also indicates that the action it modifies lasts for some time. For
instance, —ill da tayi dun [beat him a time] ‘give him a beating’.
Hr fan ‘time’ is also a measure word for actions and states which last for some
time or moment, but differs from dun in that it does not have a pejorative meaning.

166
For example, ÍÍÜ^ST—H bao-yuan le yi fan [ carry-complain LE one time] ‘complained
for a while’, xiao le yi fan [laugh LE one time] ‘laughed for a while’.
W zhen ‘a period of time’ quantifies actions and states which last for a period of
time. For example, MitllT—fang gua le yi zhen [wind blow LE one moment] ‘the
wind blew for a while’, —W tou teng le yi zhen [head pain LE one moment] ‘had
a headache for some time’. The time indicated by zhen is usually a little longer than the
time indicated by ^ fan, and the style is less causal.
7.1.4 Quasi-Measure Word
A few words which indicate time in Chinese are nouns and measure words at the
same time, and when they are modified by a numeral, no other measure words are needed.
Such words are termed as “quasi-measure words” (Chao 1968, p. 584). They are fa nian
‘year’, 0 ri ‘day’, 'fa sui ‘year; year of age’, fa tian ‘day’, fa ye ‘night’, and Jnj zhou
‘week’. 0 ri is the formal and classical version of fa tian.
7.1.5 “Temporary” Measure Word
Many Chinese nouns, either monosyllabic or disyllabic, can also be “borrowed” to
act as measure words. They are therefore called “temporary” measure words. They
usually quantify nouns by container, location, or time. For verbs, “temporary” measure
words usually indicate the instrument of an action. The following are some examples.
Container
EL fa fa san che ren [three vehicle people] ‘three cars/buses-loads of people’
—vi nao-dai zhu-yi [one brain-bag idea] ‘a head full of ideas’
Hans zhuo-zi fan-cai [two table rice-dish] ‘two tables of food’

167
Location
—‘tíAj'/ cun ren [one village person] ‘people of the whole village’
MM AS liang guoren-min [two country person-people] ‘people of the two
countries’
— illMA v/ shan shu-mu [one hill tree-wood] ‘a hill/mountain full of tree/woods’
Time
AAMM1S san xue-qi ke-cheng [three study-period course] ‘courses for three
terms’
M/lBliü&ll liang xiao-shi lu-chens [two small-time way-distance] ‘the distance
of two hours’
—M$fHii.y/ xing-qi jia [one star-period vacation] ‘a one-week vacation’
Instrument
fifcMZJ kan liang dao [cut two knife] ‘cut two times with a knife’
fTHÍfc da san qiang [shoot three gun ] ‘shoot thrice with a gun’
111—M she yijian [shoot one arrow] ‘shoot once with bow and arrow’
When “temporary” measure words quantify nouns, a phrase particle M de can be
inserted after them: Hí MA san che de ren ‘three cars/buses-loads of people’, —At
M A yi cun de ren ‘people of the whole village’, A AM Mil Ail san xue-qi de ke-cheng
‘courses for three terms’. At this time, such “temporary” measure words are more like
nouns or something between nouns and measure words.
7.1.6 Summary
The discussion above shows the different types of Chinese measure words.
Among them, the classifiers for nouns are most numerous and complex. They are central

168
to this study and are analyzed via cognitive theories. The classifying functions of Chinese
classifiers are derived from a central cognitive property of the classifier and are structured
as a network. The analysis describes the complex functions of many classifiers in a clear
way, and it can be used in the pedagogy of Chinese vocabulary to help L2 learners acquire
Chinese classifiers more effectively.
7.2 Localizers
Chinese localizers (or place words/suffixes) are words and suffixes added after
nouns to express relative locations. The suffix forms are all mono-syllabic morphemes
which refer to locations: ^/j¿L pang/bian ‘side; beside’, _t shang ‘up; above; on’, T xia
‘below; under; down’, M qian ‘front’, jp hou ‘back’, M // ‘inside’, wai ‘outside’, 41
zhong ‘middle; center’, zuo ‘left’, fd you ‘right’, ^ dong ‘east’, nan ‘south’, 0 xi
‘west’, bei ‘north’. Most of them may take another suffix, such as ® mían ‘face’,
tou ‘head; top’, ü bian ‘side’, or ~f) fang ‘direction’ to form disyllabic place-words, e g.
7tiÜ pang-bian /tí2_t bian-shang ‘side; beside’; _h® shang-mian shang-tou /_ti£>
shang-bian ‘above; top’; dong-mian ífiitL dong-bian dong-fang ‘east’. A
few localizers are independent words in their own right: i^JL zher /i^M zhe-li /ÜÜ
zhe-bian [this-side] ‘here; this place’, 5P JL nar /5PM na-li /5PÜ na-bian [that-side]
‘there; that place’, /¡&T di-xia [bottom-down] ‘bottom; under’, fang-mian [squire-
side] ‘aspect; area; side; field’.
When a Chinese common noun follows a locative preposition (or co-verb), such as
fE zai ‘at’ (it usually can be dropped, especially when it is in the sentence-initial position),

169
3\ dao ‘to’, M. cong ‘from’, Q: wang ‘toward’, a localizer (either a suffix or a word)
must be added after the noun if the noun is not the proper name of a place. For instance:
(1) a. ÍE JL qiu zaiyi-zi nar.
[ball at chair there] ‘The ball is at the chair there.’
b. ffeftglllj ±£T ta zhu dao shan-shang qu le.
[he live to mountain-on go LE] ‘He has moved to live in the mountain.’
c. MM. M _L ^ feng cong hu-shang chui-lai.
[wind from lake-above blow-come] ‘A wind is blowing from the lake.’
Except for the commonly used suffixes _L shang, T xia, M H, and 41 zhong, the
other Chinese localizers are not complex. The locations they indicate are just the
meanings they contain. Thus, they will not be treated in this study. However, the
selection between _h shang, xia, M h and 41 zhong is not completely dependent on the
inherent meaning of each individual localizer translatable into English, e g.: ‘on; above’
(_t shang), ‘below; under’ (T xia), ‘in; inside’ (M H) and ‘middle’ d3 zhong). In other
words, their Chinese cognitive senses are not equal to their English translations. To make
matters worse, in some cases, two or three of them are interchangeable, though in most
cases, only one is appropriate in a given context. For example:
a. h W H J=| J L shu-shang you zhi niaor
[tree-above have MW(measure-word) bird]
‘There is a bird m the tree.’
b. H yue-liang gua zai tian-shang / kong-zhong
[moon hang at sky-on / space-middle] ‘The moon is hanging m the sky.’
c. zai zhe zhong qing-kuang-xia. yao an-jing.
[at this kind situation-under, should quiet]
‘One should be quiet m this situation.’
d. iff ban-shang/liyou er-shi ge xue-sheng.
[class-on/in have twenty MW student] ‘There are twenty students in the class.’

170
e. ülj wo hui dao jia-zhong/li.
[I return to home-middle/inl ‘I went back home.’
f. ^±/M/±%—¡Ü shu-shang/li/zhong you yi zhang hua.
[book-on/in/middle have one MW picture] ‘There is a picture in the book.’
g. h/Ep./fo^ta shou-shang/li/zhong you xie qian.
[he hand-on/in/middle have some money]‘He has some money m his hand.’
Just as in all cases where more than one form is acceptable, examples (d)-(g) are
puzzling and interesting at the same time. Are the different forms just in free variation? Or
does each of them differ from the rest in usage? If so, how and why? Chao (1968,
Section 7.10) gives their meanings but does not explain how they are distinguished Xing
(1996) discusses the use of M h and 41 zhong and claims: M h is only attached to an NP
that tends to be a spatial position while 4a zhong is not only attached to an NP, but also
can be the suffix of a VP or AP to indicate a location, and the NP attached by ^ zhong
tends to be a collective or abstract one. However, his explanation does not seem to apply
to the use of M H and 41 zhong in examples (2) above. In fact, the differences between
these localizers are not in their function but reside in the perception of the speaker In the
following, I will try to analyze the localizers in terms of what is known as the cognitive
domain. The analysis follows the theory of Langacker (1987, p. 148) where cognitive
concepts at one level are presupposed by those at the next higher level Furthermore,
semantic units are assumed to be organized in the same hierarchical structure.
7,2.1 ± Shang
The lexical meaning of _h shang is ‘up'. When it is used as a localizer, it indicates
that the position of a trajector is stated as relative to a referent (the referent is generally

171
called a landmark) below/under it. The trajector and the landmark may or may not come
into contact with each other. From this meaning, three functions of localizer _h shang are
derived.
A. Surface domain The surface of a landmark is used as a relative referent, and
the surface may face to different directions and appear in various shapes. When a trajector
and the landmark are attached, _t shang is interpreted in the sense of the English ‘on’;
when they are not contacted, its meaning is similar to that of English ‘above’ or ‘over’
For example:
(3). Attached to a landmark
a. V shu zai zhuo-zi-shqng
[book at table-SHANG] ‘The book is on the table.’
b. I’m l'.'íi 'ill [Hi qiang-shang you zhang hua.
[wall-SHANG have MW picture] ‘There is a picture on the wall.’
c. jTjTPLtSTiSTi fang-ding-shang gua le zhan deng.
[ceiling-SHANG hang LE MW light] ‘A light is hanging on the ceiling.’
d. [I men-shang gua zhe deng-long.
[gate-SHANG hang ZHE lantern] ‘A lantern is hanging on the gate.’
e. —h yi zhi niao zhan zai shu-shans
[one MW bird stand at tree-SHANG]
‘A bird is perching on/in the tree (either on the trunk or on a branch).’
f. ffejtfrffell] Tj/1± ta zhan zai shan-ding-shang.
[he stand at hill-top-SHANG] ‘He is standing on the top of the hill.’
(4). Detached from a landmark
a. TÍ)l M, ill TTj/> hTrf fei-ji cong wo-men tou-ding-shang fei-guo.
[airplane from our head-top-SHANG fly-pass]
‘An airplane flew over our head.’

172
b. M h^T—he-shang you yi zuo qiao.
[river-SHANG have one MW bridge] ‘There is a bridge over the river ’
c. —hffilífc W zhi niao zai shu-ding-shangpan-xuan.
[one MW bird at tree-top-SHANG hover] ‘A bird is hovering over the tree.’
Some objects regarded as containers in English are just viewed as planes in
Chinese, and _L shang is the locative suffix of these landmarks. For example:
(5) a. bao-zhi-shans you shen-me xin-wenl
[newspaper-SHANG have what news]
‘Any news in the paper?’
b. h ta zuo zai shafa-shang.
[he sit at sofa-SHANG] ‘He is sitting in the sofa.’
c. 7c I'yfT tian-shang you hen duo xing-xing.
[sky-SHANG have very many star] ‘There are a lot of stars in the sky.’
d. ta zai che-shang.
[he at car-SHANG] ‘He is in the car.’
B. Top domain A standing object is viewed as a landmark formed by both top
and base portions, and _h shang indicates that a trajector is at the top part of the
landmark. In this case, the top part is highlighted as opposed to the base portion, and the
position that _t shang indicates is to be understood as relative to the base but not relative
to the whole landmark.
(6) a. jtfeflvfe]# h ta zhu zai lou-shang.
[he live at building-SHANG] ‘He lives upstairs (not in the basement or
ground floor).’
b. iff?]# 'iffiitiTjrr gao-lou-shang shan zhe nihong-deng
[high-building-SHANG glitter ZHE neon-lamp]
‘Neon lamps are glittering on the high buildings.’ (The lights are either on the
wall or on the top of the building but are not on the base of the wall.)
c. M H i=r Jl shu-shangyou zhi niaor.
[tree-SHANG have MW bird] ‘There is a bird in the tree (in the crown).’

173
In these examples, the upper portion is treated as if it were an attachment to the
lower portion, which is more easily accessible by the observer than the top part.
C. Metaphorical domain Metaphor is an important facet in the function of
human languages. It helps people describe or understand an abstract concept by way of a
figure they are familiar with. For example, science, society and life can be metaphorically
regarded as different geographical areas or surfaces. Thus, in Chinese when those terms
are used as locations, they require either a following place word ffW fang-mian [squire-
side] ‘aspect; side; field; area’ or the localizer _h shang as their suffix. Eg.:
tftí/_L zai ke-xue shang/fang-mian [at science area/SHANG] ‘in science’,
zai she-hui shang/fang-mian [at society SHANG/area] ‘in society’,
h/^TM zai sheng-huo shang/fang-mian [a live SHANG/area] ‘in life’. All
concepts related to those areas, such as history, math, study, economy, culture, teaching,
eating, and so on, are regarded as their sub-categories or sub-areas. Therefore, when
these nouns are used as locations, _h shang is the localizer. This function is an extension
of the prototypical value of _L shang.
(7) a. 4* zhong-guo zai iing-ii-shang fa-zhan hen kuai.
[China at economy-SHANG develop very fast]
‘China is developed fast in (the area of) economy.’
b. zhe ge fang-fa zai iiao-xue-shang hen cheng-gong
[this MW method at teaching-SHANG very success]
‘This method is very successful in teaching.’
c. ta san-iue-shang bu cuo.
[he feeling-SHANG not bad] ‘He is pretty well in feeling (he feels well).’
d. ta zai chi-shang hen jiang-jiu
[he at eat-SHANG very fastidious] ‘He is fastidious about food.’

174
The relationships between the different domains of _L shang are graphically
represented in Figure 7.11. A vertical line represents the basic function/meaning, a thick
arrow ^ represents a direct domain of the basic function/meaning, a thin arrow
â–º marks an extended domain of the basic function/meaning or of an upper-level
domain. The meaning of each domain is explained under it. The symbolic meanings are
the same in other figures in this section. What figure 7.11 describes are: the basic function
of _h shang is to indicate a position related to a referent underneath or below an object;
two domains, the surface domain and the top domain, are directly derived from the basic
meaning, and the metaphorical domain is extended from the surface domain.
_t Shang ‘on, above, over’
A position related^to a referent underneath/below
Surface Domain
Top Domain
A location on/above/over a landmark
I
Metaphorical Domain
The top portion of a landmark
A position related to actions and abstract concepts
which are metaphorically regarded as geographical areas
Figure 7.11 Domains of localizer Shang
7.2.2 T Xia
T xia means ‘down; below; under’ in Chinese. As a localizer, it is the antonym of
± shang and prototypically indicates that the position of an object is below or under a
referent, whether attached to it or not. It also has three functions which are derived from
the basic cognitive meaning.

175
A. Surface Domain The surface of a landmark is viewed as the relative
referent, and the position of an object is under/below the surface. For instance,
(8) a. 7ÍTGM. shui-xia you yu.
[water-XIA have fish] ‘There are fish under (in) the water.’
(The fish are under the water face)
b. xie-zi zai chuang-xia.
[shoe at bed-XIA] ‘The shoes are under the bed.’
c. na zhi gou pa zai shu-xia.
[that MW dog lie at tree-XIA] ‘That dog is lying under the tree ’
(Where the dog lying is under the crown of the tree)
d. na zhang zhi cai zai tajiao-xia.
[that MW paper step-on at he foot-XIA]
‘That paper is (stepped-on) under his foot.’
e. ih V ta zhan zai deng-guang-xia.
[he stand at lamp-light-XIA] ‘He is standing under the light of the lamp.’
B. Bottom Domain As with the localizer Jt shang, when a landmark is a
standing object, it may be viewed to consist of top and bottom portions. T xia indicates
that a location is at the bottom of the landmark or is in an area nearby the bottom part. It
is the opposite of what is indicated by _h shang,. The stated position is relative to the top
portion, which is regarded as the major part of a landmark, but not relative to the whole
landmark. For instance,
(9) a. wo-shi zai lou-xia.
[lie-room at building-XIA] ‘The bedroom is on the ground floor of the
building (downstairs).’
b. ¿AAk-ffeifi] F na zhi gou pa zai ta jiao-xia.
[that dog lie at he foot-XIA] ‘That dog is lying at his feet.’
c. HT&ihJL cun-zi zai shan-xia.
[village at mountain-XIA] ‘The village is at the foot of the mountain.’

176
d. wo zai che-xia gen ta shno-hua
[I at bus-XIA and he speak-speech]
‘I am talking to him outside the bus/truck.’
C. Metaphoric Domain T xia also has a metaphoric domain with abstract
nouns like atmosphere, air, circumstances, situation, case, condition, and state are used as
locations. The concepts expressed by those nouns are often perceived as being able to
permeate all the space that encompasses the world. In the mind of an English speaker,
most of the world operates ‘in’ the all encompassing space. But in the mind of a Chinese
speaker, such locations are above the world and everything else is under or below them
Thus, T xia is the localizer for light, air and all the abstract concepts mentioned above.
(io) a. xummim
zai zhe zhong qing-xing-xia. da-jia dou wu-ju-wu-shu.
[at this kind situation-XIA, all-people all no-restrain-no-bind]
‘Under this circumstance, no one feels any restraint.’
b. pi r í 1 í 1 zai kuan-song de qi~fen-xia, yen~min
cai you yan-lun zi-you. [at wide-loose DE air-air-XIA, people only (then) have
speech-speech freedom] ‘Only under the relaxed atmosphere can people have
freedom of speech.’
c. dong-wu zai dong-mian de zhuang-tai-xia
bu chi bu he. [animal at winter-sleep DE shape-state-XIA not eat not drink]
‘Animals do not eat and drink (when they are) in hibernation.’
Figure 7.12 in next page shows the different domains in which the localizer T xia
operates.

