The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of a computer-based Japanese/English diglot reader on the breadth and depth of the acquisition of kanji-words. On a diglot reader, L2 text is embedded in L1 text, thus allowing L2 learners to receive enough context to understand the L2 text and learn vocabulary in it. This study was also conducted to determine the effects of two methods of presenting pronunciation of kanji-words, audio recording and romaji, on the acquisition of the meaning and pronunciation of kanji-words as well as the overall effect of learning of pronunciation on the learning and retention of meaning. Eighty-one university students enrolled in first-year Japanese classes participated in this study. They were divided into four groups, and each group received a version of the diglot reader with different presentation of pronunciation for self-study. One group received the reader with audio recording and romaji, one with audio only, one with romaji only, and the other with neither of them. A 50-item kanji pretest, posttest, and a retention test were administered. The posttest was administered immediately after the experiment and the retention test one week later. Results show that overall, participants gained the meaning of 21 words and the pronunciation of 17 words through the diglot reader. Mostly they gained the depth of knowledge of kanji-words that allowed them to understand the meaning of the words, but not to write sentences with them. The retention rates for meaning and pronunciation were both .73 one week after the completion of reading. No significant effects of audio and romaji notation of pronunciation were found on the learning of meaning of kanji-words. However, those who learned both the meaning and the pronunciation of kanji-words had a higher retention rate of kanji meaning than those who learned the meaning only, thus suggesting a benefit of learning pronunciation along with meaning when learning kanji. Results also indicated that when participants received pronunciation information in one form while reading, either in audio or romaji, giving an additional form of pronunciation information did not have significant effects on their learning of pronunciation.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Instructional Psychology and Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





diglot reader, computer-based, Japanese, Japanese as a foreign language, JFL, kanji, vocabulary, breadth, depth, English speakers, learning, acquisition, retention, meaning, pronunciation, audio, romaji, romanized Japanese, phonology