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Academic Paper

Title: The processing of lexical tones by young Chinese children
Author: Candise Y. Lin
Institution: University of Maryland
Author: Min Wang
Institution: University of Maryland
Author: Hua Shu
Institution: Beijing Normal University
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Phonology; Psycholinguistics
Subject Language: Chinese, Mandarin
Abstract: The current study examined five- and seven-year-old Mandarin-speaking children's processing of lexical tones in relation to speech segments by varying onset and rime in an oddity task (onset±rime±). Results showed that children experienced more difficulty in lexical tone oddity judgment when rimes differed across monosyllables (e.g. onset+rime−) than when onsets differed (e.g. onset−rime+). This finding suggests that vowels interfere more than consonants in lexical tone processing. Seven-year-olds consistently outperformed five-year-olds, suggesting that the growth of metalinguistic awareness and literacy exposure may play a joint role in the development of lexical tone processing skills.


This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 40, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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