Summaries of L2 articles etc on spelling

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Chikamatsu, N. (1996), ‘The effects of L1 orthography on L2 word recognition’, Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 18, 403-432 Abstract
This paper examines the effects of a first language (L1) orthographic system on second language (L2) word recognition strategies. Lexical judgment tests using Japanese kana (a syllabic script consisting of hiragana and katakana) were given to native English and native Chinese learners of Japanese. The visual familiarity and length in test words were controlled to examine the involvement of phonological or visual coding in word recognition strategies. The responses of the English and Chinese subjects were compared on the basis of observed reaction time. The results indicated that (a) Chinese subjects relied more on the visual information in L2 Japanese kana words than did English subjects and (b) English subjects utilized the phonological information in Japanese kana words more than did Chinese subjects. Accordingly, these findings demonstrate that native speakers of English and Chinese utilize different word recognition strategies due to L1 orthographic characteristics, and such L1 word recognition strategies are transferred into L2 Japanese kana word recognition.

‘native readers of Chinese can use relatively strong knowledge of English orthographic patterns to compensate for difficulty with phonological processing of English words’

Linda BeboutAn Error Analysis of Misspellings Made by Learners of English as a First and as a Second Language’, Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, Vol. 14, No.6, 1985

About 700 misspelled words were collected from the responses produced on a fill-in-the-blank task by two groups of advanced learners of English, (1) English-speaking children (9-11 years) and (2) Spanish-speaking adults studying English. The spelling errors were coded using a detailed categorisation system (whose use and rationale are described), and the resulting tabulations were analysed for differences between the two subject groups or differences across error types. The two groups were similar in that they both made proportionally more vowel than consonant errors. On the other hand, significant differences between the subject groups were found in three of the major categories: The Spanish speakers made more errors involving consonant doubling, while the native English speakers made more involving the unstressed vowel schwa (/~) and the grapheme silent /e/. It is argued that these differences stem from the language backgrounds and resulting spelling strategies of the two groups, and the paper concludes with a discussion of the need for other studies comparing the spelling errors of first and second-language learners.

HELENA-FIVI CHITIRI & DALE M. WILLOWS Bilingual word recognition in English and Greek Applied Psycholinguistics 18(1997), l39-l56

The word recognition processes of proficient bilinguals were examined in their mother tongue (Greek) and in English in relation to the linguistic and syntactic characteristics along which the two languages differ. Their processes were then compared with those of monolingual readers. The following issues were addressed: the nature of bilingual functioning, whether it is language specific, and the factors that affect second language reading development. These issues were examined within the context of a letter cancellation paradigm. The results indicated that bilingual readers performed differently in each of their two languages, conforming more to the monolingual patterns in their mother tongue than to those in their second language. This discrepancy was interpreted as a lack of co-ordination of different word recognition skills in the second language.

Carl James, Phil Scholfield, Peter Garrett and Yvonne Griffiths WELSH BILINGUALS' ENGLISH SPELLING: AN ERROR ANALYSIS'

Prioritising communicativity has resulted in increased tolerance toward imperfections in second language users' grammar and pronunciation. Imperfect spelling however can not be disregarded , and it incurs severe social penalties . In this paper we ask whether, to what extent, and in what respects the second language English spelling of young Welsh-English bilinguals is systematically idiosyncratic. Data are from free compositions written by I () II year old children in bilingual Gwynedd. Almost 4(Y/'~~ of attested misspellings are attributable to Welsh L1 pronunciation and spelling rules. Target language overgeneralisation is also a potent influence on spellings. Special problems surface in the areas of lexical cognates. A model is presented of the second language spelling process in the form of a 'decision tree', with suggestions for its use for descriptive, diagnostic and remedial purposes. Areas wanting further research are identified.

Alison Holm, Barbara Dodd (1996) The effect of first written language On the acquisition of English literacy Cognition 59 

The relationship between first and second language literacy was examined by identifying the skills and processes developed in the first language that were transferred to the second language. The performance of 40 university students from the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Australia were compared on a series of tasks that assessed phonological awareness and reading and spelling skills in English. The results indicated that the Hong Kong students (with non-alphabetic first language literacy) had limited  phonological awareness compared to those students with alphabetic first language literacy. The reading and spelling tasks showed no differences between the groups on real word processing. However, the students from Hong Kong had difficulty processing non-words because of their poor phonological awareness. The results supported the hypothesis that people learning English as a Second language (ESL) transfer their literacy processing skills from their first language to English. When the phonological awareness required in English had not been developed in the first language, ESL students were limited to a whole-word visual strategy. The findings indicate that students from non-alphabetic written language backgrounds face difficulties with new, or unfamiliar words when attending universities where English is the medium of instruction.

