This study investigated the development of phonetic awareness, meaning insight into the structure and function of the component of Chinese characters that gives a clue to pronunciation. Participants were 113 Chinese 2nd, 4th, and 6th graders enrolled in a working-class Beijing, China elementary school. The children's task was to represent the pronunciation of 60 semantic phonetic compound characters. As anticipated, both character familiarity and character regularity strongly influenced performance. Children as young as 2nd graders are better able to represent the pronunciation of regular characters than irregular characters or characters with bound phonetics. Phonetic awareness continues to develop over the elementary school years, as is shown by the increasing influence of phonetic regularity on the performance of children in higher grades and the increasing percentage of phonetic-related errors among older children.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology