Use of Partial Information in Learning to Read Chinese Characters

TitleUse of Partial Information in Learning to Read Chinese Characters
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsAnderson, R. C., Li W., Ku Y. - M., Shu H., & Wu N.
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Volume95
Pagination52-57
Date PublishedMarch
ISBN Number1939-2176
KeywordsCantonese speaking children, China, Chinese characters, compound characters, Human, language, Language Development, Learning, Mandarin speaking children, partial information, Phonetics, Pronunciation, reading, Reading Development, Written Language
AbstractThis study investigated whether children can use partial information to learn the pronunciations of Chinese characters. Participants were 49 2nd graders and 56 4th graders whose home language was Mandarin and 75 2nd graders and 93 4th graders whose home language was Cantonese. Children had 2 trials to learn the Mandarin pronunciations of 28 unfamiliar compound characters of 4 types. Children learned to pronounce more regular characters, which contain full information about pronunciation, and more tone-different and onset-different characters, which contain partial information about pronunciation, than characters with unknown phonetic components, which contain no information about pronunciation. Mandarin-speaking children learned more pronunciations than Cantonese-speaking children.