Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

The universality of symbolic representation for reading in Asian and alphabetic languages

  • ELLEN BIALYSTOK (a1) and GIGI LUK (a1)

Abstract

Neuroimaging studies of reading have identified unique patterns of activation for individuals reading in alphabetic and Asian languages, suggesting the involvement of different processes in each. The present study investigates the extent to which a cognitive prerequisite for reading, the understanding of the symbolic function of print, is common to children learning to read in these two different systems. Four-year-old children in Hong Kong learning to read in Cantonese and children in Canada learning to read in English are compared for their understanding of this concept by means of the moving word task. Children in both settings performed the same on the task, indicating similar levels of progress in spite of experience with very different writing systems. In addition, the children in Hong Kong benefited from the structural similarity between certain iconic characters and their referents, making these items easier than arbitrary characters. These results point to an important cognitive universal in the development of literacy for all children that is the foundation for skilled reading that later becomes diverse and specialized.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Ellen Bialystok, Department of Psychology, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario, M3J 1P3, Canada E-mail: ellenb@yorku.ca

Footnotes

Hide All
This research was funded by a grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to the first author.

Footnotes

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

The universality of symbolic representation for reading in Asian and alphabetic languages

  • ELLEN BIALYSTOK (a1) and GIGI LUK (a1)

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.