Strategy use in L2 Chinese reading: The effect of L1 background and L2 proficiency

Sihui Ke, Shui duen Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This study examined the interrelationship among L2 Chinese learners' use of reading strategies, L1 background, and L2 proficiency. Sixty-eight L2 Chinese learners of three different proficiency levels (i.e., elementary, intermediate and advanced) participated in the study. They were categorized further into two L1 groups: those within the Chinese cultural sphere (CCS) and those from the non-Chinese cultural sphere (NCCS). The results, based on analyses of think-aloud reports during reading, are as follows: (a) The use of L2 Chinese reading strategies was affected by L2 proficiency, since there was notable variation in reading strategy type frequency between the elementary level and the intermediate level, but no significant improvement from the intermediate level to the advanced level. (b) The application of decoding strategies remained for a long time regardless of readers' L2 proficiency level. (c) Readers of CCS background appeared to have an advantage in decoding compared to NCCS readers at the elementary level; yet, such an advantage vanished as readers' L2 proficiency level increased, as both CCS and NCCS readers adopted similar types of decoding strategies at the intermediate and advanced levels. Discussion is provided regarding the intricate relationships among L1 background, L2 proficiency, and reading strategy use in L2 Chinese.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-38
Number of pages12
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


  • Chinese
  • First language background
  • Reading strategy
  • Second language proficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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