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Zocchi, Sabina (2002) The acquisition of literacy in Chinese with special reference to the case of adults of Chinese origin in Italy. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The number of Chinese people who live in Europe has been rising constantly during the past 30 years. The large majority of them come from Southern China, and their adjustment to life in the European countries has engendered research questions on their settlement, on their relationship with the local people, habits, and rules, as well as on the education of their children. My thesis focuses on the issue of the teaching of Chinese written language to adult learners of Chinese origin settled in Italy. It points to the devising of a viable teaching method through the analysis of the answers to three relevant questions: 1. Who are the learners to whom the Chinese written language teaching methodology is addressed. 2. Why would they need and benefit from such a teaching methodology. 3. How is the teaching of Chinese written language to be made viable and effective to adult learners of Chinese origin who live in Italy. The first two questions are dealt with in the first part of the research. In Chapter 1, I outline the history of Chinese migration movements towards Europe, and describe the circumstances and features of Chinese settlement in the UK and in Italy. Chapter 2 explores language use within the communities. It takes into account language as a marker of identity and language proficiency as an asset, by referring to the position of Mandarin within the community as well as at a transnational level. Chapter 3 focuses on literacy, on its definition, and on the way different definitions may apply to languages with different writing systems, with a focus on Chinese written language and the features which mostly affect literacy acquisition in Chinese. The second part centers on the third question and is articulated into two chapters. In Chapter 4, I analyse the methods in use in four different teaching contexts: Chinese primary schools, Western universities, week-end classes for Chinese children in the UK and in Italy, and adult education in China. I substantiate my analysis with the results of the fieldwork I carried out in China, Great Britain and Italy. The four contexts are taken as a reference for selecting among the teaching devices and discussing their effectiveness as related to the features of each context. In Chapter 5, I describe the case of adult learners of Chinese origin in Italy. I choose among the selected devices those which better apply to the study case, and discuss the principles according to which these devices suit the study case features. The final part of Chapter 5 consists of a sample of a teaching approach that is likely to work for the study case. I select content and illustrate how to teach it according to the principles derived from my previous analysis.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 14:59

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