177
T Xia ‘down; below; under’
A position under/below a referent
Surface Domain Bottom Domain
Bottom part or nearby area of a landmark
A position related to an abstract concept
which can be perceived as an encompassing
Location unde^elow a landmark
I
Metaphorical Domain
Figure 7.12 Domains of localizer Xia
7.2.3 M Li
The lexical meaning of M li is ‘inside’. It indicates that the position of a trajector
is relative to what is outside of a landmark. The landmark thus is conceived as having a
dividing line on its side(s), either be a border or a simple edge. From this cognitive
meaning, M li is used in the following situations.
A. Container domain When a landmark is a container, M U states that the
position is inside the landmark. This is the prototypical function of M li. E g.:
(11) a. bei-zi-Uyou shui.
[cup-LI have water] ‘There is water in the cup.’
b. ta cong wu-lj_chu-lai.
[he from house-LI exit-come] ‘He came out from the house.’
c. Ijl/KblíiSSa quan-shui liu jin hu-li.
[spring-water flow enter lake-LI] ‘The spring (water) flows into the lake ’
B. Border Domain When a landmark is viewed as a border or an edge of a
space, M H indicates that the location is inside it, either attached to or nearby the
landmark. This function is extended from the basic cognitive meaning of M li

178
(12) a. JKJÍHM, ¡ay i jiao zai men-li, yi jiao zai men-wai.
[he one foot at door-LI, one foot at door-outside]
‘One of his feet is in the door and the other foot is out the door.’
(A door is the border of a room or house.)
b. —A^iptJIL —yi ren zai qiang-H yi ren zai qiang-wai.
[one person at wall-LI, one person at wall-outside]
‘One person is on this side of the wall, (and) another person is on the other
side.’
(A wall is the border of a house, yard or place.)
c. chuang-li hang zhe deng
[window-LI light ZHE lamp]
‘A light is on inside the window.’
(The speaker is outside of a house or room, and the window is the edge/border
of the house/room)
C. Areal domain When a landmark is a place or an area with borders or edges,
S H is used as the localizer to indicate a position inside the place or area, which is relative
to what is outside the place/area
(13) a. wo zhu zai cheng-U.
[I live at city-LI] T live in the city.’
b. A to cong na ge cun-l_i_ chu-lai.
[he from that MW village-LI out-come] ‘He came out from that village.’
When an indicated position is not relative to what is outside a landmark, or when a
noun refers to a land or field which is not conceived as surrounded by a physical border,
only _t shang can be the localizer since the landmark is just a surface, e g.
c. ícdífetS wo-men sheng-huo zai zhe mei-li de tu-di-
shang/*li. [I-plural bear-live at this beautiful DE soil-land-SHANG/*LI]
‘We are living on this beautiful land.’
d. fjTsJc to zai qiu-chang-shang/*li da qiu.
[he at ball-ground-SHANG/*LI play ball]
‘He is playing the ball on the ball-ground.’
(The border is not cognitively significant)

179
Similarly, when a wide plain without barriers (like mountains) around it to block
our view or without an obvious edge, M // cannot be suffixed to indicate any location on
it.
e. 3¿yh#;;ÉE^l£Jj^_L/*S zhe ge xian zai ping-yuan-shang/*li.
[this MW county at plain-SHANG/*LI]
‘This county is on the plain.’
Both _h shang and M // can be the localizer for the noun Uj shan ‘mountain; hill’,
but they refer to different locations. When _h shang is used, it just indicates a position on
the surface of a specific mountain or hill; when M h is the localizer, it refers to a location
in an area surrounded by mountains as a perceptual border. For example:
f. 'ftk/£i:'(f:lll_L ta zhu zai shan-shang.
[he live at mountain/hill-SHANG] ‘He lives in the mountain/hill.’
g. SPAM/lIlM na ge xian zai shan-lj_.
[that MW county at mountain-LI] ‘That county is in a mountainous area.’
D. Metaphorical domain M // can be metaphorically extended to state a
location inside a group of people, which are divided from others outside the group and are
imaged as an area with perceptual borders or edges. The following are some examples.
(14) a. Ají¥Ji/í=í KK^. ren-qun-Uyou ren da-xiao.
[people-mass-LI have person laugh]
‘Someone is /Some people are laughing in the crowd.’
b. ffe -Mílí¿fi.Miéi (Hi^A ta shi ban-U zui gao de xue-sheng.
[he be class-LI most high DE student] ‘He is the tallest student in the class ’
As in other languages, time can be perceived as space, and a period of time can be
perceived as a space or area with beginning and ending edges. As a result, M h can be
suffixed to a time phrase to indicate an event located within a specific period of time. For
instance:

180
1
c. íS 1c zhe huoyao zaiyi ge xing-qi-ti wan-cheng.
[this work should at one MW week-Ll finish]
‘This work should be finished in a week.’
In another direction, a container can be viewed as where something is hidden.
From the Container Domain, an extended function is derived, and M li is often used to
locate an event happening without the knowledge of somebody (a specific person or
specific persons, though unnamed). For example,
d. to si-xia-U zan le xie qian.
[he privacy-LI save LE some money] ‘He saved some money privately.’
e. bei-di-U wo-men jiao ta “xiao-qi gui”
[back-place-LI we call he stingy ghost]
‘We call him “stingy ghost” in his back place (behind his back).’
f. to zhan zai hei-an-l±.
[he stand at dark-LI] ‘He is standing in the dark.’
The located domains and their relationships of M // are shown as Figure 7 13.
Metaphorical Domain
A location in a group, a period of time,
or an unseen/unknown place or situation
Figure 7.13 Domains of localizer Li

7.2.4 41 Zhong
181
1
The basic lexical meaning of 41 zhong is ‘middle; central’ As a localizer, it means
the same as the English ‘in, among’, indicating a position in a landmark. The position is
only relative to the landmark itself. This is the value that distinguishes rt' zhong and M h
When 41 zhong is used, a landmark is conceived as without a dividing line on its side(s) as
a border or edges. Based on its cognitive meaning, 41 zhong is used in the following
situations.
A. Space Domain As a localizer, 41 zhong typically refers to a position in a three
dimensional space Since the location marked by 4* zhong is only relative to the space
itself, the space is conceived as without a border/edges or its border/edges is/are ignored.
For instance:
(15) a. 41 JLSÍEÉHÍ!. yuer gua zai kong-zhong.
[moon hang at space-ZHONG] ‘The moon is hanging in the sky.’
For the same reason, 41 zhong can not be attached to a noun which refers to the
border of a container or space. With a border, only j§. // can be the appropriate localizer,
e.g.:
b. Ñ 4-7* 41 ÍÉ T W r¡? chuang-h/*zhong gua le chuang-lian.
[window-LI/*ZHONG hang LE window-curtain]
‘A drape hangs inside the window.’
Some nouns may take either 41 zhong or M li as the localizer, but the indicated
meanings may be different. When 41 zhong is used, the position of a trajector is only
relative to the landmark; but when M U is the localizer, the position it refers to is relative
to what is outside the landmark For example:

182
c. MA3^A A 0 cheng-zhongyou ge gong-yuan.
[city-ZHONG have MW park] ‘There is a park in the central area of the city.’
d fefc AAÍzéI cheng-U you ge gong-yuan.
[city-LI have MW park] ‘There is a park in the city.’
B. Areal Domain fj3 zhong can also refer to a position in a place or area, just as
M H does. In most cases under this domain, the difference between 41 zhong and M li is
not obvious, and the function of 41 zhong is neutralized. E g.:
(16) a. sen-lin-zhong/li you hen duo xiao dong-wu.
[forest-ZHONG/LI have many small animals]
‘There are many small animals in the forest.’
b. W'/AIA—^PA cun-zhong/li you yi-bai duo kou ren.
[village-ZHONG/LI have one-hundred more MW people]
‘There are more than one hundred people in the village.’
C. Group domain Just as with M U, 'I3 zhong can also be attached to a plural
noun to treat a group as a landmark. This function is extended from its concrete usage.
(17) a. ffefltfrt ta-men-zhong you ren shi xue-sheng.
[he-plural-ZHONG have person be student]
‘There are some students among them.’
b. san xiong-di-zhong/li xuan yi ge.
[three brother-brother-ZHONG/LI choose one MW]
‘(We) choose one from the three bothers.’
D. Process domain tj3 zhong can be further extended to view an action or state
as a space/area and to indicate a position in a state or a proceeding action. In this
function, the progress of an event or the state of being is highlighted, and the localizer is
affixed to the state or action verb. For example.
(18) a. iMl Tf T3 ffeA M A'' A |B1 $¡ diao-cha-zhong ta fa-xian bu shao wen-ti.
[investigate-ZHONG he find not few problem]
‘He found many problems in the investigation.’

183
b. ben-pao-zhong ta gan-dao tui you dian tong.
[run-ZHONG he feel leg have little pain]
‘He felt a slight pain in his legs during the running.’
c. ta-men zai re-lian-zhong.
[they at hot-love-ZHONG] ‘They are deeply in love.’
d. Jíí't'ííl qi-fen-zhong ta si le zhe feng xin.
[angry-ZHONG he tear LE this MW letter]
‘He tore the letter up in anger.’
e. 41 % ta zai chen-mu-zhong si-kao.
[he at silent-ZHONG think] ‘He is thinking in deep silence.’
diao-cha ‘to investigate’ in (a), ben-pao ‘to run’ in (b), re-lian
‘to love deeply’ in (c), qi-fen ‘to be angry’ in (d), tfCMR chen-mu ‘to be in silence’ in
(e) are action or state verbs in their own right. But when they are affixed with the
localizer 4a zhong, they function as location nouns.
As a summary, the functions of 4a zhong can be represented in the following
schema:
Figure 7.14 Domains of localizer Zhong

184
From the discussion of the localizers above, a conclusion can be reached: _t
shang indicates that a trajector is attached to or located above the surface of a landmark
or that a trajector is on the top region of a landmark. T xia, in contrast with _t shang,
indicates that a trajector is below or under the surface of a landmark or that a trajector is
at the bottom region of a landmark. M h indicates that a location is inside a landmark and
it is relative to what is outside the landmark; thus, the landmark usually has a border or
edges. 4* zhong marks a location in a landmark and the position is only relative to the
landmark itself; thus, the landmark usually does not have visible edges or the edges are
ignored in a speaker’s mind. Moreover, 4a zhong is also attached to a verb to indicate a
position in a state or in the middle of a proceeding action. All the various functions of
those localizers are derived from their basic cognitive meanings and are formed as a
functional network for each localizer. The analysis has been carried out from the
perception of the cognitive theory briefly stated at the beginning of the chapter.
7.3 Conclusion
Chinese measure words and localizers usually cause problems to L2 learners of
Chinese, because their usage is primarily both functional and communicative and there are
no simple syntactic rules to guide the use of them. In this chapter, a cognitive analysis
was used to find the meanings and functions of Chinese measure words (especially
classifiers) and localizers. The results of this study offer some general principles of how
and when to use a specific measure or localizer, and those principles will hopefully guide
L2 learners to acquire the Chinese words/suffixes effectively. The results also illustrate
that the use of classifiers and localizers are governed by their cognitive meanings, i.e. the

185
cognitive images of an object or concept in speakers’ minds. Such images may vary with
different cultures and give rise to a variety of expressions in different languages that
cannot be explained by rigorous syntactic rules or by simple translation. Therefore, such
meanings should be explained to L2 learners in cognitive terms for effective learning.

CHAPTER 8
PEDAGOGICAL APPLICATION
OF CHINESE VOCABULARY
The goal of this study, as mentioned in Chapter One, is to propose an effective
pedagogy which can help CFL/CSL learners lighten their memory load and improve their
vocabulary acquisition. Based on findings stated in the previous chapters in conjunction
with other related studies in SLA, psycholinguistics, Chinese morphology, and CFL/CSL,
a systematic vocabulary pedagogy from the beginning to the advanced Chinese level is
proposed in this chapter. It will identify what kind of words need to be introduced at a
certain stage and discuss how to introduce them effectively.
8.1 Pedagogical Applications at the Beginning Chinese Level
The main task of Chinese vocabulary instruction at the beginning level is to teach
common character-radicals and a certain amount of “core” vocabulary, i.e. the
monosyllabic and disyllabic words that are most-frequently used in modern Chinese. This
approach is based on the characteristics of Chinese vocabulary and the findings of this
research.
8.1.1 Characteristics of Chinese Vocabulary and Characters
It goes with saying that in CFL/CSL, high-frequency vocabulary should be
introduced at the beginning Chinese level. According to Xian-dai Han-yu Pin-lu Ci-Dian
« M ft tZ ilf M- iWl ffe» (A Word-Frequency Dictionary of Modem Chinese)
186

187
(Wang 1986), monosyllabic words are distributed in the following way: 2,400 in the 9,000
common Chinese words, 957 in the 2,000 high-frequency words, and 565 in the 1,000
most-frequently used words. The statistics indicate that many monosyllabic words have a
high-frequency use in modern Chinese At the beginning Chinese level, the 1,000 most-
frequently used words should be the “core” words in vocabulary instruction and textbook
design. Moreover, the 565 monosyllabic words should be given more attention, because
most of them serve as the basis for compound words. Since each monosyllabic word is
written as one Chinese character, the characters representing these high-frequency words
should form the basis of vocabulary acquisition at this stage. They must be made the
focus of learning in reading and writing at the beginning level. According to Han-yu Shui-
Ping Ci-hui vu Han-zi Deng-ii Da-gang «Kin/k.T-if]rC 5» (Criteria
for Chinese Vocabulary and Characters at Different Proficiency Levels) (1992), 1,033
basic words should be learned at the beginning level. All these words, about half of which
are monosyllabic, contain 800 characters. This fact shows that, at the beginning level,
vocabulary learning in fact is largely a process of character learning.
As mentioned in Chapter One, although the total number of Chinese characters is
huge, only 2,500-3,000 of them are common ones that form thousands of words and
comprise 99.9% of Chinese reading materials. Therefore, only those 2,500-3,000
characters need be learned by L2 learners of Chinese. Nevertheless, this is still a difficult
task for the learners if they memorize each character individually. Fortunately, Chinese
characters have another feature: each of them is a unit formed by one or more radicals and
components. The number of common and basic radicals is only between 70-100, and from
them more than 70% of all characters can be derived (Huang 1996, Fei 1996). Obviously,

188
if these 70-100 radicals/components are learned first, a large number of characters can be
acquired more easily, since most of them are built on those common components.
Furthermore, character radicals may also help learners remember or infer the meaning and
pronunciation of a character more easily. Even though the writing system of Chinese is
said to be “ideographic”, pure ideographic and pictographic characters in Chinese account
for less than 20% of the total. About 80%-90% of characters (depending on the total
number of calculated characters) are morphemic-phonetic in nature (Zhang 1992, Wu
1993, Gong 1994). In these characters, the semantic radical (simply referred to as
‘radical’ in tradition) provides a cue to the meaning category (i.e. plant, animal, bird,
action with hand, liquid, etc.) of the whole character; and the other component, the
phonetic one, indicates the pronunciation. For example, in the character tong
‘copper’, the radical ^ (‘metal’) indicates that the character means a metal, and the whole
unit is read by the pronunciation of component ‘|ff| tong’ on the right, which is also a
character itself. Semantic radicals tend to be located at the top or on the left side of
characters, and phonetic components tend to occupy the right or bottom position.
Because of the phonological evolution of the language, only about 50% of the phonetic
components closely mark the pronunciation of the character in Modern Chinese (Gong
1994). Thus, the phonetic components may not be very helpful in inferring the
pronunciation. However, they are still very useful in memorizing the characters, because
they themselves are individual characters (either single or compound) and can be treated
as smaller units in character storage in the mental lexicon. Results of psycholinguistic
studies have found that radicals/components are the main source of information for
character recognition and are very helpful tools for memorizing and inferring the meanings

189
of characters (see Section 8.1.2). Because of the unique characteristics of the Chinese
characters and words, common radicals/components should form an important foundation
for Chinese vocabulary acquisition and must be introduced and learned at the beginning
Chinese level.
8.1.2 Studies in Character Recognition and Learning
Up until now, there have not been many pedagogical studies on how to teach
Chinese characters. In most Chinese textbooks for L2 learners, characters are just listed in
the lexical items, and no specific introduction is made to teach the characters. On the
other hand, many psycholinguistic studies have found that character radicals or
components are the basic psychological units in the recognition of Chinese characters by
native speakers. Flores d’Arcáis (1992) has found that there is a lexical decomposition
process in the recognition of complex characters in adult readers. Also the various
components (i.e. the phonetic and semantic components) in a lexical unit are interrelated in
the recognition process to allow the reader to perform the pronunciation response and to
know the meaning of the character. Li and Chen (1997) also indicates that the radical
level (or sub-character level) of a character exists as a psychological entity. “At least in
the early stages of processing, characters are probably perceived as radical components
rather than as whole characters” (Li and Chen 1997, p. 141). Radicals and their relations
are suggested as the main information source for Chinese character recognition (Peng, Li
and Yang 1997). Shu and Anderson (1997) found that Chinese children are aware of the
relationship between a radical and the meaning of its character. Their experiment showed
that, when the radicals are familiar and the conceptual difficulty of the words is low,
children are able to use radicals to derive the meanings of new characters. Moreover, in
y

190
the investigation of Ke (1998), 80.95% of the Chinese-heritage learners (i.e. one or both
of whose parents are Chinese) and 73.08% of the non-heritage learners felt that learning
character components (semantic radical and phonetic components) is more effective than
learning stroke order and writing characters repetitively. It was also found that those
same students tended to have higher scores on a character production test. Cheng (1998)
shows that teaching radicals at the beginning Chinese level could speed up all three stages
of character learning: the Strokes and Outline Stage (i.e. learners only note strokes and the
outline of a character), the Radicals and Parts Stage (i.e. learners begin to recognize some
radicals and character parts), and the Whole-Character Stage (i.e. learners have the
structure idea of a whole character). In Chapter Three and Chapter Four of this study, it
has been shown that the native Chinese speakers usually used character radicals to help
themselves infer meanings of unfamiliar words, but the L2 learners of Chinese did not have
sufficient knowledge of character radicals and thus could not infer the meanings of
unknown words as successfully as the native speakers did All the findings provide
immediate pedagogical implications for Chinese vocabulary learning and teaching: The
radical and the component of a character are very important tools, and students must be
taught the common radicals/components so that they can use this knowledge as a strategy
to help them learn and memorize characters and words.
8.1.3 Pedagogical Methods of Vocabulary and Character Teaching
At the beginning level, L2 learners of Chinese are supposed to learn the
pronunciation system, basic expressions and grammar, in addition to basic vocabulary and
characters. Vocabulary is not the focus and cannot be allotted as much time as one might

191
wish to have. On the basis of all the studies and findings discussed above, the following
steps are suggested to remedy the situation.
A. Introducing main radicals and components of Chinese characters. As
soon as L2 learners begin to study simple Chinese sentences, they start to encounter
Chinese words and must learn how to read and write them. It has been found that many
L2 learners spend an unduly large portion of their time struggling to memorize complex
characters if they are not introduced to the knowledge of radicals and character structures
(Cheng 1998). Common mistakes of L2 learners in character writing are stroke order,
character components and character structures. They do not know how to write a
character as a unit and may miswrite character components if they are not trained
properly. Therefore, stroke order, radicals and character structures should be introduced
before or, at the latest, at the same time as L2 learners begin to learn complex characters.
Stroke order can be learned when learners practice radicals. There are about 70-
100 common radicals with semantic meanings (see Appendix C). Those radicals are
simple and have only a few strokes. Thus, they are easy to learn and can be memorized in
a short time Many radicals are also simple characters and monosyllabic words, such as W
yan ‘speech’, X huo ‘fire’, lU shan ‘hill, mountain’, X mu ‘wood, tree’. While L2
learners study radicals, they are also learning some useful words. Most of the radicals are
pictographic or ideographic symbols. For instance, ? is a pictograph of three drops of
water, so it means ‘water’. If such related knowledge of how characters were created is
also introduced in a simple and general manner, not only will it make radical learning more
interesting, but it will also help L2 learners understand and remember their meanings.
When a radical is introduced, characters containing the radical that L2 learners will come

192
into contact with in the near future can be used as examples. For example, when the
radical /fc mu ‘wood’ is taught, fit yi ‘chair’, ^ zhuo ‘table, desk’, J^l chuang bed’ can
be used to illustrate its different positions. The examples may serve to introduce the
characters the students are going to learn They in fact also illustrate different structure
types of character composition in terms of the position of the radical. A knowledge of
such types is helpful in preparing the students for character learning 1 The types and their
percentages are listed in the following (Yin and Rohsenow 1994, p. 91):
Table 8.1 Character-structure types and percentages
Structure Name
Percentage
Examples
Single
3%
0 n p
Right-(Middle)-Left
65%
Top-(Middle)-Bottom
23%
Enclosing
9%
@ HI 0 (all-round)
fff] IS P(1 (three-sides)
Ü ifjl (two-sides)
B. Teaching complex characters by components. When L2 learners start to
learn sentences and words, they will encounter complex characters formed by two or more
radicals and other components. Learners can be taught to use their radical knowledge to
Note: 1. If the learners’ first language is Japanese, Korean or some of the other Asian
languages, which may also use some Chinese characters in the writing system, the
knowledge of character radicals can be introduced very quickly, and character strokes and
structure types do not need to be taught. Nevertheless, the characters which have
different meanings or are not written completely the same in Chinese as in their Lis must
be attended to in teaching.

