L2 Orthography experiments

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The ‘Standard’ Two-Component Model

  Speech sounds

                    Physical processes

knowledge of                             knowledge of
letter-to-sound                          individual
correspondences                            words
"rules"                                  "instances"

                    Written text

L1 transfer across systems
—transfer from rules to instances system
—transfer from instances to rules system

   L2 character   L2 syllabic  L2 alphabetic
L1 character     Chik   H+C(Ch), L+H
L1 syllabic        K89(J), B+H(J)
L1 alphabetic  H    Chik      H+C, K89
L1 semitic         K89, B+H

Sources (summaries of most)

HC Haynes, M. & Carr, T.H. (1990), ‘Writing system background and second language reading: a component skills analysis of English reading by native-speaking readers of Chinese’, in T.H. Carr & B.A. Levy (eds), Reading and its development: component skills approaches, San Diego, Academic Press, 375-421
Subjects: Chinese vs American readers of English (and comparison Spanish
meths: timed reading test
results: speed Americans 254 wpm, Taiwanese university freshmen 83 wpm, Taiwanese seniors 88 wpm Spanish 110 wpm

Chik Chikamatsu, N. (1996), ‘The effects of L1 orthography on L2 word recognition’, Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 18, 403-432
Subjects: English vs Chinese learners of Japanese kana
meths: testing RTs ‘do you recognise or not?’ to familiar words (yes), non-words (No) and visually unfamiliar words (Kanji written as kana)
results: Chinese rely more on visual info, English used phonological info more

K Koda, K. (1989), ‘Effects of L1 orthographic representation on L2 phonological coding strategies’, J. Psycholing. Res., 18, 201-222
Subjects: Arabic, English Chinese, Spanish users of English
meths: phonologically similar letters, unpronounceable letters, phonologically
dissimilar, graphically similar
results: dominance of phono, different strats for 3 gps; main difference Arabic

B+H Brown, T.L & Haynes, M. (1985), ‘Literacy Background and Reading Development in a Second Language’, in Thomas, H.C. (ed.). The Development of Reading Skills, Jossey-Bass Inc
Subjects: Japanese Arabic Spanish user of English
meths: mixed reading tasks
results: overall order Japanese fastest, Spanish, then Arabic
visual task on abstract figures: Japanese fastest, Arabic/Spanish equal

L+H Leong, C.K. & Hsia, S. (1996), ‘Cross-linguistics constraints on Chinese students learning English’, in Bond, M.H. (1996), The Handbook of Chinese Psychology, OUP Hong Kong, 63-78
Subjects: Chinese learners of English (+ or - Putonghua)
meths: word dictation
results; though level of reading was the same, Putonghua affected their English

H Hayes, E.B. (1988), ‘Encoding strategies used by native and non-native readers of Chinese Mandarin’ Modern Language Journal, 72, ii, 188-195
Subjects: English learners of Chinese
meths: characters plus phon, graphemic or semantic distractor, in sentences
results: phon strategies for natives, too much visual by non-natives!

Other sources

Huang, H.S. & Hanley, J.R. (1994), ‘Phonological awareness and visual skills in learning to read Chinese and English’, Cognition, 54, 73-98

Koda, K. (1996), ‘L2 word recognition research: a critical review’, Modern Language Journal, 80, iv, 450-460

Coltheart, M., Curtis, B., Atkins, P, & Haller, M (1993), ‘Models of reading aloud: dual route and parallel-distributed-processing approaches’, Psychological Review, 100, 4, 589-608

Katz, L. & Frost, R. (1992), ‘Reading in different orthographies: the orthographic depth hypothesis’, in Frost, R. & Katz, L.(eds), Orthography, Phonology, Morphology and Meaning, Amsterdam, Elsevier, 67-84

Olson, R.K., Kleigl, R., Davidson, B.J. & Foltz, G. (1985), ‘Individual and developmental differences in reading ability’, in Mackinnon, G.E. & Waller, T.G. (eds), Reading research: Advances in theory and practice Vol. 4, Academic Press, New York, 1-64

