Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Theresa E. McCormick

Second Advisor

William D. Wolansky


As a logographic script, written Chinese conveys meaning directly from its graphic forms. Numerous researchers have suggested the pedagogical strategy of teaching Chinese writing by emphasizing the pictorial features of Chinese characters. This study was conducted to develop and to evaluate an instructional system in which instructional materials are based upon Chinese etymology and presented by hypermedia system;Thirty characters were selected, and pertinent information such as original forms, evolution of shapes, meanings, pronunciations,and applications were included. Presentation of the material, stored on a videodisc, was controlled by a HyperCard program;Twenty-eight beginning learner of Chinese as a second language in Taiwan, Republic of China, participated in the study as subjects; seven Chinese-language/literature instructors volunteered to evaluate the system. The relations of subjects' linguistic backgrounds and attitudes towards the system, as well as their interests in learning Chinese characters before and after using the system, were investigated;Two significant results were found. Native speakers of alphabetic languages showed significantly more positive attitudes towards computer use than did native speakers of syllabic languages. Subjects' interest in learning Chinese characters after using the system was significantly greater than was their interest before. But relations between attitude towards the system and a number of linguistic variables, with the exception of the native-language variable, were not significant;Verbal comments from subjects and Chinese language/literature instructors indicated the program's emphasis on pictorial features and etymological analyses of Chinese characters was quite valuable in instruction of the Chinese writing system.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Shu Hor



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

208 pages