According to the self-teaching hypothesis, children can self-teach new written words via phonological recoding—translating written words into their verbal pronunciations. Moreover, learning words in meaningful story contexts supports learning when phonological recoding is reduced (e.g., when encountering irregular words). The current study tested the self-teaching hypothesis in Chinese—a non-alphabetic writing system. Native Mandarin-speaking second graders read either 16 stories (story context; n = 33) or word lists (without context; n = 34) under the conditions of allowed phonological recoding (reading aloud) or reduced phonological recoding (viewing while repeatedly naming a meaningless letter sequence b p m f). Each story and word list included one target pseudo-character consisting of a phonetic radical and a semantic radical providing pronunciation and meaning cues, respectively, for the pseudo-character. The regularity of phonetic radicals of pseudo-characters (regular vs. irregular: providing full vs. no pronunciation cue) and the transparency of semantic radicals of pseudo-characters (transparent vs. opaque: providing complete vs. no meaning cue) were manipulated. The orthographic learning outcomes were measured using the character writing, orthographic choice, naming, and a semantic production task. Our results support a primary role of phonological recoding in orthographic learning. Moreover, regular phonetic radicals facilitate phonology–orthography association, whereas transparent semantic radicals support semantic–orthography mapping. In sum, we extended the self-teaching hypothesis to a non-alphabetic writing system and revealed the unique roles of phonetic and semantic radicals in orthographic learning. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
CitationLi, Y., Li, H., & Wang, M. (2020). Orthographic learning via self-teaching in Chinese: The roles of phonological recoding, context, and phonetic and semantic radicals. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 199. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2020.104913
- Orthographic learning
- Phonological recoding
- Phonetic regularity
- Semantic transparency