2020-06-24T13:56:11Z (GMT) by Samet Baydar
Typing in Japanese is a difficult process for novice and intermediate learners of Japanese due
to the writing system of the Japanese language and its comparatively involved input method on a
keyboard. Considering that spell checkers, which enable the user to check and correct their own
errors and select the correct kanji word, are designed for native speakers, the learners of Japanese
as a foreign language (JFL) may not recognize their spelling errors and are thus unable to selfcorrect using this built-in tool.
The present study addresses this problem and conducts an experiment to evaluate the
effectiveness of a visual feedback tool by its error recognition rate on the learners spelling errors
when typing in Japanese. The participants were 46 beginner level JFL learners in a third semester
Japanese course, and the majority consist of native speakers of Chinese or English. The
participants participated in two experimental sessions. In both sessions, participants were audio
recorded while reading aloud a list of words in Japanese for pronunciation analysis and screen
recorded while typing the same list of Japanese words. These recordings are used to analyze the
characteristics of error patterns in both pronunciation and typing. During the typing sessions, visual
feedback is provided to the participants via a customized dictionary tool when participants make
a spelling error.
The results show that regardless of the native language, the learners have difficulty on certain
words that include long vowels or double consonants. The recorded error patterns align with the
findings of previous studies (Hatasa, 2001; Nakazawa, 2003; Tsuchiya, 2000), and the visual
feedback showed an average error recognition rate of 76% of the participants’ spelling errors. The
participants also assessed the dictionary tool in terms of usability, and their responses indicate that
such tools are very useful during typing. The researcher concludes that using a visual feedback
dictionary tool is effective in recognizing the spelling errors of the learners when typing, and it
increases the learner’s awareness of spelling accuracy.