193
learn characters, i.e. to decompose a character into radicals or components they already
know, and then try to remember by the components. For instance, ^ yi ‘chair’ can be
decomposed as tnu ‘wood’, which refers to the material, and of qi ‘strange’, which
marks the syllable final of the pronunciation; or to be 7fc mu ‘wood’, da ‘big’ and nj ke
‘able’. For memorizing characters, a learner can just try to recall the locations of the
radicals and the other parts. This will be much easier and more effective than memorizing
stroke by stroke. While the meaning of a radical helps distinguish similar characters from
each other, a phonetic component can group different characters for easy review. For
example, characters '(# qing ‘feeling’, j# qing ‘clear’, i# qing ‘please; invite’, Hf jing
‘eyeball’ all contain the same component W qing, which marks their syllabic
pronunciations. They can be listed together to help learners systematically remember them
and to distinguish between them by the radicals on the left which indicate their meanings:
t ‘heart’, ? ‘water’, i ‘speech’, and [=} ‘eye’.
C. Teaching pronunciation of characters in meaningful sentences. Unlike
alphabetic words, many Chinese characters do not have their pronunciations marked
directly. As mentioned above, even though most characters in modern Chinese are
morphemic-phonetic, the phonetic component does not often represent the accurate
pronunciation because of the historical evolution of the Chinese phonological system. In
modern Chinese, about 50% of the phonetic components mark the syllables of their
characters quite accurately (Gong 1994), but the other 50% may just mark the final of the
syllable or may have completely lost their phonetic function. Moreover, many frequently-
used characters learned at the beginning level are not morphemic-phonetic characters.
Sometimes, a single character may even have different pronunciations for different

194
meanings, for example, ]£ for zhong ‘heavy’; or chong ‘repetitive’. Therefore, at the
beginning level, phonetic components can only be used to help learners recall the
pronunciations and the composition of the morphemic-phonetic characters; they cannot be
relied on as the only source for accurate pronunciation. The traditional way of learning
pronunciation is still needed: to include new characters or words in meaningful sentences.
While L2 learners learn to speak the sentences, they are also learning the pronunciations of
the words and the characters.
Besides monosyllabic words, L2 learners at the beginning level will inevitably
encounter words with affixes, particles, compounds containing two or more characters,
and measure words (classifiers). In those cases, additional learning strategies are needed
D. Introducing meanings of lexical affixes and morphemes in compounds.
As mentioned above, at the beginning level, L2 learners have other important tasks in
learning the language than just studying word types and structures. Many words they
learn at this level are monosyllabic words. However, it does not mean that they will not
study any other kinds such as compounds and Root-Affix words. When disyllabic and
polysyllabic words are encountered, it is better to introduce the meanings of their word
components as a learning strategy. This will help learners 1) learn the meaning of each
character they encounter, 2) understand how the meaning of a disyllabic/polysyllabic word
is derived, and 3) have the primary impression of what the structure of Chinese words is
like. Compounds containing the same component can be grouped together for
memorization (eg.: ban ‘do’ in ban-fa [do-way] ‘method’ and ban-
gong-shi [do-business-room] ‘office’). There are also other effective ways of memorizing

195
both monomorphemic words and compounds, e g. linking words as networks according to
their semantic categories (‘action’, ‘location’, ‘furniture’, ‘food’, etc).
E. Introducing cognitive meanings of Chinese measure words (classifiers)
and localizers. As mentioned in Chapter Seven, except for a few semi-measure nouns, a
proper measure word is always needed in Chinese when a noun is modified by a numeral.
At the beginning level, L2 learners will encounter some common measure words
classifying nouns, such as 't' ge, ÍE ba, 'jfs: zhang, H zhi, |b] jian, etc. As discussed in
Chapter Seven, the collocation between a noun and a measure word (classifier) is decided
by the semantic classification and cognitive meaning of the noun. For example, ÍC ba is
for physical objects with a handle or arm (e g. “knife”, “umbrella”, “tea pot”, “chair”), ^
zhang is for physical objects with a flat surface to place things on (e g. “bed”, “paper”,
“table”). Such basic classifying features of nouns should be introduced to L2 learners in
order to help them understand and know how to use a measure word, especially a
classifier. Also, at the beginning level, learners will come across localizers like _t shang
‘above’, zhong ‘middle, among’, T xia ‘down, below, under’, M h ‘inside’. Those
localizers are usually attached to nouns to indicate locations. As shown in Chapter Seven,
their associations with nouns, however, are based on their cognitive meanings in Chinese
culture and are sometimes quite different from those in English. Their cognitive domains
also must be unambiguously introduced to L2 learners in order to avoid mistakes caused
by LI interference.

196
8.2 Pedagogical Applications at the Intermediate Chinese Level
When L2 learners of Chinese are at the intermediate level, they have acquired basic
Chinese grammar, a certain number of characters and words, and have begun to learn
longer texts (including reading, writing and speaking). At this time, in order to read and
write short articles and stories, they must enlarge their vocabulary quickly. In Han-yu
Shui-Ping Ci-hui vu Han-zi Deng-ii Da-sang
(Criteria for Chinese Vocabulary and Characters at Different Proficiency Levels) (1992),
2,018 new lexical items are listed for students at the beginning-intermediate level, and
2,202 more new words are for students at the intermediate-advanced level. In total, 4,220
new words are supposed to have been learned by the end of the Intermediate level. Thus,
learning a large number of words is one of the main tasks at this learning period In order
to help L2 learners study words more effectively, the basic knowledge and rules of
Chinese morphology and more strategies for understanding and memorizing new words
should be introduced. All the pedagogical methods and learning strategies should be
based on the properties of both SLA and Chinese vocabulary.
8.2.1 Morphology in Vocabulary Acquisition
In the study of vocabulary acquisition, vocabulary is traditionally separated into
two groups: decoding vs. encoding, comprehension vs. production, or passive vs. active.
This dichotomous split, however, ignores an intermediate stage. Summer (1988) argues
that there should be a stage of deep understanding or detailed comprehension (i.e. to
understand a word from its general meaning as a native does, not just for a meaning in a
particular text). Henriksen (1999) also stresses that L2 learners must be allowed to be

197
vague about word meanings at first. “Precision will come later and lexical development
can be characterized as a move or progression from rough categorization or vagueness to
more precision and mastery of finer shades of meaning” (Henriksen 1999, p. 311).
Obviously, the understanding of a word does not necessarily lead to its correct use.
Before production, a learner must remember the word in its form and its pronunciation in
addition to its meaning. Moreover, only a detailed comprehension can lead to the native¬
like use of a word Thus, the total acquisition process of a word should be in the
following five stages:
Comprehension -> Storage in Memory Interlanguage Production
Detailed Comprehension -> Native-like Production.
Detailed comprehension needs rich language encounter and practice. It is
impossible for intermediate-level students to both understand and produce all of the 4,220
Chinese words native-likely. Thus, vocabulary pedagogy at this level should pay more
attention to the first three stages: comprehension, storage in memory, and some degree of
production (i.e. production in some particular texts or in near native-like manner). In all
of these stages, knowledge of morphology is very useful.
1. Knowledge of morphology can help learners understand the meanings of
unfamiliar words and identify words in Chinese.
For students above the beginning level, word morphology has been suggested in
many studies to be a useful technique for discovering word meanings. It has been found
that lexical development can be characterized in terms of increasing morphological
complexity, and the ability of finding the meanings of unknown words by morphological
structure increase with age and grade (Anglin 1993). “Word structure analysis contributes

198
to the learning of word meanings, both in English and in Chinese” (Shu and Anderson
1995, p. 81). The results of the research discussed in Chapter Three of this study also
show that native Chinese speakers usually use word structure to reach the meanings of
unfamiliar words. However, L2 learners, as shown in Chapter Four, usually cannot
successfully infer the meanings of unfamiliar words. One important reason is that they do
not have the knowledge of Chinese word structure. Thus, morphological knowledge must
be taught to L2 learners in order to help them discover the meanings of unfamiliar words.
Chinese word structure can also help L2 learners identify words. As mentioned
before, Chinese word boundary is not overt. Whether a character is a word or not is
judged by contextual information and morphological knowledge, i.e. whether or not the
character is always used as a bound morpheme. If a learner knows what characters are
usually used as affixes or cannot be used alone, s/he will be able to judge if a character is a
word in reading.
2. Morphological knowledge can reduce memory burden and enhance vocabulary
storage in memory.
Scholars believe that the acquisition of word formation rules “simplifies the task of
gaining command of the target lexicon because it provides generalizations, which reduce
the need for memorization and heavy reliance on context clues” (Olshtain 1987, p. 231).
As discussed in Chapter Two, psycholinguistic studies have found that morphological
structure is stored in the mental lexicon. Such knowledge helps language users build sets
of patterns by regular rules. They therefore do not have to memorize lexical items one by
one. Psychological studies also find that words are stored in memory as networks. If
words can be grouped by categories, they will be remembered more easily. Morphological

199
knowledge can help learners rearrange words in a network by morpheme categories (i.e.
to group words containing the same morpheme), and such a morpheme network can also
make it easier to both memorize and distinguish similar words.
3. Morphology can correct production.
According to the Monitor Model of L2 Production (Krashen 1981), language
knowledge and principles can guide language actions and monitor speech production
before or after actual output. At the intermediate level, as discussed above, word
production mostly is not native-like and happens in some particular texts. Such
production may be incorrect or inaccurate. Morphological knowledge can help L2
learners improve their word production and change semi-production into whole-
production or native-like production. First, as Wan (1989) has argued, the knowledge of
morphemes can help L2 learners distinguish the usage of compounds with similar semantic
meanings and avoid producing expressions with wrong words. For example, in Chinese,
can-guan [join-watch], fa] fang-wen [visit-ask], you-lan [travel-see] may all
be translated as ‘visit’, used as a verb or a noun. If learners know the meanings of their
individual morphemes, they will understand easily that #)(!¿ can-guan means to visit a
place and watch exhibit or activity, ijjfóJ fang-wen means to (visit a place and) meet or
talk with certain people, and you-lan is to visit a place for sightseeing. Second,
knowledge of morphological structure can help L2 learners use words correctly in
language production. It will guide learners in distinguishing possible forms of words from
what is not possible. For instance, a verbal Action-Object compound is usually intransitive
and cannot have a grammatical object after it. Thus, since the compound word ^45 nian-
shu [read-book] ‘to study’ is an action-object construction, nian-shu zhong-

200
wen [read-book China-language] ‘to study Chinese’ is incorrect. Since ff] men is a plural
suffix for people, shu-men [book-plural] ‘books’, *|&JÍÍ] gou-men [dog-plural]
‘dogs’ are unacceptable in Chinese unless these objects or animals are humanized in
children’s stories or for rhetorical reasons. Some Chinese affixes like -zi, -lao are
usually attached to a nominal monosyllabic root to form a disyllabic noun. Therefore, they
usually cannot be used with a disyllabic compound or to form a [Root-Affix]-Root or
Root-[Root-Affix] compound with the meaning of ‘kind of N\ For example, there are
zhuo-zi [table-suffix] ‘table’, shu-zhuo [book-table] ‘desk’, zhuo-bu
[table-cloth] ‘tablecloth’, but there is no shu-zhuo-zi [book-table-suffix] ‘desk’
or zhuo-zi-bu [table-suffix-cloth] ‘tablecloth’. There are s&M lao-shi [prefix-
teacher] ‘teacher’, shi-de [teacher-virtue] ‘the virtue of a teacher’, but there is no
lao-shi-de [prefix-teacher-virtue] ‘the virtue of a teacher’. Lastly, the
knowledge of morphemes can help L2 learners avoid writing errors. For example, Wfll
you-li [have-benefit] ‘advantageous; beneficial; favorable’ and ^t¡ you-li [have-strength]
‘strong; powerful’ are easily mixed up in writing since they are homophones but not
synonyms. However, if learners pay attention to the second components in them, the error
can be avoided.
8.2.2 Properties of Chinese Words
Chinese is a language in which most syllables are also morphemes. Some scholars
claim that Chinese morphemes, which are represented by characters, are the basic and
most important constituents of the language; thus, morphemes and characters are more
important than ‘words’ in Chinese (Xu 1994a, 1994b; Mattingly and Hsiao 1997). As
discussed in Chapter Five, the main word types in modern Chinese are monomorphemic

201
words, Root-Affix words, reduplications and compounds. Except for monomorphemic
words which are only governed by inflectional morphological-principles, both inflectional
and derivational morphological-principles apply to all the other types. Because of the
properties of Chinese words, many studies suggest that morphemes need attention in the
teaching of Chinese vocabulary (Wan 1989, Zhang 1990, Cui and Yang 1997). As
mentioned at the beginning of this section, 4,220 lexical items are listed in Han-yu Shui-
Ping Ci-hui vu Han-zi Deng-ii Da-gang < (Criteria for Chinese Vocabulary and Characters at Different Proficiency Levels) (1992) as
words to be learned by students at the two stages of the intermediate Chinese level
About 71.3% of these words (3,010 words) are compounds, and many others are of the
types of Root-Affix and reduplication. Very few of those 4,220 lexical items are
monomorphemic words. Therefore, the main task of Chinese vocabulary teaching at the
intermediate level is to introduce the knowledge of Chinese morphology, especially the
structural knowledge of compounds, which can be applied to word acquisition,.
8.2.3 Techniques of Vocabulary Instruction
Psycholinguistic studies discussed in Chapter Two have shown that morphological
structure is directly related to vocabulary performance and reading achievement
According to the Adaptive Control of Thought (ACT) Model of Anderson (1983), when
learning anything new, the mind moves from declarative to procedural knowledge in three
stages: a) the declarative stage (or cognitive stage) when new information is perceived as
cognitive knowledge, b) the knowledge compilation stage (or the associative stage) when
the mind tries to compile the information into more specific procedures and makes a
general rule specific to a particular circumstance of application, and c) the tuning

202
productions stage (or the autonomous stage) when a working solution is arrived at. In
classroom L2 learning, rather than speaking directly as they do in their native languages,
L2 learners start with cognitive knowledge of a rule supplied by the teacher. This is
particularly true for adult learners in foreign language contexts. Therefore, general rules
of Chinese word structure and morphemes are better introduced in Chinese vocabulary
teaching, especially in Chinese as foreign language context. In order to help L2 learners
reach the knowledge compilation stage and the tuning productions stage, strategy training
and practices are needed. The following sections discuss related pedagogical techniques.
A. Teaching characters within compounds or other disyllabic/polysyllabic
words. At the intermediate level, L2 learners still have to learn more characters while
studying new words. About 1,405 new characters should be acquired at this stage (see
Han-vu Shui-Ping Ci-hui vu Han-zi Deng-ii Da-gang «'{)L 7k ^ 'fiL ¥
^ Je M» ‘Criteria for Chinese Vocabulary and Characters at Different Proficiency
Levels’. 1992). These new characters mostly appear in disyllabic or polysyllabic words as
roots or morphemes (a few are used as syllabic marks for transliterations). Thus,
characters should not be separated from words in vocabulary instruction and learning.
Learners should study new characters, including forms, meanings and pronunciations at
the same time when they learn new words that contain them. At the intermediate level, in
addition to the form and the pronunciation, the morphemic meaning and function of each
character should be made clear to students. The knowledge of morphemes can help them
understand how the meaning of a polysyllabic word is derived. When they encounter
familiar morphemes/characters in unfamiliar words, they will be able to infer the meanings
of the words. For example, students have learned the character ife sheng in the beginning

203
stage (i.e. in xue-sheng [study-person] ‘student’). In the intermediate stage, they
will come across more compounds with the character. At this time, its morphemic
meanings should be introduced: when it is at the final position of a compound, it means
‘person, or the agent who does something’; when it is at the initial position, it means ‘life;
to live; to be alive; to bear; to produce; to be raw/unripe’. New words with the character
sheng that students will soon encounter can be used as examples: sheng-ming
[life-life] ‘life’, (ii#J sheng-wu [live-thing] ‘living things, living beings; organisms’, 0
sheng-ri [bear-day] ‘birthday’, ife# sheng-mu [bear-mother] ‘biological mother’,
sheng-ci [unripe-word] ‘new word, unfamiliar word’, sheng-chan [produce-
produce] ‘to produce; production’. When the morphemic meanings of sheng are
known, the meanings of these compounds can be understood easily. All the productive
morphemes/characters can be introduced in this way. Usually, several morphemic
meanings of a character may be derived from a basic meaning. In such a case, the basic
meaning of a character should be introduced before its derived meanings. This approach
relates the different meanings of a character to a central notion, which makes the learning
process more natural and less mechanical than when the meanings are taken up separately.
Memory strategies for characters have been discussed in Section 8.1.3
(Pedagogical Methods of Vocabulary and Character Teaching). All the methods used at
the beginning level can also be adopted at higher levels for memorization of new
characters. Some exercises and games can be used to help students review characters and
words. For instance, students may be asked to list the compounds or other polysyllabic
words which contain a specific character as a morpheme, and present the meanings of
some given words. Or students may be given a character and its different morphemic

204
meanings with some words containing the character as a component, and then be asked to
find out what the morphemic meaning is in each of the given words. A circle game can be
played by students at the intermediate-advanced stage: the teacher gives a disyllabic or
polysyllabic word (e g. xue-sheng ‘student’), and asks student A to say out loud or
write a word beginning with the final character of the given word (e g. ífe'/S sheng-huo
‘life’). Then, student B is supposed to find a word beginning with the final character of
the word given by student A (e.g. '(íÜAfj huo-dong ‘move; movable; activity’). The other
students continue in this way around the circle.
B. Introducing word structures and types As discussed above, most words
that students encounter at the intermediate level are disyllabic-dimorphemic words. To
understand these words, basic morphological knowledge is needed. On the other hand, as
mentioned above, learners at this level have already acquired basic sentence grammar, high
frequency words and characters, and they are ready to learn some morphological
principles. Moreover, at this stage, the types of words learners will encounter are some
monosyllabic words, a few Root-Affix words and Reduplications, but many compounds
(71. 3%, see Section 8.2.2). Obviously, compounds must be a focus in vocabulary
teaching.
Monosyllabic words cannot be decomposed, so they have to be learned as a whole
unit. Since all monosyllabic words are presented as single characters, the techniques and
strategies of teaching and learning characters discussed in the previous section (Section
8.1.3) apply here as well. Some monosyllabic words may be used as components in
compounds, and their morphemic meanings and the related compounds can be introduced
to students together. Monosyllabic words for the intermediate level students contain some

