The role of prosodic reading in English reading comprehension among Cantonese-English bilingual children

Author(s): Rachel Ka-Ying Tsui, Xiuli Tong and Leo Shing-Chun Fung

Abstract

We examine the role of prosodic reading in English reading comprehension among Cantonese-English bilingual children by characterizing the acoustic characteristics of bilingual children’s English prosodic production and relating them to their English reading comprehension. Spectrographic analysis was performed on six types of syntactically complex structures from an English passage orally produced by the participants, with a focus on pitch pattern and pause structure. Pitch patterns produced by our bilingual children were found to show similar patterns to those produced by English-speaking adults as reported in previous studies. However, pause structures produced by the bilingual children were different from the native English speakers. Furthermore, only pitch pattern was significantly associated with English reading comprehension. These results suggest that pitch pattern is a critical factor in determining English reading comprehension among Cantonese-English bilingual children. We discuss these findings in terms of automaticity theory in second language reading acquisition.

Get PDF

Comments