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Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

English: Teaching English as a Second Language: M.A.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Choonkyong Kim, Chairperson

Second Advisor

John Madden

Third Advisor

Zengjun Peng

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Chinese Vocabulary Acquisition


This study investigates Chinese vocabulary acquisition of Chinese language learners in English-Chinese bilingual contexts; the 20 participants in this study were English native speakers, who were enrolled in a Chinese immersion program in central Minnesota. The study used a matching test, and the test contains seven sets of test items. In each set, there were six Chinese vocabulary words and the English translations of three of them. The six words are listed in one column on the left, and the three translations were in another column on the right. All six Chinese vocabulary words were from the vocabulary list. According to students’ Chinese vocabulary accuracy, I hypothesized Pinyin, which means Chinese phonetic systems, could help English-Chinese bilingual learners acquire Chinese vocabulary. In addition, this study was conducted to investigate if there were correlations between their Chinese proficiency test scores (HSK, Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi,), the immediate test scores, and the delayed test scores. Results were exported and analyzed with statistical tests. A paired-samples t-test was used to compare the scores with Pinyin condition and without Pinyin condition. The results showed that Pinyin did help in both the immediate test and the delayed test. A person correlation test was used to compare the HSK scores and vocabulary test scores; it showed only one correlation, between the HSK score and the test score of without Pinyin condition on the immediate test. Thus, Pinyin was possibly more helpful to the students who were at a lower level. Based on the study’s results, Pinyin was helpful in Chinese acquisition, especially for beginning learners of Chinese.


First of all, I would like to thank my thesis committee members Dr. Kim, Dr. Madden, Dr. Peng for their support and valuable comments. A special thank you to my chairperson, Dr. Kim, I am very grateful to her help I was able to organize and analyze my data. Secondly, thank you to the students and their parents who agreed to participate in this study. I would like to express my gratitude to the Chinese Immersion Program for giving me the support to accomplish my research. Last but not least, I would like to thank you to my father Guang Shi, my mother Li Wang, and my friends who supported and encouraged me throughout the process. Without those, this project would not have been possible!



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