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    Phonemic awareness in Chinese L1 readers of English: not simply an effect of orthography

    McDowell, H.J. and Lorch, Marjorie (2008) Phonemic awareness in Chinese L1 readers of English: not simply an effect of orthography. TESOL Quarterly 42 (3), pp. 495-513. ISSN 0039-8322.

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    Abstract

    The current study investigates the phonemic awareness and nonword processing of English as a foreign language students from Hong Kong and Mainland China, with reference to factors considered the main facilitators of phonemic awareness: written language experience, spoken language experience, and metalinguistic training. The Mainland Chinese students were literate in Pinyin, an alphabetic representation of Chinese, and were first language (L1) speakers of Mandarin. Half of the Mainland Chinese students had also been exposed to the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) in their second language (L2) reading education. The Hong Kong students were not Pinyin literate and spoke Cantonese. The Mainland Chinese IPA-trained participants performed better than both the Hong Kong participants and the Mainland Chinese non-IPA-trained participants in initial phoneme deletion. However, both Mainland Chinese groups outperformed the Hong Kong group on a phoneme–grapheme nonword matching task. This pattern of results suggests that phonemic awareness in Chinese L1 readers of English is not simply an effect of orthography, but rather, may be interpreted in terms of access to explicit demonstration of phonemes. Further, tests carried out in L2 which are intended to assess metalinguistic awareness may be susceptible to artefacts introduced by the participants’ L1 spoken language.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    School: School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Applied Linguistics and Communication
    Depositing User: Marjorie Lorch
    Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2013 11:51
    Last Modified: 01 Mar 2021 09:14
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/5176

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