The roles of prosodic sensitivity and phonological awareness in second langauge learners’ reading development

Hsueh Chu CHEN, Qian WANG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This study attempts to investigate the role of prosodic skills in the reading development of learners and clarify the relationships among prosodic skills, phonological awareness and reading development. Sixteen ESL lower achievers from Hong Kong secondary school participated in the study. Three types of related measures were conducted. A passage was read aloud and an acoustic analysis was conducted to measure and compare speed, pause and intonation of three utterances selected from the passage. The results showed that the correct rate of reading comprehension is 38.16 %. Among the phonological awareness subtests, rhyme detection was the easiest test, followed by alliteration detection, oral segmentation-syllables, and non-word reading. Among the prosodic sensitivity subtests, phrasal rhythm was the easiest test, followed by sentence-level intonation, and word stress. The tests that correlate highest with reading comprehension are non-word reading and word stress sensitivity tests. Almost all the subtests, rhythm and syllables, rhythm and stress were significantly and positively correlated. Detailed information about the participants’ responses and strategies in individual subtests was described. Acoustic analyses of speed, pause and intonation were made, measured and calculated.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


Hong Kong
secondary school


Chen, H. C., & Wang Q. (2011, August). The roles of prosodic sensitivity and phonological awareness in second langauge learners’ reading development. Paper presented at the 16th Conference of Pan-Pacific Association of Applied Linguistics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China.


  • Phonics instruction
  • Production and perceptio
  • Phonological processing
  • Acoustic phonetics