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Brain Bases of Morphological Processing in Chinese-English Bilingual Children.

Published on Sep 1, 2017in Developmental Science4.096
· DOI :10.1111/desc.12449
Ka I. Ip4
Estimated H-index: 4
(UM: University of Michigan),
Lucy Shih Ju Hsu4
Estimated H-index: 4
(HKU: University of Hong Kong)
+ 2 AuthorsIoulia Kovelman12
Estimated H-index: 12
(UM: University of Michigan)
Abstract
Can bilingual exposure impact children's neural circuitry for learning to read? To answer this question, we investigated the brain bases of morphological awareness, one of the key spoken language abilities for learning to read in English and Chinese. Bilingual Chinese-English and monolingual English children (N = 22, ages 7–12) completed morphological tasks that best characterize each of their languages: compound morphology in Chinese (e.g. basket + ball = basketball) and derivational morphology in English (e.g. re + do = redo). In contrast to monolinguals, bilinguals showed greater activation in the left middle temporal region, suggesting that bilingual exposure to Chinese impacts the functionality of brain regions supporting semantic abilities. Similar to monolinguals, bilinguals showed greater activation in the left inferior frontal region [BA 45] in English than Chinese, suggesting that young bilinguals form language-specific neural representations. The findings offer new insights to inform bilingual and cross-linguistic models of language and literacy acquisition.
  • References (53)
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ABSTRACTThe developmental process of reading acquisition is frequently conceptualized as a self-organizing mental network consisting of lexico-semantic, phonological and orthographical components. The developmental nature of this network varies across languages and is known to impact second-language learners of typologically different languages. Yet, it remains largely unknown whether such cross-linguistic differences interact within young bilingual learners of two typologically different langua...
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Some aspects of Chinese literacy development do not conform to patterns of literacy development in alphabetic orthographies. Four are highlighted here. First, semantic radicals are one aspect of Chinese characters that have no analogy to alphabetic orthographies. Second, the unreliability of phonological cues in Chinese along with the fact that word building relies heavily on lexical compounding in Chinese makes morphological awareness particularly important for early reading development. Third,...
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How does the developing brain support the transition from spoken language to print? Two spoken language abilities form the initial base of child literacy across languages: knowledge of language sounds (phonology) and knowledge of the smallest units that carry meaning (morphology). While phonology has received much attention from the field, the brain mechanisms that support morphological competence for learning to read remain largely unknown. In the present study, young English-speaking children ...
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Abstract Morphological awareness, the ability to manipulate the smallest units of meaning, is critical for Chinese literacy. This is because Chinese characters typically reflect the morphemic, or morpho-syllabic units of language. Yet, the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying Chinese speakers’ morphological processing remain understudied. Proficient readers (N = 14) completed morphological and phonological judgment tasks in Chinese, in both auditory and visual modalities, during fMRI imaging. Ke...
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