Just published: Description du lexique spécialisé chinois et constitution d’une ressource didactique adaptée pour locuteurs non sinophones. (Ph. D. Thesis)

Han, Zhiwei. (2022) Description du lexique spécialisé chinois et constitution d’une ressource didactique adaptée pour locuteurs non sinophones. PhD thesis. Université de Montréal, Montréal. [PDF (36,2 Mo)]

The teaching and learning of Chinese specialized lexicon is a path strewn with obstacles. For non-native learners, specialized lexical combinations (SLCs) (L’Homme, 2000) raise syntactic and semantic difficulties and thus represent a major challenge in the acquisition of lexical skills. However, there are few methodological proposals to solve these difficulties in the literature devoted to the teaching practice and applied research of Chinese for specific purposes (Q. Li, 2011).
In this research, we explore how a lexical description method based on semantic and syntactic representation assists non-native learners in solving lexical problems raised by SLCs. This thesis aims at designing a method for describing SLCs to help non-Chinese speakers solve lexical difficulties. The proposed method is applied to develop CHINOINFO, a Chinese-French dictionary of computer science and information technology terms. This lexical resource is designed for French-speaking learners of Chinese and can also be used as a writing tool for language professionals (translators, technical writers, and proofreaders), as well as professionals in this field. The secondary objective of this thesis is to evaluate the pedagogical effectiveness of the developed resource among French-speaking university students. This research draws on concepts derived from three theoretical frameworks. Firstly, the Explanatory and Combinatorial Lexicology (Mel’čuk et al., 1995) provides theoretical support for founding the lexical description on the representation of semantic features of the specialized lexicon. Secondly, the collection and analysis of SLCs are guided by the lexical-semantic approach to terminology (L’Homme, 2020a). Finally, we draw on the cognitive approach to second language didactics (Chastain, 1990) to explore the effective ways to organize and present the descriptive information of the specialized lexicon. Our methodological approach was carried out in three stages.
We started by assembling a specialized Chinese corpus to extract a sample of SLCs and their descriptive information. The analysis of the data collected from the corpus led us to anticipate three types of syntaxico-semantic difficulties raised by SLCs: 1) distinguishing polysemes in different SLCs; 2) identifying, in a given context, the meaning of a lexical combination that is syntactically ambiguous; and 3) selecting appropriate co-occurrents for a term. In the second stage, we deployed different strategies to describe the syntaxico-semantic features of SLCs. Subsequently, a descriptive method that incorporates the proposed solutions has been applied to the creation of CHINOINFO. This online lexical resource contains 91 basic terms related to computer science and information technology. For these terms, we encoded a total of 282 related terms and 644 SLCs. The organization of content in the entries has been largely inspired by the conversion of DiCoInfo (Observatoire de linguistique Sens-Texte, 2022) into a learner’s dictionary (Alipour, 2014). We used various techniques to make the resource user-friendly.
The final stage of our research consists of a comparative experiment to evaluate the pedagogical effectiveness of CHINOINFO. We had two groups of French-speaking learners, the control group (CG) and the experimental group (EG), take a lexical test by providing them with several reference materials. Only the EG had access to CHINOINFO during the test. We also collected the information about the participants’ learning profile and their appreciation of the test and the proposed reference materials. Overall, the comparative analysis of the test results shows that the GE succeeded better in solving the three types of difficulties raised by the SLCs. The participants were quite satisfied with the organization of the lexical test. The EG encountered less difficulty in answering questions during the test since they felt better equipped to find elements of answers in the reference materials than the GC. The EG commented favorably on the utility of CHINOINFO in solving lexical problems.
To conclude, the results of our experiment provide clues about the pedagogical interest of CHINOINFO as a SLC learning resource, which suggests the relevance of the lexical description method we proposed in a pedagogical context.

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