Cross‐language transfer of morphological awareness in Chinese–English bilinguals Journal Articles uri icon

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  • This study examined cross‐language transfer of morphological awareness in Chinese–English bilingual children. One hundred and thirty‐seven first to fourth graders participated in the study. The children were tested on parallel measures of compound awareness, vocabulary, word reading and reading comprehension in Chinese and English. They also received measures of English derivational awareness, English phonological awareness and nonverbal reasoning. Structural equation modelling was used to compare a baseline model with only within‐language paths to a model with cross‐language paths. The cross‐language model fit significantly better than the within‐language model, suggesting transfer of morphological awareness between English and Chinese. In particular, we observed a bidirectional relationship between English compound awareness and Chinese vocabulary. Furthermore, English compound awareness was a significant predictor of Chinese reading comprehension. The conditions that support transfer of morphological awareness and the impact of transfer on literacy development in Chinese and English are discussed.


  • Lok, Katie
  • Pasquarella, Adrian
  • Chen, Xi
  • Lam, Katie
  • Luo, Yang C
  • Ramirez, Gloria

publication date

  • February 2011