Technology-enhanced Chinese Character Learning Resources for Use in ‘CJK’ (Chinese-Japanese-Korean) Language Courses

TitleTechnology-enhanced Chinese Character Learning Resources for Use in ‘CJK’ (Chinese-Japanese-Korean) Language Courses
Faculty/College/UnitArts
StatusCompleted
Duration3 Years
Initiation04/01/2006
Completion03/31/2009
Funding Details
Year 1: Project TitleA web-based Chinese character learning tool for use in “CJK” (Chinese-Japanese-Korean)
Year 1: Project YearYear 1
Year 1: Funding Year2006/2007
Year 1: Project TypeSmall TLEF
Year 1: Principal InvestigatorRoss King
Year 1: Funded Amount99,000
Year 1: Summary

This project impacts three different languages and 400o+ students every year. Our objectives are to a) finalize the database, interface design and feature implementation for the integrated CJK Chinese character-learning tool developed with two different Arts ISIT grants over the last two years, and b) populate the database with all the information essential to learning 2,000-5,000 Chinese characters each in CJK. Rationales are: a) 4000+ enrollments annually in CJK and student demand for such a tool; b) limited classroom time; c) a global approach to Chinese characters in CJK allows for economies, especially for learners with exposure to another East Asian language; d) for each character, learners need information about: stroke orders & counts, pronunciation(s), English-language gloss(es), target language gloss(es) (JK), radical, compounds and phrases that include the character, examples in context, audio, and mnemonic aids. All these types of information can be presented, searched, reviewed, quizzed, tracked and learned more effectively in a web-based self-learning context.

Year 2: Project YearYear 2
Year 2: Funding Year2007/2008
Year 2: Project TypeSmall TLEF
Year 2: Principal InvestigatorRoss King
Year 2: Funded Amount68,000
Year 2: Summary

In a multicultural pedagogical milieu like that of Vancouver and UBC, where Chinese speakers are learning K and J, K speakers are learning C and J, and J speakers are learning C and K, all in an Anglophone milieu, an integrated and global CJK approach (using English) for Chinese character learning is the only sensible way forward. In other programs and approaches, each of C, J and K is a closed box unto itself, and computerized Chinese character resources are limited to stroke order animations.

This project seeks to continue our work on a major new web-based learning tool for Chinese characters that will serve the more than 4000 UBC students learning Chinese, Japanese and Korean every year at UBC. The learning tool consists of an interactive CJK Chinese character database that capitalizes on recent advances in the Unihan (Unicode) character set for Chinese characters in Chinese, Japanese and Korean, and which we intend to use to develop mixed mode courses in future.

Year 3: Project YearYear 3
Year 3: Funding Year2008/2009
Year 3: Project TypeSmall TLEF
Year 3: Principal InvestigatorRoss King
Year 3: Funded Amount34,500
Year 3: Summary

Demand for instruction in C, J and K is enormous at UBC and rising, yet mastering these languages takes 4x as long for Anglophones as for French or Spanish. One reason for this steep learning curve is the need in all three languages to learn thousands of Chinese characters and related vocabulary. At UBC, learners from diverse backgrounds learn CJ&K, but most importantly, C speakers are learning K and J, K speakers are learning C and J, and J speakers are learning C and K. In this context, an integrated and global CJK approach (using English) for Chinese character learning is the only sensible way forward, and we have already pioneered a unique learning resource in Years One and Two of this project. Now we seek to complete our work on this major new web-based learning tool for Chinese characters that will serve the more than 4000 CJK language students at UBC each year.