Chuchu Li · [LSLT] The Influence of Orthographic Experience on the Development of Phonological Preparation Unit in Spoken Word Production
The current project examined the influence of orthographic experience on the development of phonological preparation unit in spoken word production in native Mandarin-speaking children. Previous research has shown that the acquisition of orthographic knowledge reconstructs literate speakers’ phonological representation and the acquisition of alphabetic orthographic knowledge improves children’s phonological awareness at the phonemic level. However, few studies have investigated the influence of orthographic experience on phonological retrieval and encoding in spoken word production. The goal of this dissertation is to fill this gap. Three experiments were carried out to conduct the investigation. Participants consisted of native Mandarin speakers from four age groups with different orthographic experience, including Grade 1 children who are comparatively more exposed to alphabetic Pinyin and have very limited Chinese character knowledge, Grade 2 and Grade 4 children who have better character knowledge and more exposure to characters, and skilled adult readers who have the highest level of character knowledge and most exposure to character. Experiment 1 investigated whether onset serves as the phonological preparation unit in producing monosyllables; Experiment 2 investigated whether the role of onset in phonological retrieval and encoding sustains when producing disyllabic words; Experiment 3 examined the role of syllable segment (i.e., syllable without the tonal information or atonal syllable) in producing disyllabic words. Results showed that only Grade 1 children select onset as the phonological preparation unit regardless of the word length during spoken word production. Additionally, they may process rhyme segment and tone as an integral unit. Grade 4 children and adults select syllable segment as the phonological preparation unit. Grade 2 children may select the whole syllable unit as the phonological preparation unit, and future research is needed for further investigation.