• word decision;
  • word segmentation;
  • reading comprehension;
  • learning Chinese;
  • learning strategies;
  • Chinese

Abstract: This study examines word decision strategies that 40 U.S. college beginning and advanced learners oj Chinese applied during reading. It first compares similarities and differences between the two groups in choosing strategies when making word decisions, then identifies effective word decision strategies from more than a hundred strategies used by learners. Results of the study indicate that although learners use various strategies requiring multiple levels of linguistic knowledge, the strategy of matching the target item to the learners' existing mental lexicon is predominant for both beginning and advanced learners. The results also show that the strategy of using contextual information to make word decisions is more frequently employed at the advanced level. In addition, the study reveals that the strategies required to use multiple linguistic cues and context information are better predictors of accurate word decision than other strategies.