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The role of hand writing input system in learning Japanese writing

Makio Fukuda and Sinji Kimura
Osaka International University for Women

In recent years, interest for Japanese is growing in the whole world. For example, in Australia, the Japanese course is established in the teaching subject of the elementary school. On Japanese, there are 3 kinds of character. They are "Kanji", "Hiragana" and "Katakana". For those who learn Japanese as a foreign language, learning of Kanji characters is one of chief difficulties. There are approximately 2,000 Kanji characters for daily use in Japan and one character may require 10 or more strokes to write. In Australia, when the learners graduate from high school, they can use 200 kinds of Kanji characters. A number of programs have been designed to overcome the problem. In order to learn Kanji characters, the learner do not have the way except memorisation. Therefore, the learner is compelled to have much burden. And, the Kanji character studying depend on self teaching. In many of them, learners are involved in explicit Kanji exercise which often fail to motivate them.

In our system on the other hand, learners are involved in more communicative activities such as writing a letter. We developed the system to support self teaching of Kanji character studying by computer. Unlike usual word processing, input device of our system is not a keyboard but a liquid crystal tablet and a special pen. By using the tablet and pen, learners are able to practice actual writing of Kanji characters while the system monitors their writing process. If they write characters in wrong stroke order, then the system analyse them, give feedback to learners, and provide appropriate exercise for correction. And, learners can get meaning by English and pronunciation by voice from system. This system is constituted MacHandwriter (CIC) which is a instrument of handwritten input and HyperCard on Macintosh Power Book (APPLE).

In conclusion, the study which is adjusted to learner's study condition is possible by this system. And, this system can preserve motivation of Kanji study to the learner. In the future, we plan this system to operate on the computer of portable type that the handwritten input device is attendant.

Author: Makio Fukuda & Sinji Kimura, Department of Human Health Science, Osaka International University for Women, 6-21-57 Tohda-cho, Moriguchi-city, Osaka, 570, JAPAN. Email:, Tel: +8 16 902 0791, Fax: +8 16 902 8894.

Please cite as: Fukuda, M. and Kimura, S. (1994). The role of hand writing input system in learning Japanese writing. In J. Steele and J. G. Hedberg (eds), Learning Environment Technology: Selected papers from LETA 94, 72. Canberra: AJET Publications.

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