205
measure words. The cognitive meanings and their collocations with nouns, as discussed in
Chapter Seven of the present study, should also be taught to learners.
For Root-Affix words, the meanings and functions of the affixes should be
introduced to help learners understand the words and know how to use them.
Reduplications mainly have three types: nominal reduplications, verbal reduplications and
adjective reduplications. The semantic meanings of each pattern are governed by some
general rules: nominal reduplications usually mean ‘every N’ (except for the addresses of
family members); verbal reduplications mean ‘V a little; try to V’ or ‘repeat some
actions’(the V1V1V2V2 pattern); adjective reduplications usually describe some features
vividly with the meaning of‘very A’ or ‘some are A^ some are B’ (the AAJBB pattern; see
Chapter 5). Such principles lead L2 learners to a better understanding of the mechanisms
and functions of reduplication in Chinese
As presented in Chapter Six, there are three main types of compounds in Chinese:
endocentric compounds, exocentric compounds and parallel compounds. Each of the
structures can be taught as the specific type occurs in the text with a sufficient number of
words to illustrate. As discussed in Chapter Six, the syntactic relations of the components
in Chinese compounds are similar to their corresponding sentence structures. Since L2
learners have already learned the basic sentence-structures at the intermediate level, they
can easily transfer them to the relations of roots in compounds. However, the more
important task for them is to understand the semantic relationships of the roots in order to
derive the meanings of the compounds. The semantic patterns of Chinese compounds
discussed in Chapter Six should be the focus of vocabulary teaching. The order of

206
teaching the three main types should be: endocentric, parallel, and exocentric. This is
justified below.
Among Chinese disyllabic compounds, 95% of them comprise nouns (51%), verbs
(36.4%) and adjectives (7.6%) (Yuan and Huang 1998). Therefore, these three categories
are the main content of vocabulary instruction. Since nouns form the largest category and
since 80.6% of nominal compounds in Chinese are endocentric (Yuan and Huang 1998), it
makes good sense to introduce the endocentric type first. Moreover, since the semantic
relationships of the components in endocentric compounds are either universal or semi-
universal, and nearly every pattern can be found in English compounds (see Chapter 6), L2
learners with English LI have already acquired the knowledge of the structure of these
compounds and are ready to learn them in Chinese 2
The meanings of parallel compounds are also easy to understand: it is either the
same as one of the components or the simple composition of the two components.
Furthermore, about 27% of verbal compounds and 62.5% of adjective compounds are
parallel compounds in Chinese. For these reasons, parallel compounds should be
introduced right after endocentric compounds.
Most of the exocentric compounds in Chinese are verbs or adjectives (state verbs).
The semantic patterns of the components in such compounds are somewhat complex, and
Note: 2. This process matches the Input Hypothesis Model (Krashen 1985) and formal-
instruction theory: successful instruction should provide level-appropriate language
knowledge that learners are ready to learn.

207
some of them, like the Action-Result compounds, may have some unique syntactic
functions in sentences. Thus, it is logical to introduce this type later.
Some related exercises/drills can be used to help students analyze word structures.
For example, students can be given some known compounds or other polysyllabic words
and be asked to describe the morphemic meanings of the components, the structure
patterns of the words, the semantic relationships between the components and the
meanings of the whole words. Alternatively, they can be given some unfamiliar
compounds to analyze their structures and to infer their meanings. The compounds must
be morphologically transparent, i.e. the compound meaning should be derivable from its
roots. If some roots in the compounds are unfamiliar to the students, their meanings
should be explained first.
C. Teaching new words and word patterns within contexts. “Context can be
viewed as morphological, syntactic, and discourse information in a given text which can be
classified and described in terms of general features” (Carter and McCarthy 1988, p. 102).
Here, a context means a sentence or a short text in which the reader already has some
I
background knowledge of the subject matter. Contexts are very important in vocabulary
acquisition. Research has concluded that new vocabulary items should not be presented in
isolation and should not be learned in rote fashion (Hulstijn 1997).
First, contexts can help L2 learners understand new words better. L2 learners
initially approach the learning of words as translation. However, first language translation
or glosses sometimes cannot accurately represent the meanings and functions of words in
their target language. One meaning or concept may be expressed by several words in
different contexts and language styles, and one word may also have different semantic and

208
cognitive meanings in different langauges. For example, Chinese Jp kai means ‘open’, but
it can be used in cases where the English open cannot: Jp '£f kai-deng [open-light] ‘to
turn on a light’, Jp$ kai-che [open-car] ‘to drive a car’, Jp^r kai-hiu [open-meeting] ‘to
hold/attend a meeting’. The reason is that the cognitive meaning of Chinese Jf kai is
different from or not equal to the cognitive meaning of English open. Chinese Jp kai
contains the meaning of ‘to start’ in English. One solution to this kind of problem is
massive exposure to the target language in contexts. “The full meaning of words (which
includes their sociolinguistic contexts) can only come from encountering them in a rich
linguistic environment. .. Words should be reviewed and revised constantly, for without
this the learner cannot come to know their polysemic and registerial characteristics”
(Carter and McCarthy 1988, p.45). Moreover, as discussed in Chapter Three of the
present study, contexts are often necessary to infer the meanings of unfamiliar words,
especially words with opaque meanings (i.e. meanings that cannot be derived directly from
the components). Shu, Anderson and Zhang (1995) also show that “although Chinese
word components usually provide semantic category information, obtaining the exact
meaning of a word requires integrating the information from word structure and context”
(p. 89).
Second, when students study new words within contexts, they practice both
vocabulary and sentences. The final goal of vocabulary teaching is to help learners
produce correct expressions of the target language with rich and appropriate words. To
acquire a word does not only mean to understand its meaning, but also entails 1) knowing
the use of it according to variations of function and situation, 2) knowing the syntactic
behavior associated with the word, 3) having the knowledge of the network of

209
associations between the word and others in the language, and 4) knowing many of the
different meanings associated with the word. Contexts not only can tell students the
meanings of a new word, but also provide the collocations and its syntactic functions.
Contexts can truly allow learners to have detailed comprehension of a word and to be
ready to produce it in the target language.
Third, contexts can help L2 learners of Chinese identify word boundaries As
mentioned before, there is no overt word boundary marking in the Chinese writing system.
Whether a character is a word or not can be decided by the context (sentence) it appears
in and/or by its morphological features. Native Chinese speakers are used to judging
words by contextual information, but L2 learners usually feel it is difficult to determine
whether adjacent characters belong to be same word or different words. When new words
are taught within contexts, L2 learners will gradually get used to identifying word
boundaries in sentences.
Many methods can help students learn, understand and review words within
contexts. When a new word is introduced, the teacher can give some typical sentences
containing the word as examples. Students may also be asked to identify similar sentences
from newspapers, magazines or other reading materials (either provided by the teacher or
picked out by the students themselves), in order to study them. Finally, they can try to use
the word by filling in blanks of texts, or by producing it in Chinese writing and speaking.
There are also ways to help students review words they have learned. For example, some
adjectives that students have learned can be presented, and students are asked to list the
objects or events that are described by the given adjectives. An object, an action or a
story can be shown by pictures or mimes, and students are asked to use the words they

210
have learned to describe them (The pictures and mimes used may be drawn or played by
the students themselves).
D. Training students in adopting effective strategies to understand and
remember new words. Strategy training helps students bridge the gap between ‘knowing
what’ and ‘knowing how’ in their target language learning. As it is impossible to teach
learners all the words they need to know in class, it is important to teach them some
inferencing strategies that will enable them to tackle unknown words and free them from
total reliance on dictionaries, teachers and textbooks. Chapter Two of this dissertation
discusses previous studies on the positive efficacy of strategy use and strategy training.
The results of Fraser’s study (1999) also show the efficacy of instruction that aims to
improve L2 learners’ ability to infer new word meanings. Hulstijn (1997) argues that it is
especially worthwhile to talk about vocabulary learning techniques with students at the
intermediate and advanced levels. First, it is those students who feel the vocabulary
learning burden most pressingly, because they have to increase a limited elementary
vocabulary of 1000 items to 5000 items or beyond. Second, “intermediate or advanced
students have enough L2 knowledge (1) to participate with profit in a metalinguistic group
discussion on mnemonics, and (2) to form associations within the L2, rather than between
L2 and LI” (Hulstijn 1997, p. 217). Chapter Four of this dissertation also shows that L2
learners of Chinese have to be trained with some effective strategies used by native
Chinese speakers in vocabulary comprehension and memory storage. The practical
methods introduced above, such as analyzing the structures of words, deriving the
meanings of compounds from their components, and learning new words with contexts,
are in fact learning strategies as well.

211
In vocabulary learning, two kinds of strategies are usually mentioned: those of
comprehension and of mnemonics. The strategies of comprehension include translation,
consulting, inferencing, deduction and contextualisation Translation and consulting (i.e.
consulting teachers, native speakers, dictionaries, etc.) are both commonly used in all
language-learning and are excluded from this discussion Deduction is to apply L2 rules
to understand word meanings, and contextualisation is to use contextual information (e g.
world knowledge, sentence grammar, discourse, word association and punctuation) to
reach the meanings of words. Both of them are used in inferencing. Thus, inferencing is
the main strategy of comprehension discussed here. Inferencing should be stressed in
Chinese vocabulary learning when L2 learners have learned the knowledge of character
structure, common radicals and word structures. The reasons are: 1) Inferencing
strengthens the cognitive associations between words and their meanings and extends
learners’ vocabulary more readily (Hulstijn 1993, Fraser 1999, Huckin and Coady 1999);
it also can make words be better remembered (Hulstijn 1992). 2) L2 learners of Chinese,
as shown in Chapter Four, need the strategy-training of inferencing to help them acquire
Chinese words more effectively and independently. And 3), the properties of Chinese
words allow inferencing to be more effective. As mentioned before, more than ten
thousand common Chinese words are formed with 3,000 to 4,000 characters. An
unfamiliar Chinese word that students encounter is most often just a new combination of
familiar characters. Thus, the word meaning could possibly be deduced from the
morphological structure and context.
It is claimed by scholars that strategy training should be explicit, that is, to inform
“learners fully as to the strategies that they are being taught, the value and purpose of

212
employing these strategies, and ways that they can transfer the strategies to other learning
tasks” (Weaver and Cohen 1998, p.93). The instructional model of strategy training is:
strategy introduction -> strategy practice strategy autonomy. First, the teacher should
introduce aimed strategies to students and raise their awareness. Second, students should
practice and evaluate the strategies, and, if the strategies work well, they should also
transfer them to new learning situations. Finally, learners are able to use the strategies
automatically in further study. These steps also have to be completed in strategy training
for L2 learners of Chinese.
First, the teacher should tell students how native Chinese speakers learn new
words effectively and introduce the strategy to bring it to their awareness. Then, the
teacher shows the students step by step how to infer the meanings of words by contextual
information, word structure and morphemes, and radicals of characters. Each step can be
separated from others in the beginning, but they can all be combined together later. For
example, the teacher can list a new disyllabic compound and teach learners to analyze its
possible meaning by the components and the word structure. The character radical can be
used to find the semantic category if the meanings of the components are unclear. Finally,
the word is put into several contexts which provide some clues to the word meaning, and
the students are guided to find more information about the word meaning through
different contexts.
The second step of the training is to practice using the strategy. Some short
stories or texts containing several new words can be designed so that students may
practice with the strategy. Paribakht and Wesche (1999) have found that characteristics of
tasks, texts and inferred words influence learners’ inferencing behavior. An inferencing

213
would be more successful when 1) the task is summary rather than question, 2) learners
have the background knowledge of the reading text, and 3) knowledge of morphology,
word-order and word categories can be applied to the inferred word. It also has been
recognized that, “in order to guess the meanings of unknown words in context, the learner
must be able to recognize on sight most of the surrounding words” (Huckin and Coady
1999, p. 184). Therefore, the Chinese text allowing students to infer word meanings
should be designed as follows: 1) the content and topic should stimulate students’ interest,
and students should already have background schema of it; 2) the main content of the text
should still be understandable without the meanings of the unfamiliar words; and 3) the
new words of which students will infer meanings can be analyzed by the morphological
knowledge and character knowledge that students have learned. Several types of drills
can be adopted with such texts. Initially, the meanings of unfamiliar words can be listed
randomly, and students are required to find out what meaning matches which word by
reading the text and by analyzing the word structures and character radicals. When
students have achieved mastery over this drill, they can move on to the next practice:
explanations for new words are not given, and students themselves have to find out the
meanings of the words from the contexts, the morphological structures and meanings of
the morphemes, and the character radicals. These kinds of drills can also be combined
with practice of speaking and writing. For example, the first time the students read a text,
they can just ignore unfamiliar words but get the main idea of the text. Then, they are
asked to tell or write down the main idea in their own words. Finally, they read the text
again and try to find the exact meanings of the unfamiliar words. When the meanings of
these words are found, the students can be led further to find out the syntactic functions

214
and collocations of these words. All the practice can be done in class or completed as
homework.
After students have worked with the strategy, they will also evaluate its
effectiveness within their learning process. If the meaning of an unfamiliar word cannot be
determined by the students, the teacher could help them find the reasons for their
difficulties and help them improve their skills in using this strategy. Dictionaries can be
used after inferencing to verify the answers and to check the pronunciations.
Beside the strategy of vocabulary comprehension, students also need to adopt
some strategies for memorizing words. As discussed in Chapter Two of this study,
psycholinguistic studies have found that words are stored as networks in the mental
lexicon. The networks are built up based on different associations of words, such as
semantic categories, relations of sounds, descriptive features. If words can be related
together by a kind of association, they will be easier to store in memory. Psycholinguistic
studies in Chinese have also found that Chinese characters form different associative
networks from those formed by English spelling, and that characters play a greater role in
memory than English words written in letters (Hoosain 1991). Moreover, “Chinese words
presented visually were remembered better than those presented orally” (Hoosain 1991, p
77). This is because characters represent meanings directly, and the visual code provides
useful cues for the recall of items which are not available in the phonological code. The
studies imply that word memory in Chinese can be greatly facilitated by the written form
of the words. Based on the properties of Chinese words, the following mnemonic
strategies can be taught to students at the intermediate level: grouping, recombination, and
categorization on the basis of written characters. Grouping is listing related words

215
together to enhance storage in memory. It was presented in Section 8.1.3 that students
can be taught to group characters with the same radical together to memorize them. That
is one type of grouping. In modern Chinese, many compounds share the same
root/morpheme/character, and the meanings of these compounds are related because of
the same component. All such compounds can be grouped together for memorization.
For example, students can be taught to list together the compounds containing the same
character for reviewing purposes. Word groupings may also be based on word structure:
words with the same structure type are grouped together. Recombination is to put
together smaller meaningful units into new combinations. While learning Chinese words,
L2 learners can be trained to recombine characters they have learned to make polysyllabic
words, and then further combine them into phrases and sentences. The teacher can give
students a productive morpheme/character, and the students give orally or write down all
the words they remember which contain that morpheme/character. After that, they make
sentences with those words. Categorization is to place together the words belonging to
the same semantic or syntactic category, such as furniture, instruments, professions,
courses, colors, temperature; or measure words, conjunctions, actions, and so on.
Channell (1988) claims that “vocabulary teaching should make overt associations between
semantically related words” (p. 90), and this is because vocabulary access in the mental
lexicon is via meanings. Several exercises can train students how to use this strategy. For
instance, 1) the teacher or the textbook provides a picture of an object, such as a house, a
car or a bicycle, and asks students to mark out each part of the object; 2) the instructor
lists a category and asks students to give as many words belonging to this category as they
can; and 3) when a new word is introduced, students are asked to place the word in

216
different categories as they see fit, and in the categories where the words can be linked
with other words they have learned.
In general, the main goal of vocabulary pedagogy for the students at the
intermediate Chinese level is to increase their potential vocabulary (the words they can
understand) as much as possible. In order to help L2 learners understand a large number
of new words quickly, two main tasks have to be accomplished in the instruction of
Chinese vocabulary: 1) teaching students Chinese morphology, i.e. the knowledge of
common morphemes, the structure types of Chinese words and the semantic patterns of
word components; and 2) training learners to use some effective strategies for inferring the
meanings of unfamiliar words and for memorizing a large number of new words. These
two tasks must be considered in textbook design. When certain words appear in texts,
related morphological knowledge and practice should also be introduced and designed.
Moreover, each text should not contain too many new words. Many current textbooks for
the intermediate-level students usually introduce more than 30 new lexical items in each
lesson. This design causes learners to feel overwhelmed by the task of not only
understanding the text but also trying to remember many new words in a short period of
time. According to the Input Theory of Krashen (1982, 1989), teaching methods succeed
according to the extent that there is comprehensible input. Sheer language exposure
without comprehension is often useless to acquisition. Therefore, the new words in each
text must be limited to a certain number so that they do not hinder comprehension of a
text. Furthermore, the current new words must repeatedly appear in the next few texts.
Then and only then can language exposure facilitate vocabulary comprehension and
storage.

