Macquarie University
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Phonological decoding in orthographic learning: evidence from Chinese

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posted on 2022-03-28, 11:20 authored by Luan Li
An important part of children's reading development is the transition from laboriously sounding out a word to automatic word recognition, which is referred to as orthographic learning. In this thesis, I examine the role of phonological decoding in the process of orthographic learning. I also apply theories and findings generated in alphabetic languages to a non-alphabetic language, Chinese. This thesis is presented in three parts. Firstly, a broad literature review on the role of phonological decoding in reading development is presented. In particular, the phase theory and the self-teaching hypothesis are discussed, with empirical evidence in several languages examined. The review also identifies a lack of empirical studies of non-alphabetic languages, and proposes how phonological decoding can be investigated in orthographic learning in Chinese. Next, drawing on the literature review, an empirical study is presented to examine the mechanisms of phonological decoding in Chinese, and to address whether they make a direct contribution to orthographic learning. Two research questions are tested: 1) Whether and how Chinese children use phonetic radicals, the "internal approach" and, 2) Zhuyin, the "external approach" for phonological decoding and orthographic learning. The findings support that both approaches are adopted for phonological decoding in Chinese. However, only the internal approach directly contributes to orthographic learning. Finally, theoretical implications of the findings are discussed. Directions for future research are also outlined.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. General introduction -- Chapter 2. Phonological decoding : definition, contribution and generalisability to a non-alphabetic language -- Chapter 3. Examining phonological decoding in orthographic learning in Chinese -- Chapter 4. General discussion -- Chapter 5. References -- Appendices.


Theoretical thesis. At foot of title: ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, Department of Cognitive Science, Macquarie University. Bibliography: pages 82-97

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Cognitive Science

Department, Centre or School

Department of Cognitive Science

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Eva Marinus

Additional Supervisor 1

Hua-Chen Wang

Additional Supervisor 2

Anne Edwina Castles


Copyright Li Luan 2016. Copyright disclaimer:




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