The effect of character structure on children's learning of chinese pseudo-characters
2003, Vol. VIII-1, pp. 47-61
The main organising feature of the Chinese writing system is the ideophonetic compound - that is, a character structure with two elements, a semantic radical, which gives a clue to the meaning of the character, and a phonological component, which gives a clue to the pronunciation. In a previous investigation, it was shown that children use this character structure when learning novel Chinese characters (Tsai & Nunes, in press): pseudo-characters that fit the ideophonetic compound structure were learned more easily than those that violate it, irrespective of the children's age and of testing mode (reading or writing). The aim of this study was to examine further how this character schema affects children's learning by varying the level of agreement between the pseudo-characters and the ideophonetic compound structure and the type of phonological rules used in obtaining pronunciation. In our experiments learning was significantly affected independently by the transparency of the semantic radical and the regularity of the phonological component.