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Centre for Research in Language and Literacy - Langauge Education Network Seminar: Chinese Reading Universality and Specificity: Evidence from Offline and Online Tasks

Event details

On-Campus event with speaker Yue Jiang (visiting PhD student from East Chinese Normal University)

Chinese Reading Universality and Specificity: Evidence from Offline and Online Tasks


Reading research has both theoretical and practical values. Recent years have seen a huge increase in research on Chinese reading toward developing a universal science of reading and a better understanding of how the specificities in scripts affect reading acquisition. The Chinese writing system differs in critical aspects from alphabetic systems, such as the larger grain size of Chinese characters, its distinctive square shaped orthography, high levels of homophony and lexical compounding. Thus, Chinese reading research provides an elegant means of deepening our understanding of the universal and language/script-specific mechanism of reading (as a first and additional language). During this talk, I will present current understandings of Chinese reading, drawing upon empirical findings from studies, including my own PhD project, that used either offline (paper-pencil) tasks or online tasks such as eye movement. I will show that reading processes in Chinese and alphabetic languages are partly universal and partly writing-system specific in that writing system encodes sound and meaning; and reading success means activation of both. Such universality and specificity are also manifested in readers’ eye movement characteristics and supporting brain networks.

About the author: Jiang Yue is a PhD student in the School of Foreign Languages at East China Normal University in Shanghai. She received an MA of Chinese Linguistics from Beijing Language and Culture University. Her research interest lies broadly in first language and second language reading.