Volume 56, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2451-828x
  • E-ISSN: 2451-8298
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This qualitative study gives an emic account of the experiences of adult L2 learners studying Chinese characters. Using semi-structured interviews and written journals of Americans who have spent time in China, the study uncovers core experiences and common patterns, giving voice to the holistic experience of learners, including affective aspects. The results of the study show that the very complexity of Chinese characters simultaneously attracts and deters learners. Learners experience an ever-growing realization of deeper complexity and greater volume. The struggling that ensues compels learners to actively find strategies to enable them to remain afloat in the learning process: (1) breaking down the complexity, (2) managing the incoming volume, (3) finding satisfaction in using the learning, (4) leading their own learning, (5) making use of resources, and (6) maintaining their learning. Findings from this study suggest practical applications for both L2 learners and teachers of Chinese characters.


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