The Use of Visual/Verbal and Physical Mnemonics in the Teaching of Korean Hangul in an authentic L2 classroom context

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This article presents classroom-based research investigating the effects of using visual/verbal and physical mnemonics in the teaching of the Korean script, Hangul. The study compares the performances of two groups of learners: one group taught using mnemonics and one taught in the traditional way (through reference to the “design principles” of Hangul). Results show that the mnemonics group enjoyed significant advantages both on an immediate and a delayed test. This suggests that the memorisation advantages associated with mnemonics extend to alphabetic scripts such as Hangul, in addition to the logographic and syllabic scripts targeted in previous research. Moreover, the analysis shows that when used in authentic courses of study, mnemonics may have more long-term advantages than assumed in previous literature. In addition to out-performing the “design principles” group on the delayed test, the “mnemonics” group were shown to continue using the techniques at least 4/5 weeks after the instruction period, particularly when encountering momentary decoding difficulties. Finally, by including questionnaire and interview data in the analysis, the study was able to confirm that language learners hold positive attitudes towards the use of mnemonics. As well as valuing mnemonics due to the speed of memorisation that they promote, learners are shown to actively enjoy the technique. Contrary to previous concerns that mnemonics may be too frivolous or “embarrassing” for adult learners, these findings present a strong argument for the wider application of mnemonics in the education of writing systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-90
Number of pages19
JournalWriting Systems Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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