chapter  34
10 Pages

Learning to Spell by Ear and by Eye: A Cross-Linguistic Comparison

ByR. Malatesha Joshi, Torleiv Høien, Xiwu Feng, Rajni Chengappa, Regina Boulware-Gooden

Recently there has been a resurgence of interest in the literacy acquisition of bilinguals and second-language learners. This is not surprising because bilinguals appear to exceed the number of people who are monolinguals. One of the questions often asked is the influence of the orthographic, phonological, and visual features of the first language (L1) has on the acquisition of a second language (L2). In one study, Durgunogˇlu, Nagy, and Hancin-Bhatt (1993) found that children who had high level of phonological awareness in Spanish performed well on reading words and nonwords in English. This led Durgunogˇlu et al. (1993) to conclude that “phonological awareness was a significant predictor of performance on word recognition tests both within and across languages” (p. 461). A similar facilitating effect of transfer from Portuguese to English has been found by Da Fontoura and Siegel (1995) and from Italian to English by D’Angiuilli, Siegel, and Serra (2002).