February 23, 2015

Guest talk at UTM: Xi Becky Chen (University of Toronto) and Vedran Dronjic (Carnegie Mellon)

OISE faculty member Xi Becky Chen and collaborator Vedran Dronjic (Carnegie Mellon) will be giving a talk at our Mississauga campus this Friday at 2 PM in 2080 Deerfield Hall: "Tracking the development of Mandarin-speaking children's morphological awareness from kindergarten to Grade 6."

Awareness of morphological structure is known to be essential for word identification, spelling, and reading comprehension in a variety of languages and scripts. This awareness emerges in the preschool years, develops in a piecemeal fashion, with much individual variation, and is considerably enhanced through formal education. Morpheme saliency is one factor known to influence the development of morphological awareness. However, the developmental course of morphological awareness is not well understood, particularly for languages other than English. In this talk, we will report on a series of studies carried out in China with a large sample of Mandarin-speaking children (n = 645) ranging in age from kindergartners to Grade 6 students. The children were required to decide whether pairs of auditorily presented bimorphemic Mandarin compounds shared one of their roots or did not share a root. We will discuss the influence of semantic relatedness (closely versus distantly related words), root type (bound versus free), and orthography (same versus different hànzì character) on the children’s ability to perform the experimental task.  We will also present an outline of the developmental trajectory of aspects of Mandarin-speaking children’s morphological awareness.

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