Understanding the role of morphological awareness in reading Chinese characters by exploring the mediation of phonological awareness, vocabulary, and orthographic knowledge and the moderation of morpheme family size

Duo LIU, Hong LI

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

Although the importance of morphological awareness for learning to read in Chinese has been repeatedly verified, the underlying mechanism has not been well investigated. In the present study, the mediating roles of phonological awareness, orthographic knowledge, and vocabulary, and the moderating role of morpheme family size (i.e. the number of words that contain a given morpheme) on the association between morphological awareness and Chinese character reading were investigated on 176 second grade Hong Kong Chinese children (86 girls, mean age = 8.06, SD=.42). Morphological awareness was measured with both compounding production and homophone identification. During the regression analyses, in which the booststrapping technique was adopted, the significant partial mediation effects of all three mediators were found, after controlling for age and non-verbal IQ. The three mediation effects were not significantly different from each other. The significant moderation effect of morpheme family size on the association between compounding structure awareness (measured with compounding production) and Chinese character reading was also found. That is the performance difference between children with relatively poor compounding structure awareness (among the lowest 25%, N=44) and children with typical compounding structure awareness (among the highest 50%, N=44, matched with the former on age and non-verbal IQ) was larger in reading Chinese characters with small family size (mean family size=9.75, SD=4.82, N=20) than in reading Chinese characters with big family size (mean family size=26.80, SD=8.05, N=20, matched with the former characters in both character and family frequencies). The examined mediation and moderation effects in the present study can help us understand the mechanism of the relationship between morphological awareness and Chinese character reading, and provide evidence to modify the training strategies for improving Chinese children’s reading performance. Copyright © 2016 Society for the Scientific Study of Reading (SSSR).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016

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Vocabulary
Reading
Hong Kong
Regression Analysis
Learning

Citation

Liu, D. P., & Li, H. (2016, July). Understanding the role of morphological awareness in reading Chinese characters by exploring the mediation of phonological awareness, vocabulary, and orthographic knowledge and the moderation of morpheme family size. Paper presented at The Twenty-Third Annual Meeting Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.

Keywords

  • Morphological awareness
  • Chinese
  • Reading