A Comparison of Pinyin Invented Spelling and Oddity Test in Measuring Phonological Awareness in L2 Learners of Chinese

Haiwei Zhang, Leah Roberts

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The importance of phonological awareness (PA) for the acquisition of literacy skills has been widely recognized. Across languages, PA is commonly examined using the Oddity test, however, for Chinese-speaking children, Pinyin invented spelling is recommended as being a more powerful tool to assess PA. However, it is still unclear whether this holds true for learners of Chinese as a second language (CSL). To address this issue, we administered an oddity test and a Pinyin invented spelling task to explore Chinese PA in 43 Arabic and 40 English CSL learners at pre-intermediate and intermediate levels. The results generated two major findings. First, Pinyin invented spelling revealed more significant cross-group differences in Chinese PA between the Arabic and English CSL learners than the oddity test. Second, the participants’ performance in Pinyin invented spelling was a stronger predictor of character-reading and character-writing skills than their performance in the oddity test. The overall findings suggest that Pinyin invented spelling may be a more powerful measurement of Chinese PA for CSL learners in comparison to the conventional test, in line with the findings reported for Chinese-speaking children. The theoretical implications for understanding the role of phonological skills in the growth of Chinese literacy skills and practical suggestions for measuring Chinese PA are proposed.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of psycholinguistic research
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2020

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