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ERIC Number: EJ1069927
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Sep
Pages: 29
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0023-8333
Air Writing as a Technique for the Acquisition of Sino-japanese Characters by Second Language Learners
Thomas, Margaret
Language Learning, v65 n3 p631-659 Sep 2015
This article calls attention to a facet of the expertise of second language (L2) learners of Japanese at the intersection of language, memory, gesture, and the psycholinguistics of a logographic writing system. Previous research has shown that adult L2 learners of Japanese living in Japan (similarly to native speakers of Japanese) often spontaneously produce highly articulated movements of the fingertips or hands when learning or recalling Sino-Japanese orthographic characters ("kanji"). These movements, known in Japanese as "kusho" (air writing), trace out abstract representations of "kanji," or parts of "kanji," presumably as a kinesthetic aid to learning and recall. The current study tests that presumption with respect to learning, by comparing the accuracy with which adult L2 learners of Japanese (N = 75) memorize the shapes of complex, novel "kanji" under three different learning conditions. Results show that "kusho" is associated with a small but statistically significant advantage in accuracy of recall, compared to either passive visual inspection or the conventional technique of memorizing the shapes of "kanji" by iterative paper-and-pen copying.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A