Margaret Haynes & Thomas H. Carr (1990) ‘Writing system background and second language reading: a component skills analysis of English reading by native speaker- readers of Chinese’, in T.H. Carr & B.A. Levy (eds), Reading and its development: component skills approaches, San Diego, Academic Press, 375-421 [VC’s summary]
aim: components skill approach comparing Chinese L1 readers of English with native speakers
methods: multiple measures of visual efficiency (same/different matching, language proficiency, language outcome
Ss: Chinese undergraduates at 2 levels in Taiwan, native American psychology undergrads

visual efficiency: both gps letter strings most difficult, words easiest; pseudo-words showed slightly less increase in efficiency for non-native gps. \they did not benefit as much from orthographic structure as natives
Taiwanese lower Taiwanese higher native speaker
Mean word pairs per min. 56.73 57.88 59.39
mean pseudo-words 54.07 54.28 59.27
mean letter strings 45.62 48.85 49.10
ii) reading success: native speakers better at comprehension and much faster by 2.88
Taiwanese lower Taiwanese higher native speaker
Mean comprehension score 60.18 67.19 75.33
mean words per min 83.09 88.00 253.90
lexicality effect (word-pseudo-word) vs orthography effect (pseudo-word letter string)
English>Chinese: ‘students who are better readers of an alphabetic language are also more likely to succeed at the short term initial learning of a small foreign language vocabulary presented in either an alphabet-like or morphosyllabic orthography. Accuracy in making phonological judgements about English words also predicts the learning of both kinds of new orthography ...’

Huang, H.S. Hanley J. Richard, J.R.  Phonological awareness and visual skills in learning to read Chinese and English. Cognition 54 (1994) 73-98 [Not L2 per se but comparative two L1s]
It is well known that phonological awareness is closely related to reading skill in children who are learning to read an alphabetic script such as English. In this study, the relationship between phonological awareness and reading skill was also investigated in children living in Hong Kong and Taiwan who were learning to read Chinese, This is because children from Taiwan learn a phonological script, known as Zhu-Yin-Fu-Hao, before they are taught to read any Chinese characters. In addition, a high proportion of Chinese characters contain a "phonetic" component which might be used by Chinese readers when they are recognising Chinese words. Consequently, the performance of t37 8-year-old primary children from Britain, Hong Kong and Taiwan on tests of phonological awareness, visual skills and reading ability was examined. Although there were significant correlations between Chinese reading and phonological awareness, the results of a series of regression analyses did not support the view that differences in phonological awareness per Se are a primary cause of differences in reading ability amongst children learning to read Chinese. In contrast, performance on the phonological awareness tests (rhyme and phoneme detection) was significantly related to the reading ability of British children even after the effects of IQ and vocabulary had been partialled out. The results also showed that a test of visual skills (visual paired associates learning) was significantly related to the reading ability of the children in Hong Kong and Taiwan, but not to the reading of the British children. In addition, the nature of rhyme and phoneme deletion skills differed in children from Britain and Hong Kong. Whereas British children found it more difficult to delete the first phoneme from an initial consonant blend which contained a single consonant before the vowel (e.g. deleting /s/ from sit), children from Hong Kong showed exactly the opposite pattern. In addition performance on a phoneme deletion test appeared to be strongly influenced by whether to not the child had learnt an alphabetic script in the language in which they were being tested.

Akamatsu, N. (1998), 'L1 and L2 reading: the orthographic effects of Japanese on reading in English', Language, Culture and Curriculum, 11, 1, 9-27
Transfer has been an important concept in research on second language (L2) learning. L2 reading research, for example, has considered aspects of learners' first language (L1) which appear to influence their L2 reading. Using psycholinguistic perspectives, this article focuses on the influence of L1 on L2 reading, specifically addressing the orthographic effects of Japanese (L1) on reading in English (L2). After providing background on the Japanese writing system and the systems of education in Japanese and English in Japan, an overview of key research on L1 orthographic effects on L2 word recognition leads into a discussion of how Japanese affects reading in English. In the conclusion, practical pedagogical questions are raised and the need for more research in this area is addressed.

Brown, T. & Haynes, M. 1985. Literacy background and reading development in a second language. In T.H. Carr (ed.), The Development of Reading Skills. New York: Academic Press

Jackson , N.E, Wen-Hui Lu & Daushen Ju (1994), ‘Reading Chinese and reading English: similarities, differences, and second language reading’, in Berninger, V.W. (ed), The Varieties of Orthographic Knowledge, Vol I, Kluwer, 73-110

Seidenberg, M.S. (1985) compared Chinese and English word naming, showing phonologic route not used for frequent words but for low frequency words

Besner, D. & Hildebrandt, N. (1987) tested Japanese scripts; words shown in the usual script were faster proving visual route