Reading and Writing

, Volume 25, Issue 7, pp 1747–1767 | Cite as

The effects of L1 and orthographic regularity and consistency in naming Chinese characters

  • Chin-Hsi LinEmail author
  • Penelope Collins


The present study examined the influence of the features of Chinese characters, such as frequency, regularity and consistency, on the accuracy with which they were read by two groups of adult Chinese learners. Twenty-two English-speakers and 31 Japanese-speakers studying Chinese at a Taiwanese University read 130 Chinese characters that varied along the dimensions of regularity, consistency, number of strokes and familiarity (frequency with which they appeared in instructional texts). The results suggest that lexical and sub-lexical features, such as regularity and consistency, play an important role in reading Chinese among Chinese language learners. Furthermore, differences between the Japanese- and English-speaking participants suggest that the first language (L1) phonology and writing system may influence Chinese character learning. In addition, the language proficiency of Chinese language learners also influences sensitivity to sublexical features in naming Chinese characters. Finally, Chinese language learners with both L1s follow the same trajectory for developing orthography-to-phonology knowledge reported for native Chinese-speaking children.


Bilingualism Cross-linguistic Learning Word recognition processes 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA

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