Most studies on bilingual phonological awareness suggested that children who were able to speak a second language performed better in phonological awareness tasks; some studies however found different results. This study revisited the issue by investigating the effect of Min dialect experience on Chinese children’s Mandarin phonological awareness. Children who were able to speak Mandarin only (M) were compared with children who were able to speak one dialect and Mandarin (DM) or two dialects and Mandarin (BiDM). In Experiment 1, 2nd and 4th grade M children performed better than their Minnan DM and Puxian DM counterparts in onset and rime judgement. Experiment 2 detected also an advantage of 1st and 2nd grade M children over their Mindong DM peers in syllable deletion and rime oddity. In Experiment 3, M children performed significantly better than their Mindong DM and Mindong–Puxian BiDM peers in 1st and 2nd grade and the difference remained significant between M children and BiDM children when IQ was controlled. The M advantage disappeared however in higher grades in all experiments. Generally the results suggested that Min dialect experience interfered with children’s performance in Mandarin phonological awareness, but the disadvantage disappeared as children proceeded to higher grades. The interference was discussed as consequence of subtractive bilingualism and Mandarin as cognitive tool.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 21, 2012
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