Reading and Writing

, Volume 23, Issue 3–4, pp 311–336

Cross-language transfer of insight into the structure of compound words

  • Jie Zhang
  • Richard C. Anderson
  • Hong Li
  • Qiong Dong
  • Xinchun Wu
  • Yan Zhang


Cross-language transfer of awareness of the structure of compound words was investigated among native speakers of Chinese who were learning English as a second language. Chinese fifth graders received instruction in the morphology of four types of compound words in either Chinese or English. They then completed both the Chinese and English versions of a compound word structure analogy task. Compared with children who received no instruction, children who received instruction in Chinese were able to transfer knowledge they had acquired of compound types in Chinese to comparable types in English. Reverse transfer from English to Chinese was found among children with high reading proficiency.


Morphological awareness Cross-language transfer Compound morphology Reading proficiency 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jie Zhang
    • 1
  • Richard C. Anderson
    • 1
  • Hong Li
    • 2
  • Qiong Dong
    • 2
  • Xinchun Wu
    • 2
  • Yan Zhang
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for the Study of ReadingUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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