217
8.3 Pedagogical Applications at the Advanced Level
At the advanced level, the goal of language teaching is to help L2 students reach a
near-native proficiency level. During this phase, L2 learners will continue to learn new
words through reading and listening. Moreover, they must practice producing longer
stretches of discourse, such as making oral presentations, discussing ideas and opinions,
and writing short papers. This is the time that learners get detailed comprehension or
precise knowledge of the words they have learned by listening and reading, and then
produce these words in their own speech and writing. Vocabulary tasks at this level are 1)
to develop the knowledge of potential words to be productive words, and 2) to learn more
words which are less frequently encountered. In order to accomplish these tasks, students
must be involved in more language interactions.
Vocabulary teaching at the advanced Chinese level involves all aspects of
language training: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Teaching methods should
include the following:
A. Helping L2 learners of Chinese infer the meanings of unfamiliar words
automatically At the advanced level, students will read a lot of Chinese material on
different topics, and they will also encounter many unfamiliar words in reading. Students
have to improve their reading speed and skill, and they cannot consult a dictionary for
every unfamiliar word. On the other hand, according to Han-vu Shui-Ping Ci-hui vu
Han-zi Deng-ji Da-gang «U jg 7ÍC ^ js| ill -5 ^ ^ WL ~k 2R» (Criteria for
Chinese Vocabulary and Characters at Different Proficiency Levels) (1992), only 700 new
characters are learned at the advanced level. This means many new words that L2 learners

218
encounter at this level are the combinations of familiar characters, and the meanings can be
inferred easily. Therefore, students must be encouraged to use the inferencing strategies
which they have learned earlier as often as they can in their readings. More practice in
using the strategies can be done both in or out of the classroom until learners can use this
method automatically.
B. Helping L2 learners turn their potential vocabulary into productive
vocabulary. A good way to increase language production is language interaction and
practice. Many exercises help L2 learners use words they already know in their language
production. For instance, students can try to fill in the blanks with appropriate words in
texts, to write papers with required words, or to translate short articles or stories with
required words and sentence structures from their LI into Chinese. A strategy of word
imagination, as suggested by some scholars (Zhang 1990, Lin 1997), can be taught to help
students remember words, and to create their associations and collocations. When a new
word and its meaning are learned, students are asked to give other Chinese words which
can be related to the new word. For example, when the new word hai-yang [sea-
ocean] ‘ocean’ is learned, students are asked to orally give other words associated with it:
M. shen ‘deep’, kuan-guang [wide-wide] ‘wide’, M lan ‘blue’, bo-lang [wave-
wave] ‘wave’, chuan ‘ship’, etc. This practice can help learners create word
associations in their minds, and when they want to produce Chinese, they can find the
proper words. Moreover, the strategy of categorization introduced at the intermediate
level can also be used at the advanced level.
C. Helping L2 learners understand collocations, social meanings and styles
of words. In each language, there are some words with similar semantic contents but that

219
are collocated with different lexical items and have different syntactic functions, style
registers or social meanings (i.e. to be used in different styles, to have emotional
differences or gender differences). Using words appropriately is an important task for L2
learners of Chinese, especially at the advanced level when more language production has
to occur. It has been found that collocations present a major learning problem for
advanced students (Bahns and Eldaw 1993). Beside observing usage and collocations of
words in reading and listening, students also have to be taught the different social
meanings and usage of words. Some practices with this focus in mind are helpful. For
example, 1) have students read some sentences or phrases which contain two or more
words with similar semantic meanings, and then ask them to find out the different
collocations and social meanings of these words by contexts; 2) give students some texts
together with words in different styles, and ask them to figure out which words fit in
which texts; and finally 3) give students some words of which the semantic meanings are
similar, and require them to make as many sentences as they can with these given words.
D. Introducing lexical phrases in Chinese. Vocabulary is not just words.
Besides the basic four types of Chinese words (monomorphemic words, reduplications,
Root-Affix words, compounds), there are other forms that might be considered lexical
items: abbreviations, idioms, and proverbs. All of these expressions are lexicalized phrases
with fixed or semi-fixed patterns and specific meanings, and they are stored and used as
single units. Moreover, there are also many situational utterances in Chinese, such as
interjections and sentence particles. Not all of them are basic and high-frequency lexical
items in Chinese, but they will be heard in speech and seen in reading, especially at the
advanced level, and will also lead to fluency in Chinese comprehension and production.

220
On the other hand, some of them may be difficult to understand simply through context,
and thus, are nearly impossible to acquire just by incidental language exposure. Therefore,
Chinese vocabulary instruction should teach them.
As discussed in Chapter Five, abbreviation can be regarded as a special word
pattern, and it is possible to shorten complex words and nominal phrases with more than
three syllables into abbreviations. Some general rules can guide the formation of
abbreviations (see Chapter 5). At the advanced level, students will encounter many
abbreviations in their reading. It is necessary to introduce the general principles of
formation for Chinese abbreviations in order to help students understand the meanings of
such special expressions. Both the original forms and the abbreviated forms should be
listed to show students how long words or expressions can be shortened. In the 3,569
words listed in Han-yu Shui-Ping Ci-hui yu Han-zi Deng-ii Da-gang «'i)L in ?k. T~ if]
jL 'iM M» (Criteria for Chinese Vocabulary and Characters at Different
Proficiency Levels) (1992) for the advanced-level students, abbreviations are not included.
However, it is better to list some common abbreviations and their original forms as a guide
in textbooks.
There are also many fixed idioms occurring in colloquial speech and reading
materials in Modern Chinese. Some of their meanings sometimes may be inferred from
context. Most idioms, however, are allusions to historical events and legends, and their
meanings are not easily inferred from either context or word structures. In order to
understand their meanings, students should be taught how the idioms are derived. Thus,
the historical events or legends associated with some commonly used idioms must be
introduced to students in order to help them better understand their meanings. As many

221
idioms are derived from classical Chinese, it will be beneficial for L2 learners at the
advanced level to learn some classical Chinese. Dictionaries of Chinese idioms are useful
tools to be introduced to the students at this stage.
As with idioms, the meanings of some proverbs may be understood through
contextual information, but most of them have to be taught. In Modern Chinese, there is a
unique type of proverb called xie-hou-yu’. They are composed of two parts.
The first part is a description which intended to be a riddle, and the second part is the
answer to the riddle and is often a metaphor or homonym of what is intended. For
example, Zhu bi-zi cha cong zhuang xiang (zhuang-
xiang) [pig nose insert green-onions — disguise elephant (pretend)] ‘to insert green
onions into the nose of a pig — to disguise as an elephant (i.e. to pretend)’. The second
part zhuang xiang is a homonym of another word zhuang-xiang which means
‘to pretend, to do something for appearance’s sake’, and this is the true meaning of the
proverb. Those proverbs use two rhetorical devices: riddle and homonym. They are not
easily understood by L2 learners of Chinese. Most often, only the first part is used, and
this makes it even harder to understand. In such cases, some elaborate and explanations
is needed.
Interjections and sentence particles are frequently used in colloquial Chinese. They
usually express people’s feelings, emotions, opinions and other modality meanings. From
the several studies on them (e g. Chao 1968, Chapter 8; Chu 1983, Section 1.5.2; Chu
1998, Chapter 4; Xu 1994), each interjection seems to have a core meaning from which
various interpretations are derived on the basis of the contexts. As they can hardly be
pinned down for precise meanings, L2 learners of Chinese learn only some specific uses

222
from the stage of the beginning Chinese level. At the advanced level, the core meanings of
such interjections and sentence particles can be introduced from which various
interpretations are derivable. It will help learners understand and produce coherent
Chinese discourse.
8.4 Conclusion
This chapter has discussed Chinese vocabulary pedagogy from the beginning level
class to the advanced level class. Table 8.2 below shows the suggested pedagogical
model. At the beginning level, vocabulary teaching must focus on basic characters by
introducing radicals and structures. A related strategy training is to teach students how to
use radicals to learn and remember characters. At the intermediate level, the main goal of
vocabulary teaching is to enlarge potential words of L2 learners and achieve the
production to some degree (i.e. to use them in some particular texts). Morphemes and
word structures must be introduced, and effective strategies for inferring the meanings of
unfamiliar words and strategies for memorizing new words should also be taught. At the
advanced level, the main goal is to help students to turn their potential words into
productive ones, that is, to use words they learned in a native-like manner. A great
quantity of language interactions are necessary. Inferencing should become an automatic
strategy used by students, and the strategy of word imagination can also be used to help
students create word associations and collocations. Moreover, abbreviations, proverbs,
idioms and the social meanings of words must also be introduced in vocabulary teaching in
this stage.

223
Table 8.2 The Vocabulary Pedagogy of CSL/CFL
Goal Content Strategy Training
Beginning Level
Basic Characters
Character Radicals
Character Structure
Core Characters and Words
Intermediate Level
1. To enlarge potential
words
2. Word Production
(Inter-language way)
High-frequency Words
Morphological Knowledge
Advanced Level
Word Production
(Native-like way)
Less-common or Fewer-frequency
Words and Lexical Phrases
Vocabulary Production
1. Character Decomposition
(to memorize characters by
radicals and components)
2. Radical Grouping (to
group characters with the
same radical together to
review)
1. Inferencing (to infer the
meanings of unfamiliar
words by contexts, word
structure and character
radicals.)
2. Contextualisation (to
learn new words in
contexts.)
3. Categorization (to relate
words by semantic
categories.)
4. Grouping (to group
compounds containing the
same component together
for memorization and
review.)
1. Inferencing
2. Language Interaction
3. Word Imagination (to
create collocational
associations of words)
This model is based on both the features of Chinese words and the properties of
SLA learning and teaching. It makes Chinese vocabulary teaching more systematic and
can help L2 learners of Chinese acquire Chinese words faster and more effectively.

224
Certainly, the degree of its efficacy still has to be tested in practical situation of vocabulary
learning and teaching in the future.

CHAPTER 9
CONCLUSIONS
This dissertation has studied problems on word acquisition of L2 learners of
Chinese, principles of Chinese word structure, and Chinese vocabulary pedagogy. It
consists of four main parts: 1) theories about words and word acquisition and their
implications, 2) experimental studies on the ways of dealing with unfamiliar words by both
native Chinese speakers and L2 learners of Chinese, 3) characteristics and general rules of
Chinese word structure and semantic meanings, and 4) a systematic pedagogy of Chinese
words to L2 learners.
Problems on L2 word acquisition did not attract much attention until the 1980s.
Since then, the area of study has been developing very fast and has achieved great results.
Theories of SLA point out that appropriate use of strategies contributes to success in
language acquisition. They also conclude that classroom instruction facilitates language
acquisition when it 1) can present modified language knowledge to match the stage of
learners’ acquisition process, 2) can provide and focus learners’ attention on language
rules that they cannot derive easily, 3) can train learners to use effective learning
strategies, and 4) can provide them with adequate opportunities for language interaction.
Psycholinguistic studies have found that morphological units of words are stored in the
mental lexicon, and that morphological structure plays an important role in word learning
of native speakers and is related directly to vocabulary performance and reading
225

226
achievement. This indicates that vocabulary acquisition and teaching must pay attention to
morphological knowledge of words.
Compared to the various studies of vocabulary acquisition in ESL/EFL, the study
of Chinese vocabulary acquisition lags so behind that little attention has been paid to it. In
Modern Chinese, words are morpheme based. More than 80% of words are compounds
and the meanings of many words can be inferred through their word structure and
component morphemes. Because of this, psycholinguistic studies on Chinese word
recognition have found that morphological structure is more important to vocabulary
recognition and lexicon memory in Chinese than in many other languages. However, the
features of Chinese vocabulary have not been taken advantage of in Chinese vocabulary
pedagogy.
In Chapters Three and Four, the results of experimental studies on word learning
problems of both native Chinese speakers and L2 learners of Chinese indicate that the
knowledge of word structure is very important in learning new words. By means of
surveys, tests and interviews, it has been found that native Chinese speakers frequently
infer the meanings of unfamiliar words in reading by contextual information,
morphological knowledge and the knowledge of character radicals. It was also found that
the higher educational level a native speaker was, the more inferences were performed and
more success was achieved. Conversely, L2 learners of Chinese seldom inferred the
meanings of unfamiliar words because they did not have enough knowledge of Chinese
word structure and character radicals. Furthermore, they lacked the strategy training
Most learners merely memorized Chinese words individually from their textbooks. As a
result, vocabulary learning was the hardest and most arduous task in their Chinese

227
acquisition. The results of the investigations indicate that, in order to speed up vocabulary
acquisition and lighten the heavy burden of acquiring an enormous number of words,
Chinese morphological knowledge and character radical knowledge must be incorporated
into classroom instruction, and that the strategies of inferring word meanings by such
knowledge also should be part of the training.
Chinese words consist of four main structure types: mono-morphemic words,
reduplications, root-affix, and root-root compounds. Abbreviation can also be regarded as
a special type. Except for mono-morphemic words, the syntactic functions and semantic
meanings of all other types, as discussed in Chapters Five and Six, are governed by
morphological and syntactic rules. All the rules can help L2 learners of Chinese
understand word meanings and know how to use them more easily and more effectively.
Moreover, as Chinese syllables are written in characters, character structures and radical
knowledge can also be used to get the meanings of words, either mono-morphemic or
poly-morphemic.
Chinese uses classifiers heavily. When a noun is modified by a numeral or a
demonstrative word, a measure word or classifier is needed. Moreover, verbs may also be
modified by numerals and specific measures. There are hundreds of measure words in
Chinese, and most of them are mono-morphemic in shape. The collocation of Chinese
classifiers and nouns is one of the most difficult tasks for L2 learners whose first languages
do not use classifiers as often. Chapter Seven shows that such collocations are governed
by the cognitive meanings of nouns and classifiers. If the cognitive meanings are explained
to L2 learners of Chinese, the learning difficulty can be notably reduced.

228
Chinese localizers are words or suffixes after nouns to express locations. If a
noun is not the proper name of a place, a localizer is needed when the noun follows a
locative or directional preposition. Chapter Seven lists all the localizers in Chinese and
discusses four most common locative suffixes in detail: _t shang ‘above; up’, T xia
‘down; below; under’, M U ‘inside’, and 4^ zhong ‘middle; center’. The appropriate use
of each is not easy for L2 learners because the choice is not entirely decided by syntactic
rules or by their semantic content. Native Chinese speakers use them on the basis of the
cognitive features of the objects, i.e. the perceptual properties of located trajectors and
their landmarks. In general, _t shang tells that the position of a trajector is relative to a
landmark below or under it. From this basic meaning, it indicates a position on/above the
surface of a landmark or at the top area of a landmark. The function can also be extended
to abstract concepts treated as two-dimensional surfaces by Chinese speakers. The
function of T xia is contrary to that of _t shang It basically indicates that the position of
a trajector is below or under a landmark (either attached to or below it) or in the bottom
area of a landmark. It can also be extended to abstract nouns for conditions, situations,
environments or atmospheres which can be viewed as landmarks covering an object. M h
indicates that the location of a trajector is relative to what is outside a landmark. By this
basic meaning, it tells that a position is inside a container, an area with borders or edges,
or inside a border or an edge of a space. Its function can be extended to state a location
inside a group of people, a period of time, a position or situation invisible or unknown to a
specific person or persons. 41 zhong means that the position of a trajector is in a
landmark and that it is only relative to the landmark itself. It generally refers to a position
in a space without a border/edges or its border/edges is/are ignored. As M //', it can also

229
indicate a position in a place/area or a group. By extension, it locates a position in a state
or a proceeding action. Only when L2 learners of Chinese know the cognitive meanings
of the locative suffixes and how Chinese speakers recognize objects perceptually can they
understand how to use those localizers.
Based on the study results in previous chapters, Chapter Eight discusses their
pedagogical implications at different Chinese levels and formulates a systematic
vocabulary pedagogy for the teaching of CFL/CSL. This study argues: at each level of
acquisition, L2 learners should learn not only proper words but also the relevant
knowledge of word structure, and they should be trained to use learning strategies in
different ways. At the beginning level, students should learn core words, basic radicals
and character structures. Meanwhile, they must be trained to use their knowledge of
radicals to learn and memorize new words. At the intermediate level, L2 learners of
Chinese will study high-frequency words and the knowledge of Chinese morphology.
Related strategy training includes how to understand, memorize and acquire new words by
contextual information, knowledge of word structure and character radicals. At the
advanced level, students will learn less common and lower-frequency words and lexical
phrases. For this purpose, they should have sufficient opportunities for language
interaction (including reading, writing, listening and speaking) to recognize and produce
Chinese vocabulary. Learners must use all the effective learning strategies they have been
trained before, and by language practice, turn their potential words into productive words
and use them in a native-like way.
This dissertation discusses problems of Chinese vocabulary learning and pedagogy
through the theories of SLA, the results of psycholinguistic studies, the experimental

230
results of Chinese word learning, and the properties of Chinese words. It is a work that
focuses on Chinese vocabulary acquisition in CFL/CSL and studies it systematically from
different aspects. This study has presented many problems in both Chinese vocabulary
acquisition and Chinese word study that have been so far ignored or unsettled. It has
attempted to solve some of them. I hope that it has provided some means for further
research on vocabulary acquisition in both SLA and CFL/CSL.

APPENDIX A
SURVEY AND WORD TEST FOR NATIVE CHINESE SPEAKERS
1. Survey
C A No if Xt 0f W ft S ft S ^
0^.
1 W * & * ¥ £
A/Jn^ B 4s ^ c d A ^ liA ±
a if 4c C A^ftéá
d
A 3, ± a *?/ ft * ^ ft ft B'J A
b
d g m n ai)
c°imngm)
a ±TA b c $ AsA
D ^M(i#?iJ ft)
231

232
2. Word Test
t n m £ ^ & w ^ n « a 4 ^ ^ a w ini, $ g * m n,
#g*igü3. ^^ieNftfeA, fá^mmifoín
W # S ( in: £ # fl tJ, » ft 3& tJ, 30. *f ^ * iA iR á it S it 3£
w^iti, í»-#*^#±ibi-§-“?”, #^a^ ¿b tsmmmm m wü
jb. b msp# ssc/tisa, it» */* «.
itüt # * 'h ? n W M S, it*l?5&j£inift®#A*fcE2rFfó*
X
A
Bi»H
MJM
MJSL
MM
M
ü
ÉU&
MM
is 3ft
MM
JS
$as
4r g;
St
M
u
BLM
E
£&
M
M
MJk
"S' M
feji
M
B
(1) & a mm ihj a m,
(2) & - ft ±JI
(3) &Aj3©3f^,
(4) gül ft 5$ "T fÉ £ »Pp.

233
(5)IlE0íffS, íUfflWWíK.
(6) HI =
(7) M íff fí.
(8) g# JLMo
(9) ?#Hjmi?ííf ism, je^míumm^iííi.
(10) Sftgpg*f^!4Mo
(íi)i^ín ® t 7jc ±, iíA jj& % m,
(12) 3á#^^r#'l4, X# “JLM” o
(13) ÍE p ±o
(14) _|$í F^J ít M oo o
(15) &ifaé¿i = ^)LiS itlfí.

APPENDIX B
SURVEY AND WORD TEST FOR L2 LEARNERS OF CLONESE
1. Survey
This survey is for studying the problems of Chinese vocabulary acquisition. Its
purpose is to find an effective way of learning vocabulary. The result will be kept in strict
confidentiality and will only be used in research. Your participation is completely
voluntary, and you do not have to answer any question that you do not wish to answer.
We highly appreciate your help and cooperation.
(1). Your first (native) language is:
(2). The other language(s) that you can speak is/are:
(3). You have finished the class of
a. beginning Chinese b. second year Chinese
c. third year Chinese d. fourth year Chinese or higher
(4). If you have taken the HSK test, your grade is:
(5). Usually your Chinese reading materials are (you can choose more than one
answer)
a. your textbooks b. Chinese newspapers
c. Chinese literary works d. other (specify)
(6). You think that Chinese words are
a. easy to learn b. somewhat hard to learn
234

235
c. hard to learn d. extremely hard to learn
(7). When you come across an unknown word in your Chinese reading, you
a. look it up a dictionary immediately
b. ignore it
c. just guess its meaning
d. guess its meaning first, then check on it by a dictionary
(8). The Chinese words that you have learned are mainly from
a.textbooks b. your outside reading
c. memorizing words directly from dictionaries
(9). How do you study Chinese words?
a. try to memorize the words in your textbooks only
b. try to memorize all words that you come across
c. try to memorize words by grouping together ones that are similar or contain
same characters
d. other (specify)
(10). Have you learned any knowledge about Chinese word structure before? If you have
learned, do you feel the knowledge is helpful to your Chinese word learning or not?
2. Word Test
foMMjrVkMmmiin: -Mti,
^)0 it-#

236
£$?#)
Please simply explain the meanings of the following underlined words without
consulting a dictionary. You can just explain them in terms of their general categories
(e g. an animal, a liquid, a plant, an action with hands or mouth, etc ). If there is a word
that you do not know, please mark it with “?”, and then try to guess the meaning. (Please
explain the meaning in Chinese or English)
A
(1)
MM
3L2I
M;
(2)
MTñ
M. ffi ÍÉ
MM
(3)
M
#«
a
(4)
M
(5)
M
B
O)7jc®±jfó s
(2) fÉ, HgT-ff
(3) JL % & fk T M, $ ÍI HLM°
(4.
(5)MiT-l^ XI».
(6) ^ ^ í ií 1 í, ^ ^ MJ! ^ ■? _t, ?ff j¡r JF
(7) 3% ffj fe If g 7 f-95 &#,
(8) m&, a 3s £ # w & *pi.

