This study investigated the development of the mental representation of Chinese disyllabic words. Unlike alphabetical languages, Chinese is a logographic system where character is the basic unit of meaning. Most Chinese words are composed of two characters. Theoretically, Chinese compound word can be read either as a whole unit or as the component character. Subjects were asked to read aloud a list of two-character words, controlled for word and component character frequencies across grades. The correct percentage was analyzed using three two-way analyses of variance. Results indicated that children are able to make use of both levels of reading as early as Grade 1. Lower graders tended to use both the component character level reading processes more, while higher graders tended to read words as whole units more.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language