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CALL Vocabulary Learning in Japanese: Does Romaji Help Beginners Learn More Words?

CALICO Journal Volume 24, Number 2, ISSN 0742-7778


This study investigated the effects of using Romanized spellings on beginner-level Japanese vocabulary learning. Sixty-one first-semester students at two universities in Arizona were both taught and tested on 40 Japanese content words in a computer-assisted language learning (CALL) program. The primary goal of the study was to examine whether the use of Romaji--Roman alphabetic spellings of Japanese--facilitates Japanese beginners' learning of the L2 vocabulary. The study also investigated whether certain CALL strategies positively correlate with a greater gain in L2 vocabulary. Vocabulary items were presented to students in both experimental and control groups. The items included Hiragana spellings, colored illustrations for meaning, and audio recordings for pronunciation. Only the experimental group was given the extra assistance of Romaji. The scores of the vocabulary pretests and posttests, the types of online learning strategies and questionnaire responses were collected for statistical analyses. The results of the project indicated that the use of Romaji did not facilitate the beginners' L2 vocabulary intake. However, the more intensive use of audio recordings was found to be strongly related to a higher number of words recalled, regardless of the presence or absence of Romaji. (Contains 2 figures, 6 tables and 3 notes.)


Okuyama, Y. (2007). CALL Vocabulary Learning in Japanese: Does Romaji Help Beginners Learn More Words?. CALICO Journal, 24(2), 355-379. Retrieved January 16, 2021 from .

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