Radical sensitivity is the key to understanding Chinese character acquisition in children

Radical sensitivity is the key to understanding Chinese character acquisition in children This study investigated Chinese children’s development of sensitivity to positional (orthographic), phonological, and semantic cues of radicals in encoding novel Chinese characters. A newly designed picture-novel character mapping task, along with nonverbal reasoning ability, vocabulary, and Chinese character recognition were administered to 198 kindergartners, 172 second graders and 165 fifth graders. Children’s strategies in using positional, phonological, and semantic cues of radicals varied across grades. The higher the children’s grade level, the more commonly children used semantic and positional cues of radicals. Regression analyses showed that the contribution of semantic radical awareness for explaining Chinese character reading increased as children’s grade increased, whereas the contribution of positional regularity awareness decreased. These findings suggest that learning Chinese characters involves a transition from a sound- and position-based approach to a meaning-based approach. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Reading and Writing Springer Journals

Radical sensitivity is the key to understanding Chinese character acquisition in children

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Subject
Linguistics; Language and Literature; Psycholinguistics; Education, general; Neurology; Literacy
ISSN
0922-4777
eISSN
1573-0905
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11145-017-9722-8
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This study investigated Chinese children’s development of sensitivity to positional (orthographic), phonological, and semantic cues of radicals in encoding novel Chinese characters. A newly designed picture-novel character mapping task, along with nonverbal reasoning ability, vocabulary, and Chinese character recognition were administered to 198 kindergartners, 172 second graders and 165 fifth graders. Children’s strategies in using positional, phonological, and semantic cues of radicals varied across grades. The higher the children’s grade level, the more commonly children used semantic and positional cues of radicals. Regression analyses showed that the contribution of semantic radical awareness for explaining Chinese character reading increased as children’s grade increased, whereas the contribution of positional regularity awareness decreased. These findings suggest that learning Chinese characters involves a transition from a sound- and position-based approach to a meaning-based approach.

Journal

Reading and WritingSpringer Journals

Published: Jan 30, 2017

References

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