|dc.description.abstract||Recent findings have indicated that statistical learning ability correlates with literacy acquisition of alphabetic languages both as a first and a second language. However, it was unclear whether the correlation was demonstrated only in alphabetic languages or not. In the present study, we examined whether the same ability of detecting statistical regularities embedded in sequential stimuli, as well as the abilities of auditory perception and phonological processing, predict the literacy level in adults who learn Chinese as a second language.
Cross-sectional results from native speakers of alphabetic languages showed that the performance of Chinese literacy was significantly correlated with the time participants spent on learning Chinese and their performance on statistical learning of visual stimuli (VSL). The regression analysis further revealed that VSL accounted for unique variance of the size of Chinese characters that participants know even when the contribution from other variables, intelligence, and working memory was considered.
The follow-up research examined whether the potential factors have influence on the development of Chinese literacy. Analysis of the data from all remaining participants who were tested in both Experiment 1 and 2 did detect obvious improvement of Chinese literacy. Correlation and regression results showed no significant relationship between all the predictor variables and Chinese literacy. However, further analysis indicated that participants who continued studying Chinese during the past six months between Experiment 1 and 2 had greater improvements in Chinese literacy, especially in reading fluency. Significant correlation was also observed between the improvement of Chinese literacy indices and the performance of VSL for participants who did not continue taking formal Chinese courses. That is, formal instructions generally improved the performance of Chinese literacy, while the performance of VSL had impacts on Chinese literacy acquisition, especially when formal instruction was not available.
To conclude, the current study suggests that the ability of statistical learning is a critical predicting factor for learning Chinese as L2. These results are compatible with previous research that statistical learning ability has association with literacy acquisition both for L1 and L2. Moreover, the results demonstrated that not only in alphabetic languages, but also in Chinese, the ability to extract regularities and to compute transitional probability is greatly correlated with literacy acquisition.||en_US|