Linkit: A CALL system for learning Chinese characters, words, and phrases

Chris Shei, Hsun Ping Hsieh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Teaching Chinese as a foreign language (TCFL) is increasingly becoming a mainstream profession and an independent academic discipline. However, there is little research in CALL targeting the Chinese language to date. This research attempts to show how a CALL system can be constructed following the unique properties of the Chinese language so it can benefit the learner maximally. First, we analyze student journals to identify problematic areas for British students learning Chinese as a foreign language, which seem to spread across levels of phonology, morphology, orthography, and vocabulary in an inextricable fashion. To address this issue, we designed a hierarchical network model linking levels of sound, syllables, characters, words, and phrases together in the form of nodes and connections. Current implementation of the model is a CALL system nicknamed Linkit, which can work alongside a textbook or a corpus, offering interconnected elements of the Chinese language such as the syllable, the character, the word, and the phrase on the same screen. The purpose of the design is for students to view a Chinese character not just as a character, but to see how it relates to other homophonic characters by appreciating the underlying phonological similarities and how the character can develop into a word or a phrase. We suggest that the emphasis on this type of continuity is a key factor in designing Chinese-specific CALL programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-338
Number of pages20
JournalComputer Assisted Language Learning
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Oct

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Computer Science Applications


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