Use of partial information in learning to read chinese characters

Richard C. Anderson, Wenling Li, Yu Min Ku, Hua Shu, Ningning Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


This study investigated whether children can use partial information to learn the pronunciations of Chinese characters. Participants were 49 2nd graders and 56 4th graders whose home language was Mandarin and 75 2nd graders and 93 4th graders whose home language was Cantonese. Children had 2 trials to learn the Mandarin pronunciations of 28 unfamiliar compound characters of 4 types. Children learned to pronounce more regular characters, which contain full information about pronunciation, and more tone-different and onset-different characters, which contain partial information about pronunciation, than characters with unknown phonetic components, which contain no information about pronunciation. Mandarin-speaking children learned more pronunciations than Cantonese-speaking children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-57
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2003


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