The better Chinese children identify the reversed nonword the better they can read: Morphological structure sensitivity?

Duo LIU, Yvonne Ming Yee HAN

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Purpose: In the reading research area, the research on the relationship between children's online processing of language-related stimuli and reading performance is still scant. In the present study, Chinese children's performance in the online lexical decision task, particularly their processing of the reversed nonword, was focused on. Method: 96 children in Shanghai (48 second graders and 48 third graders) participated in this study. In the lexical decision task, children were asked to judge whether the presented item is a real Chinese (compound) word or not. There are three conditions: 1. Real word; 2. Reversed, i.e. reverse the order of morphemes to make nonword; and 3. Random, i.e., combine morphemes randomly to make nonword. We thought that the only difference between the last two conditions is the incorrect morphological structure in the Reversed condition. Results: In the regression analyses, it was found that children's responses in the Reversed condition significantly predict Chinese word reading, after controlling for children's age, PA, MA, IQ, grade, and reaction time (error rate) in the Random condition, while the responses in the Random condition were not significant predictors. Conclusions: A novel but robust predictor of Chinese children's word reading performance - their processing of the reversed nonword - was found in the present study. Since we thought that in the Reversed condition children's morphological structure sensitivity may help them identify the nonword, it is possible that the current findings reflect the importance of children's automatic morphological structure sensitivity on Chinese word reading.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012



Liu, D., & Han, Y. (2012, July). The better Chinese children identify the reversed nonword the better they can read: Morphological structure sensitivity?. Paper presented at the Nineteenth Annual Meeting Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, Montreal, Canada.