Developmental changes in character-complexity and word-length effects when reading Chinese script

Developmental changes in character-complexity and word-length effects when reading Chinese script The present study was designed to examine the developmental changes in the character-complexity and word-length effects when reading Chinese script. Character complexity was defined in two ways: (1) the number of constituent strokes for characters (Experiment 1), and (2) the number of constituent radicals for characters (Experiment 2). The word length was defined as the number of characters in words (Experiment 3). The three experiments involved a lexical recognition task, and the participants consisted of 25 second graders, 24 fourth graders, 24 sixth graders, and 25 university students. In Experiment 1, it was found that the response latencies increased with the number of strokes in characters for second graders, whereas no effects were evident for fourth graders, sixth graders, or university students. In contrast, in Experiment 2 no character-complexity effect was found for the number of radicals. In Experiment 3, only a partial word-length effect was found for the number of characters for second graders. These results suggest that beginning Chinese readers process characters in an analytical way, but that the decoding process changes gradually from analytic to holistic as their reading skills develop. The educational implication of this result is discussed. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Reading and Writing Springer Journals

Developmental changes in character-complexity and word-length effects when reading Chinese script

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Subject
Linguistics; Language and Literature; Psycholinguistics; Education, general; Neurology; Literacy
ISSN
0922-4777
eISSN
1573-0905
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11145-009-9197-3
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The present study was designed to examine the developmental changes in the character-complexity and word-length effects when reading Chinese script. Character complexity was defined in two ways: (1) the number of constituent strokes for characters (Experiment 1), and (2) the number of constituent radicals for characters (Experiment 2). The word length was defined as the number of characters in words (Experiment 3). The three experiments involved a lexical recognition task, and the participants consisted of 25 second graders, 24 fourth graders, 24 sixth graders, and 25 university students. In Experiment 1, it was found that the response latencies increased with the number of strokes in characters for second graders, whereas no effects were evident for fourth graders, sixth graders, or university students. In contrast, in Experiment 2 no character-complexity effect was found for the number of radicals. In Experiment 3, only a partial word-length effect was found for the number of characters for second graders. These results suggest that beginning Chinese readers process characters in an analytical way, but that the decoding process changes gradually from analytic to holistic as their reading skills develop. The educational implication of this result is discussed.

Journal

Reading and WritingSpringer Journals

Published: Aug 12, 2009

References

  • A developmental investigation of word length effects in reading using a new on-line word identification paradigm
    Bijeljac-Babic, R; Millogo, V; Farioli, F; Grainger, J

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