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Morphological awareness and reading development in bilingual English-Chinese children in Singapore

Sun, B. and Curdt-Christiansen, X.-L. (2016) Morphological awareness and reading development in bilingual English-Chinese children in Singapore. In: Silver, R. E. and Bokhorst-Heng, W. D. (eds.) Quadrilingual education in Singapore: Pedagogical innovation in language education. Education Innovation. Springer, Singapore, pp. 148-192. ISBN 9789812879653

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Addressing two aspects of morphological awareness – derivational and compound, this study investigates the relationships between morphological awareness and vocabulary and reading comprehension in English-Chinese bilingual primary 3 children in Singapore (N = 76). Comparable tasks in Chinese and English were administered to examine the children’s morphological awareness, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. The results show that morphological awareness is highly related to vocabulary and reading comprehension, with higher correlations between morphological awareness and reading comprehension than between morphological awareness and vocabulary. This indicates that morphological awareness may have direct influence on reading comprehension beyond the mediating effect of vocabulary. Furthermore, the results indicate that children displayed more compound than derivational morphological awareness for Chinese due to the dominance of compound morphology in Chinese. However the children also displayed similar levels of derivational and compound morphological awareness for English despite far more derivatives than compounds in English. The robust cross-linguistic correlations suggest that Chinese compound morphological knowledge plays a facilitating role not only in learning English compounds, but also in learning transparently derived words that do not involve phonological or orthographic shifts.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education > Language and Literacy in Education
ID Code:40480

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