Volume 55, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2451-828x
  • E-ISSN: 2451-8298
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Chinese compounds consist of two to four characters but function as single word. If the compounds are semantically opaque and contain unfamiliar characters, learners will resort to learning them individually by rote. However, given the large number of Chinese compounds, rote learning can place an excessive burden on memory. To facilitate L2 learning of opaque Chinese compounds, the present study proposes a method called elaborative encoding. In this study, L2 learners were given a booklet with 26 two-character opaque compounds. With elaborative encoding, participants learned the English meanings of the compounds through short metaphorical explanations. With rote memorization, participants learned the compounds’ English meanings without any explanation. To test the effects of elaborative encoding, a Chinese-to-English translation task was conducted immediately after training, five days later, and 14 days later. The results showed elaborative encoding was superior to rote memorization in retaining the meanings of the opaque compounds.


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