Electronic Theses and Dissertations




Wei-Lun Chung



Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Comm Sciences and Disorders


Speech Lang Sci & Disorders

Committee Chair

Linda D. Jarmulowicz

Committee Member

Gavin M. Bidelman

Committee Member

Eugene H. Buder

Committee Member

Yonghong Xu


Little is known about the role of prosody in word reading. Mandarin-English bilingual speakers who speak Mandarin as a first language (L1) and English as a second language (L2) are particularly interesting because they must acquire two segmental/phonology systems (Mandarin has simpler syllable structures than does English), linguistic prosody systems (Mandarin tone and English stress), and orthographic systems (Chinese characters and English alphabet). The two papers included in the dissertation implemented correlational designs to examine the contributions of prosodic awareness and other variables to word reading in adult Mandarin-speaking English learners and Mandarin-English bilingual children. The first paper examined English stress perception and production in derivation, and English L2 word reading in adult Mandarin-speaking English learners. The study found that stress perception in derivations with non-neutral suffixes predicted word identification after controlling for working memory and English vocabulary, whereas stress production in derivations with neutral suffixes, independent of working memory and English vocabulary, predicted word identification and pseudoword decoding. This suggests that the adult English learners are less proficient in using non-neutral suffix cues for lexical stress production and word reading, because they may rely on lexicon or lexical memory but not non-neutral suffix cues for lexical stress placement as native English speakers do. The second paper examined auditory processing (i.e., pitch contour, pitch interval, and rise time), linguistic prosody awareness (i.e., Mandarin tone perception, English stress perception and production), phonological awareness (i.e., final phoneme awareness in Mandarin and English), and their relationship with Mandarin L1 and English L2 word reading in Mandarin-English bilingual children. The study revealed that pitch contour discrimination and rise time discrimination predicted Mandarin L1 and English L2 word reading, respectively. Mandarin tone perception was more important to Mandarin L1 word reading than was Mandarin final phoneme awareness. In contrast, English final phoneme awareness was more important to English L2 word reading than was English stress perception or production. Collectively, auditory processing and linguistic prosody awareness play different roles in Mandarin L1 and English L2 word reading, reflecting differences in phonology and orthography, and the interference between Mandarin and English.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.