Learning Chinese characters with animated etymology

Jian He, Hui Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


The study was an attempt to investigate the effect of animated etymology on English speakers learning of Chinese characters. Twenty-one Chinese language beginners at an Australian university were randomly assigned into three groups using three different types of instructional materials to learn Chinese characters: a) paper-based plain text material with only English meanings; b) paper-based material with English meanings, pictures and static etymological information; and c) CALL material with English meanings, pictures and animated etymological information. The effects of three materials were tested under two task conditions: a) picture-enhanced tasks and b) non-picture-enhanced tasks. Through both within-group and cross-group comparisons, the statistical results indicate that the group using computer-based materials involving animated etymology significantly outperformed those using the paper-based materials with and without illustrated etymological information in both tasks and the advantages of paper-based illustrated etymological information over the paper-based group without such information are limited to the tasks involving pictures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64 - 82
Number of pages19
JournalChinese Language and Discourse. An International and Interdisciplinary Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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