‘ÍflQUSi(Ol)
fe) w ffl # 1 % m ^ $ * l& % ^ YT (6)
LZZ

APPENDIX C
COMMON CHARACTER RADICALS
A ‘ten; hand; grass’
A ‘roof; shed’
lj (A) ‘knif
\ (A) ‘person’
A ‘depart; handle’
7 ‘ice’
A ('A ) ‘roof; cover’
A ‘wrap’
JL ‘person; child’
JL ( ) ‘small table; pass’
i (W) ‘speech’
P (left side) ‘mountain, hill’
P (right side) ‘village’
tj ‘arm; strength’
A ‘hand’
f (X) ‘hand’
X ‘work’
± ‘soil’
± ‘(commendable) person; soldier’
‘grass’
A ‘big, huge’
A ‘small
P ‘mouth’
HI ‘enclose; space; room’
rfl ‘cloth’
ill ‘mountain, hill’
f ‘foot; walk’
3 (A) ‘dog; fur-bearing animal
A ‘sun-set; evening’
X (t) ‘food’
A ‘roof; cover; space’
t (A) ‘heart’
|'l ‘door’
í' (7jC) ‘water’
i_ (A) ‘walk’
A ‘body; roof
^ ‘bow’
-f- ‘child; son’
A ‘woman’
* ‘silk’
Sf ‘horse’
X(X) ‘king; jade’
A ‘wood; tree’
W ‘die’
A ‘vehicle
A ‘dagger-axe’
H ‘earthenware’
if ‘toe; walk; stop’
0(0) ‘sun’
jH ‘shell; money’
JaL ‘see’
A ‘cattle’
238

239
3Í ‘hair’
% ‘air’
0 (Jt) ‘hand; literary’
/t ‘(wood) piece’
it ‘axe’
/It ‘claw’
X ‘father’
ft ‘moon; meat’
X ('"') ‘fire’
t (7K) ‘sacrifice; ceremony’
Ok ‘breathe out (with mouth)’
‘square’
F ‘door’
if ‘stone’
@ ‘eye’
m ‘field’
M ‘utensil; container’
Y (á£) ‘gold; metal’
7^ ‘standing grain’
É3 ‘white’
% ‘bird’
jT* ‘disease’
al ‘stand’
/C ‘cave; hole’
t (^) ‘cloth’
# ‘mother’
^ ‘ear’
JÍ ‘head; page’
it ‘insect; worm’
‘container’
IS- ‘tongue’
YS ‘bamboo’
g ‘self
‘boat’
‘sheep’
‘rice’
m ‘feather’
M ‘wine; brew’
ÍC ‘pig’
‘foot’
# ‘body’
M ‘rain’
it ‘teeth’
^ ‘animal’
/fe ‘(short tail) bird’
H ‘fish’
# ‘bone’
% ‘ghost’

APPENDIX D
COMMON CLASSIFIERS NOT DISCUSSED IN CHAPTER 7
(1) Arrangement
$ chuan ‘to string together; -> string; bunch’ classifies objects which are small
and are strung together: —Üpjfc-f yi chuan zhu-zi [one string bead] ‘a string of beads’,
chuan yaoshi [one string key] ‘a bunch of keys’.
'É!, bao ‘to wrap, to pack; -> bag; box’ classifies objects which are wrapped or
packed: —fiM^yi baoyi-fu [one bag clothes] ‘a bundle of clothes’, liang bao
yan [two box cigarette] ‘two packs/boxes of cigarettes’.
W- ding ‘top; -> to carry on the head’ only classifies caps, hats and helmets which
are worn on the head.
M dui ‘to pile up; to heap up -> heap, pile, stack’ classifies objects which are in
heap, pile or stack: —yi dui cao [one heap hay] ‘a heap of hay’, —^dL^yi dui
laji [one heap garbage] ‘a heap of garbage’.
^ fa ‘to send out; to shoot’ is the classifier for bullets and shells which are round
in shape and are projected from a projectile.
Éf feng ‘to seal’ only classifies letters which are usually sealed in envelopes.
^ juan ‘to roll up; to curl -> roll’ classifies objects which are rolled up: —
fifc&yi juan zhi / jiao-juan [one roll paper /plastic-roll ] ‘a roll of paper (tissue) / films’.
240

241
]^L shu ‘to bind, to tie; bundle, bunch’ is the classifier of objects which have
long-shapes and are tied together: —yi shu hua/cao/chai [one bunch
flower/hay/firewood] ‘a bunch of flowers/hays/firewood’.
(2) Division
M ceng ‘layer, tier’ classifies objects which are in different layers or stories. E.g.:
san ceng lou [three layer building] ‘a three-story building’, liang ceng zhi
[two layer paper] ‘two layers of papers’.
if fen ‘share, portion, set’: Wiiff-if liang fen gong-zuo [two portion work/job]
‘two (different) works/jobs’, san fen bao [three share newspaper] ‘three
newspapers’, |#l ifliang fen fan [two set meal] ‘two sets of a meal’.
hao ‘number’ classifies objects which are arranged in sequence and are marked
by numbers: san hao men [three number gate] ‘gate number three’, 7v=7$± liu
haoxie [six number shoe] ‘size-six shoes’.
/Ü jie ‘session’ is the classifier for conferences and meetings which are held
regularly and students who graduate in different years: di san jie yu-
yan-xue hui [DI three session language-study meeting] ‘the third conference of
linguistics’, si jie xue-sheng [four session student] ‘students graduated in four
years’, XA/ij-XikX jiu-ba jie bi-yie-sheng [98 session fmish-work-student] ‘graduates
of 1998’.
^ ji ‘to gather; to collect collection; volume; part’ is the classifier for books,
movies or TV plays which are in different volumes or parts.

242
(3) Instrument
mu ‘curtain; screen’ classifies stage plays: —Hü§|ílJ_y/ mu hua-ju [one curtain
speech-drama] ‘an act of modern-drama’.
(4) Location
chu ‘place’ is the classifier for homesteads, scenes, and errors or problems on
printed materials.
tang means ‘hall, main room’. It classifies class meetings (in school) and
lectures which are held in classrooms or auditoriums. It also classifies furniture which are
in a set to furnish a room or a hall.
Jjff suo ‘place’ classifies buildings, e.g. house, schools, institutes, hospitals, and
post-offices.
wei ‘site, seat’ is a polite term which classifies people, such as customers,
guests, friends, teachers, audience, etc. It never classifies derogatory forms for people like
ífJÜ huai-dan ‘rotten egg, bad guy’, zei ‘thief, zui-fan ‘criminal’. The
corresponding 'f- ge is used in a neutral sense.
zuo ‘seat, place’ classifies large objects which are in three-dimensional solid and
are firmly located at a place: mountains, hills, reservoirs, multi-stories or tall buildings,
bridges, sculptures and statues.
(5) Part of Object
féh dong ‘ridge-pole (of a house)’ is a classifier of houses and buildings.
If gan ‘pole, the shaft or arm of something’ classifies objects which have a long
arm or pole: flags, riffles, and steelyards.

243
hu ‘door’ is the specific classifier for households: KM- san hu ren-jia
[three door people-family] ‘three households’.
jia means ‘frame, rack’. It is the classifier for machines or something with a
frame or rack: cameras (generally, larger than those pocket-size one), airplanes, machine
guns, etc.
J-pj shan originally refers to ‘door board or (window) casement’. It is used as the
classifier for windows and doors.
^ tou ‘head’ classifies large mammals which have a large head or something in the
shape like a head. Eg.: cattle, sheep, lion, elephant, pig, bulb of garlic.
M wei ‘tail’ only classifies fish which have a wide and flat tail.
j§i zhan means ‘small cup’. In ancient time, a lamp has a cup-like container to
contain oil. Thus, zhan is the classifier for lamps and lights.
tifc zhu ‘tree trunk’ is the classifier of trees and other tree-like plants.
(6) Quality
^!] lie ‘row, line’ is the specific classifier only for trains and teams which are
arranged as lines. Perceptually, ^!] lie indicates that the line or row is continued and there
are no intervals between linked individuals.
ffl pai ‘row, line’ is the common classifier for a group of objects arranged in a line
or a row. Intervals may occur between the lined objects. For example, —yi pai shu
[a line tree] ‘a row of trees’, —yi pai fang-zi [a line house] ‘a row of houses’,
—W^t^yi pai shi-bing [one row soldiers ] ‘a line of soldiers’.
tit gen ‘root’ is the classifier for long solid objects which are usually cylindrical:
log, hair, branch (of tree), grass, match, stick, rope, cord, string, cable, and so on.

244
(jt) zhi means ‘branch’, it classifies short cylindricities which are straight,
inflexible and unwinding. E g.: pen, pencil, cigarette, and chalk. There is not a clear-cut
division between the ranges of objects that M gen and zhi apply. Some nouns,
such as 'j@ yan ‘cigarette’ and la-zhu [wax-candle] ‘candle’, can be classified by
either of them.
IS gn means ‘thigh’ and indicates ‘strand; skein’ as a classifier. It generally
describes the shape of several thin and long fiber-like objects combined into a thicker
string. The objects are usually flexible and winding. For instance, —yi
git sheng-zi/xian/tou-fa [one strand rope /thread /head-hair] ‘a strand (skein) of ropes
/threads /hair’. Moving water, air, stream, smell, strength, energy, etc. can also be
perceptually regarded as a string crawling from its source and may also be classified by
gu. E g.: Hang gu quan-shui [two GU spring-water] ‘two streams of spring
water, —yi gu xiang-wei [one GU fragrant-taste] ‘a whiff of fragrance’,
yi gu jing [one GU strength] ‘a burst of energy’.
kuai ‘piece’ classifies solid objects appearing as lumps or chunks: wood, bread,
cake, meat, bone, iron, board, soap, and so on. It can also be the classifier for some
objects which are flat but can be folded as a lump. For instance, cloth, and towel.
Jt" pian ‘thin piece, slice’ classifies objects which are in small and thin pieces. For
example, sliced meat, skin, bread and cake, cloud, snow, leaf, cloth, paper and glass which
are in small pieces. kuai indicates that the classified object is thick and in three-
dimensional shape, but In' pian shows that the object is thin and/or small and can be
viewed as two-dimensional.

245
@3 tuan ‘round’ is used with round or lumped objects which are also soft and
flexible: clay, dough, ground meat, wool, lumped paper. It differs from kuai by
consistency.
di means ‘to drip’ when it is a verb. As a classifier, it means ‘drop’ and only
classifies liquids which appear in small drops: tear, water, rain, eye drop, and blood.
A wan ‘small ball, pellet’ classifies objects which are round, solid and small. Such
as pill and bolus.
Ü li means ‘grain’ in classical Chinese and it classifies solid objects which are very
small and come in grains. For example, rice (cooked or uncooked), sand, seed, and bullet.
All the three classifiers '/¡tj di, A wan and f¿ li classify small objects and are
distinguished from other classifiers by size. Moreover, they also differ from each other by
materials (tjijj di for liquid or solid vs. A wan and fv li for solid), shape (A wan for round
vs. tv li for otherwise) and size (tv li for very small vs. A wan for otherwise).
Pi ke refers to ‘small and round things’, and it is the specific classifier for head and
heart. Moreover, it can also classify small and round objects like peanut, seed, sand and
bullet, just as ti // does.
(7) Quanta
tí da is a transliteration of English ‘dozen’, thus, it usually classifies merchandise
that come in dozens.
^!i bang ‘gang’ describes people in groups or bands, and mostly it is a derogatory
term.
\‘k huo ‘mess, group, crowd’ has the same function of and can be replaced by
bang.

246
If qun ‘group, school’ classifies people, animals or insects in groups. Eg.:
—If A yi qun ren [one group people] ‘a group of people’, —If ■yi qun yang [one
group sheep] ‘a flock of sheep’, —IfM yi qun yu [one group fish] ‘a school of fish’,
—|fí^Í!¡£>7 qun mayi [one group ant] ‘a nest of ants’.
fit pi ‘batch, lot, group’ classifies goods which are in batches and people who are
in sequential groups.
(8) Synonym
A ben had a meaning of‘book’ in classical Chinese, and it became the classifier of
all kinds of books as textbooks, magazines, dictionaries, novels, and so on.
Hf ce also means ‘book’. As a classifier, it refers to ‘volume’ or ‘copy’ which also
modifies books.
#5 Hang originally was the name of a cart or carriage which was drawn by one
horse (Li 1965, p. 3751). Later, it became the classifier of wheeled vehicles (except for
trains): car, truck, bicycle, motorcycle, carriage, cart, and so on.
ü pian ‘(finished) article’ is the classifier for articles and papers.
Al ju ‘sentence’ is used as the classifier for sentences.
M sou was one of the word for boat originally. In Modern Chinese, it is only used
as a classifier for all kinds of ships and boats.
ke ‘plant’ is the classifier of all plants like trees, grasses, weeds, crops, and
vegetables.
7^ duo refers to ‘flower’ originally. In Modern Chinese, it is used as a classifier
for flowers and something like a flower, such as clouds.

247
^ shetig ‘sound’ only classifies nouns which are related to voice or sound. For
example, (the sound of ) bell, thunder, and (the actions of) calling, shouting, yelling,
talking and so on.
(9) Time
$J! dim ‘pause’ is the classifier for meals and some harmful actions like beating,
hitting, complaint, refutation, criticizing, and scolding. It is also a measure word for the
verbs of these events.
qi ‘period, phase’ refers to ‘issue’ to classify magazines and journals. It also
classifies projects with the meaning of ‘phase’ and classifies training programs:
san qi gong-cheng [three phase projects] ‘three phases of a project’, W^ípiJllítE Hang qi
pei-xun ban [two time train class] ‘two classes of the training program’.
(10) Type
H fan ‘kind; time’ classifies intention and some actions like talk, fight, and
quarrel: —yi fan hao-yi [one kind good-intention] ‘good intention’, —yi
fan hua [one kind talk] ‘a talk’, —yi fan da-dou [one time fight-fight] ‘a fight’
lit jia ‘family’ is the classifier for shops, stores, restaurants and theories:
—1^45 Jíí yi jia shn-dian [one family book-store] ‘a bookstore’, —yijia xue-shuo
[one family study-speech] ‘a school of theory’.
M lei ‘class, type’ classifies objects or concepts which are grouped in some
categories, classes or types: M^A liang lei ren [two kind people] ‘two kinds of
people’, san lei ci [three class word] ‘three categories of words’.
¿¡ft xiang ‘item’ classifies abstract things which can be listed, such as policies,
principles, plans, explanations, and works (include missions and projects).

248
££ yang ‘shape, form, style’ classifies objects which are in some styles, shapes,
forms or kinds: san yang cai [three kind dish] ‘three dishes’, Hang
yang dong-xi [two kind thing] ‘two things (objects)’.
zhong ‘kind, type, class’ is a synonym of ^ lei, but it is used more frequently
than M lei. In taxonomy, zhong sometimes refers to the subcategory of ^ lei.

LIST OF REFERENCES
Aitchison, J. (1996). Taming the Wilderness: Words in the Mental Lexicon. Words.
Words. Words—The Translator and the Language Learner. Gunilla Anderman and
Margaret Rogers (eds), 15-26. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters LTD.
Allan, K. (1977). Classifiers. Language. Vol. 53, No. 2, 285-311.
Anderson, J. R. (1983). The Architecture of Cognition. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard
University Press.
Anglin, J. M. (1993). Vocabulary Development: A Morphological Analysis (Monographs
of the Society for Research in Child Development Serial No. 238 ). The
University of Chicago Press.
Baayen, H., C. Burani and R. Schreuder (1996). Effects of Semantic Markedness in the
Processing of Regular Nominal Singulars and Plurals in Italian. Yearbook of
Morphology 1996. Geert Booij and Jaap van Marie (eds ), 13-34. Netherlands:
Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Bahns, J. and M Eldaw (1993). Should We Teach EFL Students Collocations? System
21, 101-114.
Barnett, M. A. (1988). Reading through Context: How Real and Perceived Strategy
Use Affects L2 Comprehension. Modern Language Journal 72. 150-162.
Beauvillain, C. (1994). Morphological Structure in Visual Word Recognition: Evidence
from Prefixed and Suffixed Words. Morphological Structure. Lexical
Representation and Lexical Access. Dominiek Sandra and Marcus Taft (eds ), 317-
340. Hove (UK): Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
Bensoussan, M. (1992). Learners’ Spontaneous Translations in an L2 Reading
Comprehension Task: Vocabulary Knowledge and Use of Schemata. Vocabulary
and Applied Linguistics. Pierre J.L. Arnaud and Henri Bejoint (eds ), 102-112.
London: Macmillan Academic and Professional Ltd
Bentin, S. and R Frost (1995). Morphological Factors in Visual Word Identification in
Hebrew. Morphological Aspects of Language Processing. Laurie Beth Feldman
(ed.), 271-292. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
249

250
Bland, S. K., J. S. Noblitt, S. Armington and G. Gay (1990). The Native Lexical
Hypothesis: Evidence from Computer Assisted Language Learning. Modem
Language Journal 74, 440-450.
Bloomfield, L. (1933). Language. New York: Holt.
Brown, T. and F. Perry (1991). A Comparison of Three Learning Strategies for ESL
Vocabulary Acquisition. TESOL Quarterly Vol 25, No. 4, 655-670.
Caramazza, A., A. Laudanna, and C. Romani (1988). Lexical Acess and Inflectional
Morphology. Cognition 28, 297-332.
Carlisle, J. F. (1995). Morphological Awareness and Early Reading Achievement.
Morphological Aspects of Language Processing. Laurie Beth Feldman (ed ), 189-
210. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
Camine, D., E. J. Kameenui and G. Coyle (1984). Utilization of Contextual Information
in Determining the Meaning of Unfamiliar Words. Reading Research Quarterly
19, 188-204.
Carter, R. (1987). Vocabulary: Applied Linguistics Perspectives. London: Allen &
Unwin.
Carter, R. and M. McCarthy (1988). Vocabulary and Language Teaching. New York:
Longman Inc.
Chan, M. K.M. and James H-Y Tai (1994). From Nouns to Verbs: Verbalization in
Chinese Dialects and East Asian Languages. 6th North American Conference on
Chinese Linguistics. Jose Camacho and Lina Choueiri (eds), No. 2, 49-74
Channell, J. (1988). Psycholinguistic Considerations in the Study of L2 Vocabulary
Acquisition. Vocabulary and Language Teaching. Ronald Carter and Michael
McCarthy (eds.), 83-96. New York: Longman Inc.
Chao, Y. R. (1968). A Grammar of Spoken Chinese. Berkeley and Los Angeles:
University of California Press.
Chen, G. L. it )§í (1994). Han-vu Ci-fa Luti '/V ill '-ft, ifc CA Study of Chinese
Word Formation’). Shanghai: Xue-lin Press.
Chen, H. C. (1992). Reading Comprehension in Chinese: Implications from Character
Reading Times. Language Processing in Chinese. Chen, Hsuan-Chih and Ovid J.L.
Tzeng (eds ), 175-206. North-Holland: Elsevier Science Publishers B.V.

