The present study aimed to examine the contributions of two separate Pinyin skills and oral vocabulary to Chinese word reading of 70 third graders in a U.S. Mandarin Immersion program where Pinyin was introduced at Grade 3. Hierarchical regression analyses showed that Pinyin initial-final spelling—the skill to spell Chinese syllables using Pinyin letters—and oral vocabulary were uniquely associated with Chinese word reading, after accounting for the effects of phonological awareness and the other Pinyin skill of tone identification. The variance in Chinese word reading explained by tone identification was fully accounted for by oral vocabulary, Pinyin initial–final spelling, and phonological awareness, suggesting that tone identification might involve both phonology- and meaning-related processes. Oral vocabulary and tone identification explained more shared variance in Chinese word reading than the two code-related skills of phonological awareness and Pinyin initial-final spelling. The importance of meaning-related skills in learning the deep orthography of Chinese characters for Chinese L2 young learners is discussed.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The study reported in this article received financial support from Language Learning and the National Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations/National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages.
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.
- Chinese word reading
- Hierarchical regression analysis
- Mandarin immersion
- Oral vocabulary
- Pinyin skills