L1-Induced Facilitation in Biliteracy Development in Chinese and English

  • Keiko KodaEmail author
  • Chan Lü
  • Dongbo Zhang
Part of the Literacy Studies book series (LITS, volume 8)


In an attempt to clarify the multi-layered complexities inherent in biliteracy development, this chapter addresses two overarching questions: How are previously acquired sub-skills assimilated in learning to read in later acquired, or additional, literacy; and how assimilated skills enhance reading sub-skills development in later acquired literacy? By comparing the requisite facets of phonological and morphological awareness for reading acquisition in Chinese and English, we made specific predictions regarding cross-linguistic contributions of previously acquired metalinguistic awareness to reading sub-skills development in later acquired literacy. We report two empirical studies conducted to test those predictions. The first study focused on the intra- and inter-lingual relationships in oral vocabulary knowledge, phonological awareness, and decoding skills in Chinese heritage language learners in the US. The second study examined cross-linguistic relationships in morphological awareness and lexical inference in Chinese children learning English as a Foreign Language in China. Findings from the studies are discussed in light of systematic variations in L1-induced facilitation that are attributable to task demands, linguistic distance between two languages, and L2 grapheme-language mapping experience.


Biliteracy Resource sharing Phonological awareness Morphological awareness Chinese as a Heritage language English as a Foreign language Linguistic distance 



We would like to thank the students who participated in the two empirical studies, and the two anonymous reviewers for their comments on an earlier version of this chapter. Study 2 was previously reported and published as Zhang (in press; DOI: 10.1017/S0142716412000070) in Applied Psycholinguistics. We thank Cambridge University Press for granting us permission to reproduce some contents of that paper for this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Modern LanguagesCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of Modern Languages and LiteraturesLoyola Marymount UniversityLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Department of Teacher Education, College of EducationMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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