251
Chen, H. C. (ed.) (1997). Cognitive Processing of Chinese and Related Asian Language.
Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press.
Chen, H. C. and Ovid J.L. Tzeng (eds.) (1992). Language Processing in Chinese. North-
Holland: Elsevier Science Publishers B V.
Cheng, Z. H. (1998). The Teaching and Learning of Chinese Characters: A Pedagogical
Analysis. Chinese Studies Forum. Henry C.K. Chen (eds ), 173-185 Florida:
Florida-China Linkage Institute.
Chialant, D. and A. Caramazza (1995). Where is Morphology and How is it Processed?
The Case of Written Word Recognition. Morphological Aspects of Language
Processing. Laurie Beth Feldman (ed ), 55-76. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence
Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
Chu, C. C. (1983). A Reference Grammar of Mandarin Chinese for English Speakers.
New York: Peter Lang Publishing Inc.
Chu, C. C. (1998). A Discourse Grammar of Mandarin Chinese. New York: Peter Lang
Publishing Inc
Clahsen, H. (1996). The Representation of participles in the German Mental Lexicon:
Evidence for the Dual-Mechanism Model. Yearbook of Morphology 1996. Geert
Booij and Jaap van Marie (eds.), 73-95. Netherlands: Kluwer Academic
Publishers.
Clarke, D. F. and P. Nation (1980). Guessing the Meaning of Words from Context:
Strategy and Techniques. System 8, 211-220.
Coady, J. (1997). L2 Vocabulary Acquisition through Extensive Reading. Second
Language Vocabulary Acquisition. James Coady and Thomas Huckin (eds.), 225-
237. Cambridge University Press.
Cohen, A. D (1998). Strategies in Learning and Using a Second Language. London:
Longman.
Cohen, A. D. and E. Aphek (1981). Easifying Second Language Learning. Studies in
Second Language Acquisition 3, 221-236.
Corson, D. (1995). Using English Words. The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic
Publishers.
Cui, Y. H. and J. Z. Yang (1997). Dui-wai Han-yu Ke-tang Jiao-xue Ji-

252
qiao (Techniques in Classroom Instruction of Teaching
Chinese as a Second/Foreign Language’). Beijing: The Press of Beijing Language
and Culture University.
Dai, J. X.-L. (1992). Chinese Morphology and Its Interface with the Syntax. Ph D.
dissertation. The Ohio State University.
Dai, J. X.-L. (1994). Nominal Inflection and Morphosyntactic Government in the
Deservative Construction in Chinese. Journal of Chinese Linguistics. Vol. 22, No.
2, 248-276.
Dai, J. X.-L (1998). Syntactic, Phonological, and Morphological Words in Chinese.
New Approaches to Chinese Word Formation. Jerome L. Packard (ed), 103-134.
New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Di Sciullo, A.-M. and E. Williams (1987). On the Definition of Word. Cambridge, MA:
MIT Press.
Dow, D. M. ÜÜÍBJil (1983). Han-vu Yu-fa y% iu ia (‘Chinese Grammar’). Scotland:
Edinburgh University.
Ellis, R (1987). Contextual Variability in Second Language Acquisition and the
Relevancy of Language Teaching. Second Language Acquisition in Context. Ellis
Rod (ed.). London: Prentice-Hall International.
Ellis, R. (1994). The Study of Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University
Press.
Everson, M. E. and C. Ke (1997). An Inquiry into the Reading Strategies of
Intermediate and Advanced Learners of Chinese as a Foreign Language. Journal
of the Chinese Language Teachers Association. Vol. 32, No. 1, 1-20.
Faerch, C., K. Haastrup, and R. Phillopson (1984). Learner Language and Language
Learning. Copenhagen: Ggyldendals sprogbibliotek.
Fei, J. C. (1996). Xian-dai Han-zi Bu-jian Tan-jiu Si ft ÍX ^ tfP '9Í (‘A
Study of Character Components in Modern Chinese’). Yu-yan Wen-zi Yins-vons
in' eT It ^ Jy. SÍ (‘Applied Linguistics’) (Beijing) 18, 20-26.
Feldman, L. B (ed.)(1995). Morphological Aspects of Language Processing.
Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
Flores d’Arcáis, G. B. (1992). Graphemic, Phonological, and Semantic Activation

253
Processes during the Recognition of Chinese Characters. Language Processing in
Chinese. Hsuan-Chih Chen and Ovid J.L. Tzeng (eds.), 37-66. North-Holland:
Elsevier Science Publishers B Y.
Fraser, C. A. (1999). Lexical Processing Strategy use and Vocabulary Learning
through Reading. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 21, 225-241.
Fu, H. Q. Hf (1985). Xian-dai Han-vu Ci-hui Fil ft fa i»J '/T. (‘Vocabulary of
Modern Chinese’). Beijing: Beijing University Press.
Gairns, R. and S. Redman (1986). Working with Words. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.
Gao, Y. D. jijjlrji, G. Q. Li ^§3$ and X. Guo fPilfi (1993). Wai-guo-ren Xue-xi vu
Shi-vong Han-vu Qing-kuang Diao-cha Yan-iiu Bao-sao fth IH Á ' XS Mi
'fiL fa 'Ilf ^ 'n' (‘A Report on the Investigation and Study of
Foreigners Learning and Using Chinese’). Beijing: Beijing Language Institute
Press
Gass, S. M. (1987). Introduction: The Use and Acquisition of the Second Language
Lexicon. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 9. 129-132.
Gass, S. M. (1999). Discussion—Incidental Vocabulary Learning. Studies in Second
Language Acquisition 21. 319-333.
Gasser, M. (1996). Transfer in a Connectionist Model of the Acquisition of
Morphology. Yearbook of Morphology 1996. Geert Booij and Jaap van Marie
(eds.), 97-115. Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Grabe, W. and F. L. Stoller (1997). Reading and Vocabulary Development in a Second
Language: A Case Study. Second Language Vocabulary Acquisition. James
Coady and Thomas Huckin (eds.), 98-122. Cambridge University Press.
Gong, J. Z. (1994). Han-zi Xing Yin Guan-xi Gai-shuo ÍX ^ Jfc tí 7c % Wí
(‘A General Study of Phonetic and Morphemic Components in Chinese
Characters’). Chinese Language Review (Hong Kong) 46. 31-36.
Gu, Y. (1992). The Syntax of Resultative and Causative Compounds in Chinese.
Doctoral Dissertation, Cornell University.
Hacken, P. T. (1994). Defining Morphology. Hildesheim, Germany: Geory Olms Verlag.

254
i
Han-yu Shui-ping Deng-ii Biao-zhun yu Deng-ii Da-gang '{H in 7k. Ff- fe te W. ki ^
YU fi M (‘The Criteria of Chinese Proficiency Levels’) (1988). Beijing: Beijing
Language Institute Press
Han-yu Shui-ping Ci-hui yu Han-zi Deng-ii Da-gang ii'XiiHvlcXHflljL
(‘Criteria for Chinese Vocabulary and Characters at Different Proficiency Levels’!
(1992). Beijing: Beijing Language and Culture University (former Beijing
Language Institute) Press.
Henriksen, B. (1999). Three Dimensions of Vocabulary Development. Studies in
Second Language Acquisition 21, 303-317.
Hoosain, R. (1991). Psvcholinguistic Implications for Linguistic Relativity: A Case Study
of Chinese. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
Hoosain, R. (1992). Psychological Reality of the Word in Chinese. Language Processing
in Chinese. Hsuan-Chih Chen and Ovid J.L. Tzeng (eds ), 111-130. North-
Holland: Elsevier Science Publishers B.V.
Hu, M. Y. (1996). Ci-lei Wen-ti Kao-cha jW] # I'uJ 1^1 ^ (‘Observations on
Word Categories’). Beijing: Beijing Language Institute Press.
Huang, B. Y. (1997). Fu-yu Ci-qun de Yu-yiyu Yu-yong % iff (jf (Kj in' X
Lj jfj- ftj (‘The Meaning and Function of Compound Words’). Papers from the
Fifth Conference of Chinese Teaching in the World. Language Analysis Group.
275-279. Taiwan: Association of Chinese Education in the World.
Huang, P. R. H ^ ^ (1996). Han-zi Bu-jian Jiao-xue-fa '(X '-f fiP 14'- Wi '=Y fk (‘A
Pedagogy for Teaching Components of Chinese Characters’). Hua-wen Shi-iie
It tft (The World of Chinese Language) 81, 57-69.
Huang, S. F. (1998). Chinese as a Headless Language in Compounding Morphology.
New Approaches to Chinese Word Formation. Jerome L. Packard (ed ), 261-283.
New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Huang, X. N. Jlf (1993). Dui-bi Fang-fa zai Ci-hui Jiao-xie zhong de Ying-yong
Xt(‘A Contrastive Approach to Vocabulary
Teaching’). Zhong-guo Dui-wai Han-yu Jiao-xue Xue-hui Di-si-ci Xue-shu Tao-
lun-hui Lun-wen-xuan 4a PI Xf fth ~/X ÍÜ 4) HU if M Lf tfc 4? ifc
^t (‘Selected Papers from the Fourth Conference of the Association of
Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language’). 415-426. Beijing: Beijing Language
Institute Press.

255
Huang, Zhen-ying if (1994). Chu-ji Jie-duan Han-yu Ci-hui Jiao-xue de Ji-zhong
Fang-fa (‘Approaches to Chinese
Vocabulary Teaching at Beginning Level’). Shi-iie Han-yu Jiao-xue
(Chinese Teaching In the World). No. 3, 64-66.
Huckin, T. and J. Coady (1999). Incidental Vocabulary Acquisition in a Second
Language—A Review. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 21, 181-193.
Hulstijn, J. H. (1992). Retention of Inferred and Given Word Meanings: Experiments in
Incidental Vocabulary Learning. Vocabulary and Applied Linguistics, Pierre J.L.
Arnaud and Henri Bejoint (eds.), 113-125. London: Macmillan Academic and
Professional Ltd.
Hulstijn, J. H. (1993). When Do Foreign-Language Readers Look Up the Meaning of
Unfamiliar Words? The Influence of Task and Learner Variable. The Modem
Language Journal 77. 139-147.
Hulstijn, J. H. (1997). Mnemonic Methods in Foreign Language Vocabulary Learning:
Theoretical Considerations and Pedagogical Implications. Second Language
Vocabulary Acquisition. James Coady and Thomas Huckin (eds.), 203-224.
United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
Jackson, H. (1988). Words and Their Meaning. New York: Longman Inc.
Jin, X. C. (1991). Modularity and Chinese Compounds. Journal of Chinese Language
Teachers Association. Vol. 26, No. 1, 33-47.
Kang-xi Zi-dian jjl ^ H (‘The Dicationarv of Characters in Kangxi’l (1996). Zhang,
Yu-shu ^ (ed.) and Wang, Yin-zhi j£ ¿ (checked) in Qing Dynasty.
Shanghai: Shanghai Gu-ji Chu-ban-she (Shanghai Classical Books Press).
Ke, C. R. (1998). Effects of Strategies on the Learning of Chinese Characters among
Foreign Language Students. Journal of the Chinese Language Teachers
Association. Vol. 33, No. 2, 93-112.
Kess, J. F. (1992). Psycholinguistics: Psychology, Linguistics, and the Study of Natural
language. Amsterdan and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Koda, K. (1988). Cognitive Process in Second Language Reading: Transfer of LI
Reading Skills and Strategies. Second Language Research. Vol. 4, No. 2, 133-
156.
Krashen, S D. (1981). Second Language Acquisition and Second Language Learning.
Oxford: Pergamon Press.

256
Krashen, S. D. (1982). Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition. Oxford:
Pergamon Press.
Krashen, S. D. (1985). The Input Hypothesis: Issues and Implications. London:
Longman.
Krashen, S. D. (1989). We Acquire Vocabulary and Spelling by Reading: Additional
Evidence For the Input Hypothesis. The Modern Language Journal 73, 440-464.
Langacker, R. (1987). Foundations of Cognitive Grammar (Yol. 1)—Theoretical
Prerequisites. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Langacker, R. (1988). A View of Linguistic Semantics. Topics in Cognitive Linguistics,
Brygida Rudzka-Ostyn (ed ), 49-90. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John
Benjamins.
Laudanna, A., C. Burani and A. Cermele (1994). Prefixes as Processing Units.
Morphological Structure. Lexical Representation and Lexical Access. Dominiek
Sandra and Marcus Taft (eds.), 295-316. Hove (UK): Lawrence Erlbaum
Associates, Publishers.
Laufer, B. (1986). Possible Changes towards Vocabulary Acquisition Research
International Review of Applied Linguistics XXIV, 69-75.
Laufer, B. (1992). How Much Lexis is Necessary for Reading Comprehension.
Vocabulary and Applied Linguistics. Pierre J.L. Arnaud & Henri Bejoint (eds ),
126-132. London: Macmillan Academic and Professional Ltd.
Li, C. N. and S. A. Thompson (1981). Mandarin Chinese: A Functional Reference
Grammar. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
Li, H. and H. C. Chen (1997). Processing of Radicals in Chinese Character Recognition.
Cognitive Processing of Chinese and Related Asian Languages. Hsuan-Chih Chen
(eds ), 141-160. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press.
Li, J. Z. ^ lijft (1965). Zhong-hna Zi Yuan 1 [' 'Y: M (‘The Sources of Chinese
Characters’!. Taiwan: Zhong-hua Shu-ju.
Li, S. Z. ^ 1ft (1997). Guan-yu Yue-du Jiao-xue de Ji-dian Si-kao 7c cf1 j$] il?
^ (Kj /L Á # (‘Some Thoughts of Teaching Problems in Chinese Reading’).
Shi-iie Han-yu Jiao-xue (Chinese Teaching in the World!. No. 1,
78-81.
Li Y. F. (1990). On V-V Compounds in Chinese. Natural Language and Linguistic
Theory 8. 177-207.

257
Lieber, R. (1980). The Organization of the Lexicon. PhD. dissertation, MIT.
Lieber, R. (1992). Deconstructing Morphology. The University of Chicago Press.
Lightbown, P. (1985). Can Language Acquisition be Altered by Instruction? Modeling
and Assessing Second Language Acquisition, Hyltenstam, K. and M. Pienemann
(eds ). Clevedon, Avon: Multilingual Matters.
Lin, Q. Z. ^ ^ (1997). Zhong-wen Zi-ci Lian-xiang Yan-jiu yu Hua-yu-wen Ci-hui
Jiao-xue ^ X ? iBj §& M. W % tX in' X ÍC Wi ^ (‘The Association of
Chinese Words and Chinese Vocabulary Teaching’). Papers from the Fifth
Conference of Chinese Teaching in the World. Language Instruction Volume. 23-
32. Taiwan: Association of Chinese Education in the World
Liu, I. (1985). The Processes of Learning Chinese: Toward an Integrated Teaching
Method. Journal of Chinese Language Teachers Association. Vol 20, No. 3, 51-
70.
Liu, J. (1992). Bridging Language and Culture: A Cognitive Approach to the Study
of Chinese Compounds. Journal of Chinese Language Teachers Association. Vol.
27, No. 3, 1-19.
Liu, J. tOJ (1990). Han-yu Chao-gao-pin-ci Fen-lei Tong-ji yu Fen-xi '¡X in M
m ^ XY tff (‘Statistics and Analysis of Ultra-high Frequency Words
in Chinese’). Yu-van-xue yu Han-vu Jiao-xue in f ^ -^i if % É -j/r
(Linguistics and Chinese teaching! Hu, Sheng-Lun (ed.), 266-278.
Beijing: Beijing Language Institute Press.
Liu, J. ^Ij tg (1997). Dui-wai Han-yu Jin-yi-ci Jiao-xue Man-tan X'f 9Y 'IX iu XL X M
^ 'ill 1$. (‘About the Teaching of Synonyms in Chinese as a Foreign
Language’). Yu-van Wen-zi Ying-yong in X ' Y ¡X. Iti (Applied Linguistics')
21, 18-22.
Liu, S. X ^lj iff (1990a). Han-vu Miao-xie Ci-hui-xue 'X iu X UJ il . X- (‘Chinese
Descriptive Lexicology’!. Beijing: Shang-wu Yin-shu-guan (Shang-wu Press).
Liu, S. X*!j IX (1990b). Fu-he-ci Jie-gou de Ci-hui Shu-xing S o’ U] -n VAi W U]
it M '14 (‘Lexical Features of Compounds’). Zhong-guo Yu-wen 41 § in X
(Chinese Language!. No. 4, 241-247.
Liu, Y. and D. L. Peng (1997). Meaning Access of Chinese Compounds and Its Time
Course. Cognitive Processing of Chinese and Related Asian Language. Hsuan-
Chih Chen (ed.), 219-232. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press.

