Previous research has shown that the presence of English word spellings facilitates children’s oral vocabulary learning. Whether a similar orthographic facilitation effect may exist in Chinese is interesting but not intuitively obvious due to the character writing system representing morphosyllabic but not phoneme-size information, and the more direct semantic-orthography mapping but less consistent orthography and pronunciation correspondence in Chinese. The current study aims to examine whether semantic and phonological information provided by character radicals affects oral vocabulary learning of Chinese children. Twenty-four second graders studied made-up associations between 12 spoken labels and pictures accompanied either by accurate phonological information characters, misleading phonological information characters, or no orthography. Half of phonologically accurate or misleading characters were semantically accurate or misleading. Pictures prompted recall of spoken labels without orthography present on tests. Results showed that exposure to characters which accurately represent sounds and meanings during learning did not enhance recall of the spoken labels compared to no orthography in early trials. But exposure to characters, which misrepresent sounds and meanings, significantly impeded vocabulary learning compared to no orthography.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 15, 2016
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