Investigating L1 and L2 Reading Processing Difference: An Exploratory Comparison Study between Hong Kong and Taiwanese College Students

By Gloria Shu-Mei Chwo.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

To research reading, cross-linguistic studies are often based on the reader’s writing system background. However, scant attention has been paid to other factors that might affect the EFL/ESL readers’ speed and accuracy in reading comprehension. In particular, there is a gap in the study of the Chinese L1 and English L2 settings where the college readers’ speed and accuracy are specifically investigated and contrasted in the context of meaningful comprehension. This study has adopted two comparable Chinese college groups in Hong Kong and Taiwan that possess the same writing system background (L1=Chinese, L2=English) but with distinctive instructional methods, phonics and whole word learning strategies; also unique are their ESL and EFL educational settings to gauge their reading differences. L1 and L2 reading comprehension were investigated in two places between two college-level subjects. L1 and L2 well-formed sentence judgment tasks containing words of similar graphic and sound distracters were sequentially carried out in two studies. Both speed — measured by the numbers of items completed by the subjects within the set time — and accuracy — measured by the error rate — were compared. The findings show a significant instructional effect for the Taiwanese subject in the L1 speed-reading comprehension (p<.001) and, to a lesser extent, to the Taiwanese L2 speed-reading comprehension, error rate and Hong Kong L2 error rate. However, an insignificant writing system effect was found in the Taiwanese L1 error rate. Moreover, a lesser ESL effect was found in Hong Kong in the L1 and L2 speed-reading comprehension and the L1 error rate results. The interpretations and implications were provided for further discussion.

Keywords: L1 and L2 Reading Comprehension, Writing System Effect, Instructional Effect, ESL/EFL Effect, Chinese College Readers

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp.233-254. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 844.054KB).

Associate Prof. Gloria Shu-Mei Chwo

Assistant Professor, Applied English Department, Hungkuang University, Taiwan, Taichung, Taiwan

Dr. Gloria Shu-Mei Chwo graduated from Tunghai University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1990. In 1992, she completed a Master Degree in Instruction and Curriculum from Seattle Pacific University, U.S.A.. She worked at different levels in the education system of Taiwan and the first English teacher to pioneer an advanced English club as an extra curriculum course in Tunghai Elementary school. She earned her Doctor of Philosophy Degree at University of Essex in U.K. in 2005. She is now an assistant professor at the Dept. of Applied English Language, Hungkuang University in Taiwan. Her research interests include word reading processing, EFL teaching methods, literature circle and eLearning.

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