Word reading in L1 and L2 Chinese learners: Commonalities and differences
Modern Language Journal
©2017 The Modern Language Journal
Reason for embargo
This study examined the similarities and differences in the functioning of component processes underlying first language (L1) and second language (L2) word reading in Chinese. Fourth-grade Chinese children in Singapore were divided into L1 and L2 reader groups based on whether they used Mandarin or English as their home language. Both groups were administered a battery of tasks that assessed their orthographic processing skill (OP), phonological awareness (PA), morphological awareness (MA), oral vocabulary knowledge, as well as the ability to decode characters and multi-character compound words. Separate Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) analyses showed that in the L1 group, over and above all other variables, both OP and MA, as opposed to PA, were significant predictors of word reading, whereas in the L2 group, OP and PA, as opposed to MA, predicted word reading. Multiple-group SEM analysis further revealed that the effects of OP and MA were significantly larger in the L1 than in the L2 group, whereas a converse pattern was found for PA. These findings are discussed in light of the linguistic and language-to-print mapping properties of Chinese as well as the influence of L1 and L2 learners’ differential experience on how they learn to read in Chinese.
Office of Education Research at National Institute of Education. Grant Number: OER24/10ZDB
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Wiley via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 101, Iss. 2, pp. 391 - 411