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The contributions of phonology, orthography, and morphology in Chinese–English biliteracy acquisition

  • MIN WANG (a1), CHEN YANG (a1) and CHENXI CHENG (a1)
Abstract

This study investigated the concurrent contributions of phonology, orthography, and morphology to biliteracy acquisition in 78 Grade 1 Chinese–English bilingual children. Conceptually comparable measures in English and Chinese tapping phonological, orthographic, and morphological awareness were administered. Word reading skill in English and Chinese was also tested. We found that cross-language phonological and morphological transfer occurs when acquiring two different writing systems. Chinese tone and onset awareness explained a significant amount of unique variance in English real-word reading after controlling for English-related variables. Chinese onset awareness alone made a significant unique contribution to variance in English pseudoword reading. Furthermore, English compound structure awareness explained unique variance in Chinese character reading. However, we did not see a significant cross-language transfer at the orthographic level. Taken together, these results suggest that there are shared phonological and morphological processes in bilingual reading acquisition, whereas the orthographic process may be language specific.

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Corresponding author
ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE Min Wang, Department of Human Development, 3304C Benjamin Building, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742. E-mail: minwang@umd.edu
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