Adults’ spelling and understanding of possession and plurality: an intervention study

Adults’ spelling and understanding of possession and plurality: an intervention study In English, some words sound the same but are distinguished by silent written markers of their morphological status, as in plurals (e.g., cities), singular possessives (e.g., city’s) and plural possessives (e.g., cities’). We examined undergraduates’ ability to correctly omit or position apostrophes in these three word types before and after a 3-week intervention that focused on the conceptual bases for plurality and possession, as well as their associated spelling rules. Pre-test spelling was imperfect for plurals and poor for possessives, especially plural possessives. Abstract understanding of plurality and possession, measured in a morphological awareness task, was also relatively poor. The intervention resulted in significant but imperfect improvement on all tasks, with post-test morphological awareness predicting post-test spelling of plurals and possessives, even after controls for general spelling ability. Control participants showed no change. We suggest that adults’ difficulty in spelling possessives stems from a shaky grasp of the underlying morphological concepts, and we discuss possibilities for future intervention. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Reading and Writing Springer Journals

Adults’ spelling and understanding of possession and plurality: an intervention study

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Subject
Linguistics; Languages and Literature; Psycholinguistics; Education (general); Neurology; Interdisciplinary Studies
ISSN
0922-4777
eISSN
1573-0905
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11145-012-9366-7
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In English, some words sound the same but are distinguished by silent written markers of their morphological status, as in plurals (e.g., cities), singular possessives (e.g., city’s) and plural possessives (e.g., cities’). We examined undergraduates’ ability to correctly omit or position apostrophes in these three word types before and after a 3-week intervention that focused on the conceptual bases for plurality and possession, as well as their associated spelling rules. Pre-test spelling was imperfect for plurals and poor for possessives, especially plural possessives. Abstract understanding of plurality and possession, measured in a morphological awareness task, was also relatively poor. The intervention resulted in significant but imperfect improvement on all tasks, with post-test morphological awareness predicting post-test spelling of plurals and possessives, even after controls for general spelling ability. Control participants showed no change. We suggest that adults’ difficulty in spelling possessives stems from a shaky grasp of the underlying morphological concepts, and we discuss possibilities for future intervention.

Journal

Reading and WritingSpringer Journals

Published: Mar 11, 2012

References

  • Morphology matters in learning to read
    Carlisle, JF

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