258
Long, M. (1981). Input, Interaction and Second Language Acquisition. Native Language
and Foreign Acquisition. Winitz, H. (ed.), Annals of the New York Academy of
Sciences, 379.
Long, M. (1983). Does Second Language Instruction Make a Difference? A Review of
the Research. TESOL Quarterly 17, 359-382.
Long, M. (1985). Input and Second Language Acquisition Theory. Input in Second
Language Acquisition. Gass, S. and C. Madden (eds.), Rowley, Mass.: Newbury
House.
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (1989). New York: Longman Inc.
Lu, Z. W. Piíf M ff* (1964). Han-yu de Gou-ci-fa fj. fa ffi] i^l (Chinese Word
Formation). Beijing: Scientific Publishing Co.
Maiguashca, R. U. (1993). Teaching and Learning Vocabulary in a Second Language:
Past, Present, and Future Directions. Canadian Modern Language Review 50, 83-
100.
Mattingly, I. G. and P. Hsiao (1997). Constituent Superiority in Chinese. Cognitive
Processing of Chinese and Related Asian Languages. Hsan-Chih Chen (ed ), 207-
218. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press.
Meara, P. (1981). Vocabulary Acquisition: A Neglected Aspect of Language Learning.
Language Teaching and Linguistics Abstracts 13, 221-246.
Meara, P. (1996). The Classical Research in L2 Vocabulary Acquisition. Words.
Words. Words — The Translator and the Language Learner. Gunilla Anderman
and Margaret Rogers (eds.), 27-40. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters LTD.
Meisel, J., H. Clahsen and M. Pienemann (1981). On Determining Developmental Stages
in Natural Second Language Acquisition. Studies in Second Language Acquisition
3, 109-135.
Morgan, J. and M. Rinvolucri (1986). Vocabulary. Oxford University Press.
Nation, P. (1990). Teaching and Learning Vocabulary. New York: Newbury House.
Nation, P. and J. Newton (1997). Teaching Vocabulary. Second Language Vocabulary
Acquisition. James Coady and Thomas Huckin (eds ), 238-254. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Nattinger, J. (1988). Some Current Trends in Vocabulary Teaching. Vocabulary and

259
Language Teaching. Ronald Carter and Michael McCarthy (eds). London:
Longman
O’Malley, J. and A. Chamot (1990). Learning Strategies in Second Language
Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Olshtain, E. (1987). The Acquisition of New Word Formation Processes in Second
Language Acquisition. Studies of Second Language Acquisition 9, 221-232.
Oxford, R L. and R. C. Scarcella (1994). Second Language Vocabulary Learning among
Adults: State of the Art in Vocabulary Instruction. System 22, 231-243.
Packard, J. L. (1990). A Lexical Morphology Approach to Word Formation in Mandarin.
Yearbook of Morphology 3. Geert Booij & Jaap van Marie (eds ), 21-37.
Dordrecht Foris.
Palmberg, R. (1987). Patterns of Vocabulary Development in Foreign-Language
Learners. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 9, 201-220.
Paribakht, T. S. and M. Wesche (1997). Vocabulary Enhancement Activities and
Reading for Meaning in Second Language Acquisition. Second Language
Vocabulary Acquisition. James Coady and Thomas Huckin (eds.), 174-201.
Cambridge University Press.
Paribakht, T. S. and M. Wesche (1999). Reading and “Incidental” L2 Vocabulary
Acquisition. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 21. 195-224.
Parry, K. (1997). Vocabulary and Comprehension: Two Portraits. Second Language
Vocabulary Acquisition. James Coady and Thomas Huckin (eds.), 55-68
Pavesi, M. (1986). Markedness, Discoursal Modes and Relative Clause Formation in a
Formal and Informal Context. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 8, 38-55.
Peng, D. L , Y. P. Li and H. Yang (1997). Orthographic Processing in the Identification
of Chinese Characters. Cognitive Processing of Chinese and Related Asian
Languages, Hsuan-Chih Chen (ed ), 85-108. Hong Kong: The Chinese University
Press.
Perkins, K. and D. Larsen-Freeman (1979). The Effects of Formal Language Instruction
in the Order of Morpheme Acquisition. Language Learning 25, 237-243.
Pickering, M. (1982). Context-Free and Context-Dependent Vocabulary Learning:
An Experiment. System 10, 79-83.

260
Pickett, G. (1978). The Foreign Language Learning Process. London: The British
Council.
Pienemann, M. (1984). Psychological Constraints on the Teachability of Languages.
Studies in Second Language Acquisition 6. 186-214.
Pienemann, M. (1985). Learnability and Syllabus Construction. Modelling and Assessing
Second Language Acquisition. Hyltenstam, K. and M. Pienemann (eds.)
Clevedon, Avon: Multilingual Matters.
Pienemann, M. (1989). Is Language Teachable? Psycholinguistic Experiments and
Hypotheses. Applied Linguistics 10, 52-92.
Qi, G. Y. !•$, 'M (1992). Han-yu de Ci he Ci-yu ÍX if) wl >f'H in] iff (‘Words and
Phrases in Chinese’). Shcm-xi Da-xue Xue-bao LÜ fll K -r: -r- iff (Journal of
Shanxi University). No. 1, 34-38
Rosch, E. (1978). Principles of Categorization Cognition and Categorization. Eleanor
Rosch and Barbara B. Lloyd (eds.), 27-47. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence
Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
Ross, C. (1985). Compound Nouns in Mandarin. Journal of Chinese Language Teachers
Association. Vol. 20, No. 3, 1-22.
Sanaoui, R. (1995). Adult Learners’ Approaches to Learning Vocabulary in Second
Languages. The Modern Language Journal 79. 15-28.
Sandra, D. (1994a). Morphology in the Reader’s Mental Lexicon. Frankfurt am Main:
Peter Lang.
Sandra, D. (1994b). The Morphology of the Mental Lexicon: Internal Word Structure
Viewed from a Psycholinguistic Perspective. Morphological Structure. Lexical
Representation and Lexical Access. Dominiek Sandra and Marcus Taft (eds ), 227-
269. Hove (UK): Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.
Schenck, E. M. (1982). Vocabulary Acquisition Strategies and Vocabulary Performance
of Students in Four Allied Health Professions Training Programs. Ph D.
Dissertation University of Florida
Scherfer, P. (1993). Indirect L2-Vocabulary Learning. Linguistics 31, 1141-1153.
Schmitt, N. and P. Meara (1997). Researching Vocabulary through a Word Knowledge
Framework. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 19, 17-36.
Selkirk, E. (1982). The Syntax of Words. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

261
Sharwood Smith, M. (1981). Consciousness-raising and the Second Language Learner.
Applied Linguistics 2. 159-169.
Shen, W. W. it # # (1997). Zi-hui Xue-xi Fang-fa Lun
(‘Strategies of Vocabulary Acquisition’). Papers from the Fifth Conference of
Chinese Teaching in the World. Instruction Group. 13-20. Taiwan: Association of
Chinese Education in the World.
Shi, Z. Y. (1990). Xian-dai Han-yu Li-he Dong-ci de Jie-gou he Te-dian
(‘The Structure and Characteristics of
“Separation-Union” Verbs in Modern Chinese’). Yu-yan-xue vu Han-vu Jiao-xue
(Linguistics and Chinese Teaching). Hu, Sheng-Lun
(ed.), 31-35. Beijing: Beijing Language Institute Press.
Shu, H. and R. C. Anderson (1997). Role of Radical Awareness in the Character and
Word Acquisition of Chinese Children. Reading Research Quarterly, Vol. 32, No.
1, 78-89.
Shu, H., R. C. Anderson and H. C. Zhang (1995). Incidental Learning of Word Meanings
While Reading: A Chinese and American Cross-Culture Study. Reading Research
Quarterly. Vol. 30, No. 1, 76-95.
Siegel, D. (1979). Topics in English Morphology. New York: Garland.
Smith, P. T. (1995). Are Morphemes Really Necessary? Morphological Aspects of
Language Processing. Laurie Beth Feldman (ed ), 365-382. Hillsdale, New Jersey:
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
Spencer, A. (1991). Morphological Theory. Oxford: Blackwell Press.
Sproat, R. and C. L. Shih (1993). Why Mandarin Morphology is not Stratum-ordered.
Yearbook of Morphology 1992. 185-217.
Sproat, R. and C. L. Shih (1996). A Corpus-based Analysis of Mandarin Nominal Root
Compound. Journal of East Asian Linguistics. Vol. 5, No. 1, 49-71.
Stahl, S. A. and M. M. Fairbanks (1986). The Effect of Vocabulary Instruction: A Model-
based Meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research. Vol. 56„ No.l, 72-110.
Stanovich, K. E. (1991). Word Recognition: Changing Perspectives. Handbook of
Reading Research. R Barr, M L. Kamil, P Mosenthal, and P.D. Pearson (eds),
418-452. New York: Longman.
Starosta, S., K. Kuiper, S. A. Ng, and Z. Q. Wu (1998). On Defining the Chinese

262
Compound Work: Headedness in Chinese Compounding and Chinese VR
Compounds. New Approaches to Chinese Word Formation. Jerome L. Packard
(ed.), 347-370. New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Su, X. C. (1994). Lun Dan-yin-ci Zai Han-yu Zhong de He-xin Di-wei t=T
Ü3 ÍX. io 4^ IK '0 Mk ÍÍL (‘The Core Status of Monosyllabic Words in
Chinese’). Chinese Language Review (Hong Kong) 46, 37-42.
Summer, D. (1988). The Role of Dictionaries in Language Learning. Vocabulary and
Language Teaching. Ronald Carter and Michael McCarthy (eds.), 111-125.
London: Longman.
Swain, M. (1985). Communicative Competence: Some Roles of Comprehensible Input
and Comprehensible Output in its Development. Input in Second Language
Acquisition. Gass, S. and C. Madden (eds.). Rowley, Mass.: Newbury House.
Tai, J. H-Y. (1994). Chinese Classifier System and Human Categorization. In Honor
of William S-Y Wang: Interdisciplinary Studies on Language and Language
Change. Mattew Y. Chen and Ovid J.L. Tzeng (eds.), 479-494. Taipei, Taiwan:
Pyramid Press.
Tai, J. H-Y. (1997). Category Shifts and Word-Formation Redundancy Rules in Chinese.
Chinese Languages and Linguistics III: Morphology and Lexicon. 435-468.
Taipei, Taiwan: The Institute of History and Philology Academia Sínica.
Tang, T. C. (1994). On the Relation between Word-Syntax and Sentence-Syntax: A
Case Study in Chinese Compound Verbs In Honor of William S-Y, Wang:
Interdisciplinary Studies on Language and Language Change. Matthew Y. Chen
and Ovid J. L. Tzeng (eds.), 495-530. Taipei: Pyramid Press.
Tarone, E. (1983). On the Variability of Interlanguage Systems. Applied Linguistics 4,
143-163.
Taylor, I. (1990). Psycholoinguistics: Learning and Using Language. Englewood
Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc.
Teng, S-Hs. (1977). A Grammar of Verb-Particles in Chinese. Journal of Chinese
Linguistics 5. 1-25.
Wan, R. F. (1989). Yu-su Jiao-xue de Di-wei yu Jiao-cai de Bian-xie
(‘the Status of Teaching Morphemes and the
Design of textbooks’). Zhong-guo Dui-wai Han-yu Jiao-xue Xue-hui Di-san ci
Tao-lun-hui Lun-wen-Xuan 4a HI fth '?%. iff ^ ^ H H JX ^ Ft tfc
zr ife (Selected Papers from the Third Conference of the Association of

263
Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language). 196-207. Beijing: Beijing Language
Institute Press.
Wang, H. iE JT (ed.) (1986). Xian-dai Han-yu Pin-lu Ci-dian Y\[ ft TJ jp M i»] ft
(‘A Word-Frequency Dictionary of Modern Chinese’). Beijing: Beijing Language
Institute Press.
Wang, Y. M. (1994). Han-yu Chang-yong-ci Fen-xi ji Ci-hui Jiao-xue 'iJL in
FO ft Iff FO fC ^ ^ (‘Analysis of Frequently Used Words in Chinese and
Vocabulary Teaching’). Shi-iie Han-yu Jiao-xue 111; # Í)L in Wi (Chinese
Teaching in the World). No. 2, 58-62.
Wang, Z. R. (1995). Adjective-Noun Construction in Modern Chinese. Papers of 7th
North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics and 4th International
Conference on Chinese Linguistics. 303-316.
Weaver, S. and A. Cohen (1998). Making Strategy Training a Reality in the Foreign
Language Curriculum. Strategies in Learning and Using a Second Language.
Andrew Cohen, Chapter 4, 66-97. London: Longman.
Wiebusch, T. (1995). Quantification and Qualification: Two Competing Functions of
Numeral Classifiers in the Light of the Radical System of the Chinese Script.
Journal of Chinese Linguistics. Vol. 23, No. 2, 1-37.
Williams, E. (1981). On the Notions ‘Lexically Related’ and ‘Head of a Word’.
Linguistic Inquiry 12, 245-274.
Wu, R. F. MtTtT (1993). Han-zi Sheng-pang de Yin-bianyu Ren-du IX ^ ^ W W
ÍA, (‘The Phonetic Changing and Reading of Phonetic Components in
Chinese Characters’). Zhons-guo Dui-wai Han-yu Jiao-xue Xue-hui Di-si-ci Xue-
shu Tao-lun-hui Lun-wen-xuan 4a HI fth fj. in' ^ H E Lt
ffe # ifc Xi (‘Selected Papers from the Fourth Conference of the Association
of Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language’). 128-146. Beijing: Beijing Language
Institute Press.
Xian-dai Han-yu Cham-yong-zi Biao M ftiff. jg # 'X Fk (A List of Common
Characters in Modern Chinese) (1987). Beijing: The National Language
Commission and the National Education Commission of China.
Xu, J. N. hh'M (1994). Yu-qi Zhu-ci de Yu-qi-yi ji Qi Jiao-xue Tan-tao ip &} w] (Kj
(‘Meanings of Interjections and Their Related
Teaching Techniques’). Shi-iie Han-yu Jiao-xue (Chinese
Teaching in the World). No. 4, 27-34.

264
Xu, T. Q. (1994a). “Zi ” he Han-yu de Ju-fa Jie-gou “íjí”
(‘Characters and Chinese Sentence Structure’). Shi-iie Han-yu Jiao-xue tit I?-
ia ^ # (Chinese Teaching in the World). No.2, 1-9.
Xu, T. Q. (1994b). “Zi" he Han-yu Yan-jiu de Fang-ía-lun U U
ÉÍJ -ft 'Jfc ifc (‘Characters and the Methodology of Chinese Linguistics’). Shi-iie
Han-yu Jiao-xue lit -W- 'i)L in -t" (Chinese Teaching in the World!. No.3, 1-14.
Yau, S. C. (1988). A Cognitive Approach to the Genesis of Nominal Classifiers in
Archaic Chinese. Journal of Chinese Linguistics. Vol. 16, No. 2, 264-276.
Yin, B. Y. and J. S Rohsenow (1994). Modern Chinese Characters. Beijing: Sinolingua.
Yip, P. C. (1992). Grammatical Identity of A Chinese Word Journal of Chinese
Language Teachers Association. Vol. 27, No. 3, 53-73
Yong, S. (1995). The Grammatical Functions of Verb-Complements in Mandarin
Chinese. Papers of 7th North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics and 4th
International Conference on Chinese Linguistics. 381-398.
Yuan, C. F. Ib # and C. N. Huang H ¡=1 T (1998). Ji-yu Yu-su Shu-ju-ku de Han-
yu Yu-su ji Guo-ci Yan-jiu H ^ iff % M fk EHJ ÍX iff in' ^ ^ M 5F %
(‘A Study of Chinese Morphemes and Word Formation Based on the Data Bank of
Morphemes’). Yu-yan Wen-zi Ying-yong (Applied Linguistics) 27,
83-88.
Zhang, B. Y. and D L. Peng (1992). Decomposed Storage in the Chinese Lexicon
Language Processing in Chinese. Hsuan-chih Chen and Ovid J.L Tzeng (eds.),
131-149. North-Holland: The Netherlands.
Zhang, J. X. ijfc Ü (1992). Xian-dai Han-yu Jiao-cheng ft f)L in~ (A Course
in Modern Chinese). Beijing: The Modern Press.
Zhang, Y. J. (1990). Dui-wai Han-yu Jiao-xue-fa TÍ jY '/V iff ^ & (A
Pedagogical Approach to Teaching Chinese a Foreign Language). Beijing: The
Modem Press.
Zhou, X. L. and W. Marslen-Wilson (1994). Words, Morphemes and Syllables in the
Chinese Mental Lexicon. Morphological Structure. Lexical Representation and
Lexical Access. Dominiek Sandra and Marcus Taft (eds.), 393-422. Hove (UK):
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
Zhu, L. Y. RR 2* (1993). Dui-wai Han-yu Ci-yu Jiao-xue Chu-tan Tf fX iff i^J iff
IX ^ ifc (‘An Preliminary Study of Vocabulary Teaching in Chinese as a
Foreign Language’). Zhong-guo Dui-wai Han-yu Jiao-xue Xue-hui Di-si-ci Xue-

265
shu Tao-lun-hui Lun-wen-xuan IH fth 'N. ia ^ ^ 4k M — '/'k /fc it
ifc ifc 4C (Selected Papers from the Fourth Conference of the Association
of Teaching Chinese as Foreign Language). 361-372. Beijing: Beijing Language
Institute Press.
Zimmerman, C. B. (1994). Self-selected Reading and Interactive Vocabulary Instruction:
Knowledge and Perceptions of Word Learning among L2 learners. Ph D.
dissertation, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
Zimmerman, C. B (1997). Historical Trends in Second Language Vocabulary
Instruction. Second Language Vocabulary Acquisition. James Coady and Thomas
Huckin (eds), 5-19. Cambridge University Press.
Zou, K. (1994). Resultative V-V Compounds in Chinese. The Morphology-Syntax
Connection. MIT Working Papers in Linguistics. Heidi Harley and Colin Phillips
(eds.) 22, 271-290. Mass: Cambridge MITWPL.
Zwitserlood, P. (1994). The Role of Semantic Transparency in the Processing and
Representation of Dutch Compounds. Morphological Structure. Lexical
Representation and Lexical Access. Dominiek Sandra and Marcus Taft (eds.), 341-
368. Hove (UK): Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Zhaohui Cheng was born on April 16, 1966 in Anhui Province, China. She
enrolled in Nanjing University in Nanjing, China and received a B.S. degree in Chinese
language and literature in 1986. In 1989, she earned her M.A. degree from the
Department of Chinese Language and Literature in Nanjing University. From 1989 to
1993, she worked as an assistant lecturer and a lecturer in the Department of International
Students in Nanjing Normal University, teaching Chinese language courses and
conducting research in the areas of Chinese language pedagogy, Chinese dialects, and
Modern Chinese language. In 1994, she entered the University of Florida to pursue a
Ph D. in the Program in Linguistics and worked as a teaching assistant in the Department
of African and Asian Languages and Literatures. She is a member of the Chinese
Language Teachers Association (CLTA) and the Associations of American Applied
Linguistics (AAAL). Zhaohui Cheng earned her Ph D. degree in May 2000 from the
University of Florida.
266

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
incey C. Chu,
Professor of Linguistics
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Diana Boxer, Cochair
Associate Professor of Linguistics
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Ann M. Wehmeyer C/
Associate Professor of Linguistics
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
1
Willian/
Í. Sullivan III
Associate Professor of Germanic and
Slavic Studies
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
A, C. 'X
Cynthia Chennault
Associate Professor of Chinese Language
and Literature

This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the College of Liberal
Arts and Sciences and to the Graduate School and was accepted as partial fulfillment of
the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
May 2000
Dean, Graduate School

LD
1780
PO
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
3 1262 08557 1940