This study investigated the effect of phonological sensitivity of two comparable groups of grades 4 and 5 Chinese children, one a Putonghua-speaking group (n = 77) from Beijing and the other a Cantonese-speaking group (n = 80) from Hong Kong on English and Chinese pseudoword reading. It was hypothesized that the Beijing group would process more accurately suprasegmental lexical tones and phonological sensitivity tasks (rhyme detection and discrimination, two phoneme segmentation tasks deleting initial, medial and final phonemes) than their Hong Kong counterparts. Multivariate analyses of variance of the five tasks considered conjointly as dependent variables and spoken language groups and grades as independent variables confirmed the hypothesis. Separate stepwise multiple regression analyses with English and Chinese pseudoword reading as criteria also confirmed the related hypothesis of differential contribution by the speech-sound repetition and phonological sensitivity tasks to English and Chinese pseudoword reading. The better performance of the Putonghua group compared with the Cantonese counterpart might be explained by the phonologically more salient Putonghua mediated by the use of Pinyin as an adjunct in character and word reading.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 26, 2004
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