Orthographies vary in the support they provide for word identification based on grapheme-phoneme correspondences. If skills developed in acquisition of first-language (L1) reading transfer to reading English as a foreign language (EFL), the extent to which EFL readers' word identification shows reliance on information other than grapheme-phoneme correspondences could be expected to vary with whether their L1 orthography is a non-Roman alphabet such as Korean hangul or a nonalphabetic (morpho-syllabic) system such as Chinese characters. Another influence could be whether EFL readers have learned to read a morpho-syllabic L1 by means of an alphabetic transliteration. English text reading speeds and oral reading quality ratings of three groups of adult Asian EFL readers attending an American university were compared with those of two groups of American L1 readers: Graduate student peers and eighth-grade students. All EFL groups read more slowly than both groups of L1 readers, and their reading was more impaired when orthographic cues were disrupted by mixed case print or pseudohomophone spellings. Some of these effects were reduced in EFL readers from Hong Kong, who had earlier exposure to English. Contrary to previous findings, no effects could be attributed to type of first orthography or early exposure to alphabetic transliteration of Chinese characters, which differentiated the Taiwanese and Hong Kong groups. As a whole, the results suggest that, at least across the L1 groups studied, differences in EFL word reading are associated less with type of L1 orthography than with history of exposure to English.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 15, 2004
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