Measuring Orthographic Knowledge of L2 Chinese Learners in Vietnam Using a Handwriting Task – A Preliminary Report

Kai Yan Lau, Yuan Liang, Hoang-Anh Nguyen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In the current study, the orthographic knowledge required for writing Chinese characters was assessed among participants with L1 Vietnamese background who learn Chinese as a foreign language. A total of 42 undergraduates were recruited. They were invited to participate in a delayed Chinese character copying task consisting of 32 characters. Their Chinese character reading abilities were also obtained using a character naming task. All the tests were conducted online during the pandemic in 2021. Results indicated that the participants’ accuracy in the copying task was affected by the familiarity of the characters and the number of strokes of the characters. These effects minimized as reading performance increased. In the inter-stroke interval (ISI) analysis, results indicated a significant boundary effect where ISIs between orthographic units were longer than ISIs within orthographic units, showing the participants’ tendency to chunk Chinese characters into functional units when they write. Only high achievers in the reading task demonstrated the use of both large and small grain-size units in writing (i.e., radical-boundary ISI > logographeme-boundary ISI > non-boundary ISI), while the low achievers only used small grain-size units in their writing. We suggest that the delayed copying task incorporated with handwriting measures is an effective method to assess orthographic knowledge of L2 Chinese learners.
Original languageEnglish
Article number784019
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2022


  • L2 Chinese
  • Vietnam
  • copying
  • handwriting
  • orthographic knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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