In written Chinese, words are not separated by spaces, which may make parsing text into words difficult. This article presents a study in which second-graders, fifth-graders, and college students in Taiwan completed a word parsing task to test whether the length of time that a child has been literate has any bearing on their understanding of the concept of the metalinguistic term word. The study suggests that even second graders are aware of core properties of words, although the concept of word continues to develop as children acquire literacy experience.

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