Becoming Biliterate in English and Chinese: What is the Role of Higher Level Phonological Processing?
Xiuli Shelley Tong

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Primary Discipline

Bilingual/Bicultural Education
English and Chinese are the two most spoken languages in the world. Understanding the key factors involved in learning to read these two languages is important for biliteracy acquisition. This 1-year longitudinal study will examine a factor that is little explored, but potentially very powerful in biliteracy acquisition: suprasegmental phonological processing. Suprasegmental phonological processing is specific to sensitivity to Chinese lexical tone and English lexical stress that operates above the segmental level tasks, such as phoneme segmentation. Comparable measures of Chinese and English suprasegmental phonological processing, segmental phonological processing, verbal and nonverbal cognitive abilities, and word reading will be administered to 150 Chinese-English bilingual children between the ages of 6 and 8. We will conduct structural equation modeling analyses to examine relations between lexical tone and lexical stress processing and the possibility of transfer of suprasegmental phonological processing to word reading across languages in bilingual children. This study will inform us as to how to best support biliteracy acquisition.
About Xiuli Shelley Tong

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