1989 Volume 37 Issue 3 Pages 264-269
This study evaluates the relative difficulty in learning to read kanji and hiragana by children. kanji and hiragana are different in the following 2 ways.(1) As for the visual complexity of the character, it is said that kanji is more complex than hiragana.(2) As for the pronunciation, kanji is a word while hiragana is simply a syllable. The result shows that the difficulty in learning characters depends not so much on their visual complexity as on the meaningfulness of their pronunciation. That is, assigning a word to the character, as its pronuciation, facilitates learning to read it. But this does not necessarily imply that children easily induce what the syllable values for each character are when being taught to read characters on a word basis. So it is irrelevant to advocate the effectiveness of the whole word method on the grounds mentioned here.