It has been assumed that Chinese-speaking children do not have phonemic awareness. This study investigated phonemic awareness of Chinese-speaking children in tandem with onset-rime awareness and their relative roles in learning to read and spell English. The participants were 29 fourth graders with better onset-rime and phonemic awareness, 29 with better onset-rime but poorer phonemic awareness, and 26 with poorer onset-rime and phonemic awareness. The children first took a criterion learning of letter-sound correspondences task and were then tested on their abilities to spell and read English pseudowords. The results showed that most children were able to detect segmental components in a falling diphthong or a VN rime, indicating phonemes were constituents in their phonological awareness. Children with better onset-rime and phonemic awareness performed better in English pseudoword spelling than children with better onset-rime but poorer phonemic awareness, who in turn, performed better than children with poorer onset-rime and phonemic awareness. Similar patterns were observed for pseudoword reading, only that the effect of onset-rime awareness was less conclusive. These findings underscore the role of phonemic awareness in the acquisition of EFL reading and spelling for Chinese-speaking children.
臺灣語言學期刊, 3(1), 65-100 Taiwan Journal of Linguistics, 3(1), 65-100