Purpose: Very few studies have explored children's implicit morphological processing during lexical access (morphological sensitivity), compared to the exploration of morphological awareness. In the present study, third grade Chinese children's morphological structure sensitivity and its relationship with morphological awareness and Chinese vocabulary knowledge were explored. Method: Using visual priming lexical decision paradigm, morphological structure sensitivity was tested. There were four priming conditions: 1) primes and targets had related meanings and the same compounding structures (RMSS); 2) primes and targets had related meanings but different structures (RMDS); 3) primes and targets had unrelated meanings but the same structures (UMSS); and 4) primes and targets had unrelated meanings and different compounding structures (UMDS). Two types of Chinese two-character compound words were involved - subordinate and coordinative words. Results: A significant positive priming effect was found in the UMSS condition for subordinate but not coordinative compounds, besides of the semantic priming effects on both RMSS and RMDS conditions. Then, in the regression analyses, after controlling for children's age, non-verbal IQ, and phonological awareness, a full-mediation regression model was found for the relationship between morphological sensitivity and children's vocabulary knowledge, which was mediated by morphological awareness. Conclusions: The findings indicated that third grade Chinese children have developed the morphological connections in their mental lexicon (even though the semantic ones are still predominant), which directly facilitate the development of morphological awareness, and indirectly help them build up vocabulary.
|Publication status||Published - 2010|