Reading and Writing

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 627–644 | Cite as

General auditory processing, Chinese tone processing, English phonemic processing and English reading skill: a comparison between Chinese-English and Korean-English bilingual children

  • Min Wang
  • Alida Anderson
  • Chenxi Cheng
  • Yoonjung Park
  • Jennifer Thomson


In the present study, we investigated the relationship between general auditory processing, Chinese tone processing, English phonemic processing and English reading skill in a group of Chinese-English bilingual children with a tonal L1 and Korean-English counterparts with a non-tonal L1. We found that general auditory processing contributed to variance in English word reading skill for Chinese children after controlling for Chinese tone and English phoneme deletion skill. English phonemic processing, on the other hand, explained a significant amount of unique variance in English reading for Korean children after controlling for general auditory and Chinese tone skill. These findings suggest that Chinese children relied more on general auditory processing in reading English, whereas Korean children relied more on phonemic skill in reading English. These findings are discussed in terms of the impact of cross-language differences in bilingual reading acquisition.


Auditory processing Chinese tone processing Chinese-English bilingual children English phoneme deletion English reading skill Korean-English bilingual children 



The research reported here was supported by a NIH/NICHD grant (R01HD048438) to the first author. We would like to thank all the teachers and parents in the Chinese and Korean language schools for their warm support and the children for their active participation. We also thank Kendra Sun, Seunghyun Baek, Mindy Chuang, Amy Dai, Hyunsoo Kim, Aleck Chen for their help with collecting data. Seunghyun Baek, Sarika Sarpatwari and Mary Diehl helped with scoring data. Charles A. Perfetti and Gal Ben-Yehudah provide valuable comments on an early version of the paper. We are also grateful for Ying Liu’s help with E-prime programming of the tone experiments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Min Wang
    • 1
  • Alida Anderson
    • 1
  • Chenxi Cheng
    • 1
  • Yoonjung Park
    • 1
  • Jennifer Thomson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Human DevelopmentUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.Faculty of EducationUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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