Contribution of dialect transformation skills to Chinese written composition among Cantonese-speaking children

Pui Sze YEUNG, Suk Han Connie HO, Wai Ock David CHAN, Kevin Kien Hoa CHUNG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers

Abstract

Purpose: The present study aimed to examine the unique contribution of dialect transformation skills in predicting Chinese written composition among Cantonese-speaking children. Students who speak Black English Vernacular (BEV) may exhibit BEV features in their written work. Dialect transformation practice has been shown to enhance their writing competence in Standard English (Fogel & Ehri, 2000). Past studies have suggested that the possible influence of Cantonese grammar on the written work of Cantonese-speaking children, which shows deviation from Modern Standard Written Chinese (MSWC) conventions (Kwan, 2003). Method: A total of 355 Chinese students in Grades 3, 4 and 5 in Hong Kong was administered a reading comprehension task, a written syntactic awareness task, dialect transformation tasks assessing students’ ability to transform Cantonese vocabulary and sentences into written Chinese vocabulary and sentences, and a Chinese written composition task. Results: Multiple regression analysis results showed that dialect transformation skills accounted for 4% of the unique variance in Chinese written composition after controlling for Raven’s scores, reading comprehension and written syntactic awareness. None of the interaction effect between grade and the predictive variables (reading comprehension, written syntactic awareness, and dialect transformation skills) was significant. Conclusions: Our results showed the significance of dialect transformation skills in Chinese written composition development among Cantonese-speaking students in elementary grades. These findings echoed the claim about the impact of the differences between the Cantonese dialect and MSWC on children’s written composition development and suggested future research on the effectiveness of dialect transformation practice in writing instructions among dialect-speaking children. Copyright © 2017 Society for the Scientific Study of Reading (SSSR).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017

Citation

Yeung, P.-S., Ho, C. S.-H., Chan, D. W.-O., & Chung, K. K.-H. (2017, July). Contribution of dialect transformation skills to Chinese written composition among Cantonese-speaking children. Paper presented at the Twenty-Fourth Annual Meeting of the Society for the Scientific Studies of Reading, Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel, Canada.

Keywords

  • Writing
  • Chinese
  • Dialect variation

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