In Hong Kong, Mandarin Chinese is taught in most English speaking international schools as a foreign language to non-native Chinese speakers. This study examined Chinese and English word reading related skills in a group of non-native Chinese young learners and compared with their native Chinese speaking peers who are going to the same English speaking international schools. 49 non-native Chinese speaking (29 girls and 20 boys) and 39 native Chinese speaking children (17 girls and 22 boys) 3rd and 4th graders from two international schools were recruited for this study. They were compared on both Chinese and English word reading related skills, including vocabulary knowledge, phonological processing skills, morphological awareness, working memory skills in both languages. In addition, they were also assessed of their pure visual skills as well as Chinese language related orthographic skills. The results showed that the two groups did not differ on their English reading related skills, but differ significantly on all Chinese reading related skills. Chinese vocabulary knowledge was the most significant predictor in reading Chinese words for both native and non-native Chinese speaking children. English phonological processing skills significantly predicted English word reading for both groups. The results demonstrated a clear language input and use effects. Chinese vocabulary knowledge was shown the basic step to reading Chinese words in non-native Chinese children. This may also shed some lights on foreign language pedagogy.
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2013|