Paap, K.R., Noel, R.W. & Johansen, L.S. (1992), ‘Dual-route models of print to sound: red herrings and real horses’, in Frost, R. & Katz, L. (eds.), Orthography, Phonology, Morphology, and Meaning, Elsevier, 293-318

Orthographic Regularities Experiment 1
Vivian Cook text of paper

Aim: to demonstrate the existence of knowledge of orthographic regularities in L1 and L2 users of English, on a par with their knowledge of instances and of rules for sound/letter correspondences, and to see if their L1 efficiency is equivalent to their L1.

Overall research questions:

- do both L1 and L2 users of English show a knowledge of visual instances, letter-to-sound correspondences, and orthographic regularities?

- do L2 users score less than L1 users on all three tests?

Method: replication of Olson, Kleigl, Davidson and Foltz (1985)s’ tasks for ‘instances’ and ‘sounds’ with the addition of an equivalent task for orthographic regularities, using the ERTS package on a PC

test 1. ‘instances’. "Which word is spelled correctly?": answer/anser, room/rume, toard/toward
test 2. ‘ sounds’. "Which word sounds like an English word?": fense/felce, shurt/shart, leeve/meave
test 3. ‘orthographic regularities’. "Which word looks like an English word?": wreg/gewr, chig/tchig, truve/truv. Testing 10 purely orthographic spellings:
frack/frak, whon/nowh, wreg/gewr, truve/truv, huz/huze, quong/qong, teign/gneit, blar/blarh

Participants: 38 volunteer students and staff at the University of Essex, with 24 L2 users

Results Orthographic
N Instances test Sounds test Regularities test
Times Success Times Success Times Success
(mills) (/40) (mills) (/40) (mills) (/40)

L1 users 14 800 39.7 1658 35.5 1504 35.4
L2 users 24 1043 38.9 2234 31.3 1827 33.3


Orthographic Regularities Experiment 2

Aim: to improve the materials marginally, to sharpen the level of English involved, above all to demonstrate differences between different L1 groups.

Overall research questions:

1) L2 users of English will score significantly better than chance at tests of instances, sounds and orthographic regularities
2) There will be systematic differences between groups of L2 users, based on their L1 orthographic systems, particularly between users of character scripts and alphabetic scripts, in terms of accuracy and speed of response.

Method: same as Experiment 1 with slightly changed materials

test 1. ‘instances’. Restriction to COBUILD frequency ***** plus ‘real’ mistakes benifit/benefit
test 2. ‘ sounds’.
test 3.
‘orthographic regularities’. Elimination of <rh> and <gn>

Participants: 78 students at private language schools, Japanese (13), Romance (Portuguese 4, Spanish 5, Italian 4, French 2; totalling 15), Chinese (10), Korean (10), German (10), Arabic/ Hebrew (10), and Eastern Europeans (Slovenian/Czech/Croatian) (10).

L1 Vocabulary test   Instances test  Sounds test  Regularities test
Times (mills)    Success (/32) Times (mills)  Success (/32)  Times (mills)  Success (/32)
Chinese  10  69.6  1122.2  30.6  2241.3  21.6  1536.1  29.0
Korean  10  66.6  1361.3  30.3  2581.0  22.1  1901.2  28.5
Romance  15  66.6  1804.2  30.9  2531.6  24.1  1837.2  26.3
German  10  60.1 1373.4   30.5 2490.4 24.0  1772.5   28.3
Easterners  10  73.7  1418.3  31  2420.8  27.7  1977.8  26.3
Arab/Heb 10  59  1551.7  29.5  2702.3  23.7  2201  25.3
Japanese  13  61.8  1271  30.4  1940  24.6  1664  26.3
Averages  65.34  1414.6  30.46  2415.3  24.0  1841.4  27.14

Experiment 2 Results