This study investigated the influence of various types of Chinese metalinguistic awareness on spelling through the mediation of character reading and copying, using a path model with young Chinese as a second language (CSL) learners. A total of 221 Grade 3 Hong Kong ethnic minority students were given a range of measures including Chinese spelling, orthographic awareness, phonological awareness, morphological awareness, character reading, copying, and listening comprehension. The path model fitted well with the data and accounted for a substantial 83% of the variance in spelling. This showed that, controlling for listening comprehension, (1) both orthographic awareness and morphological awareness, but not phonological awareness, contributed to character reading, which had a dominant direct influence (β = .74) on spelling; (2) only orthographic awareness contributed to copying, which had a statistically significant, though comparatively slim, direct influence on spelling (β = .10), and (3) other than the aforementioned indirect influences, orthographic awareness also had a direct effect on spelling (β = .18). Given the complexity of Chinese orthography, Chinese spelling in CSL learners likely depends on (1) high-quality mental representations of characters and good visual–motor integration, which are reflected in good character reading and copying, and related to both orthographic awareness and morphological awareness, and (2) orthographic awareness is a critical component skill facilitating spelling directly and indirectly. Copyright © 2021 The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.
CitationWong, Y. K., & Zhou, Y. (2021). Effects of metalinguistic awareness on Chinese as a second language spelling through the mediation of reading and copying. Reading and Writing. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s11145-021-10167-0
- Chinese as a second language (CSL)
- Metalinguistic awareness
- Chinese character reading