General and specific benefits of bi-literate bilingualism: a Russian–Hebrew study of beginning literacy

General and specific benefits of bi-literate bilingualism: a Russian–Hebrew study of beginning... The present paper addresses the issue of cross-linguistic transfer of phonemic awareness and word identification skills across two linguistically distant languages (Russian and Hebrew). The role of early literacy learning was directly assessed by distinguishing two groups of Russian–Hebrew speaking bilinguals; bi-literate (n = 39) and mono-literate bilinguals (n = 41), as well as a group of Hebrew-speaking monolinguals (n = 41). In a longitudinal design, a variety of linguistic, meta-linguistic and cognitive tasks were administered at the commencement of first grade, with Hebrew reading and spelling assessed at the end of the year. We observed general and specific benefits of early acquisition of basic Russian (L1) literacy skills to first grade Hebrew (L2) decoding and spelling. General benefits were evident in the cross-linguistic transfer of phonemic awareness from Russian to Hebrew, while more specific benefits were evident in the enhanced ability of bi-literate bilinguals to spell vowels and consonant clusters in Hebrew. These findings are discussed in the context of two alternative hypotheses: “the central processing hypothesis” and “the script dependent hypothesis”. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Reading and Writing Springer Journals

General and specific benefits of bi-literate bilingualism: a Russian–Hebrew study of beginning literacy

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Subject
Linguistics; Language and Literature; Psycholinguistics; Education, general; Neurology; Literacy
ISSN
0922-4777
eISSN
1573-0905
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11145-009-9210-x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The present paper addresses the issue of cross-linguistic transfer of phonemic awareness and word identification skills across two linguistically distant languages (Russian and Hebrew). The role of early literacy learning was directly assessed by distinguishing two groups of Russian–Hebrew speaking bilinguals; bi-literate (n = 39) and mono-literate bilinguals (n = 41), as well as a group of Hebrew-speaking monolinguals (n = 41). In a longitudinal design, a variety of linguistic, meta-linguistic and cognitive tasks were administered at the commencement of first grade, with Hebrew reading and spelling assessed at the end of the year. We observed general and specific benefits of early acquisition of basic Russian (L1) literacy skills to first grade Hebrew (L2) decoding and spelling. General benefits were evident in the cross-linguistic transfer of phonemic awareness from Russian to Hebrew, while more specific benefits were evident in the enhanced ability of bi-literate bilinguals to spell vowels and consonant clusters in Hebrew. These findings are discussed in the context of two alternative hypotheses: “the central processing hypothesis” and “the script dependent hypothesis”.

Journal

Reading and WritingSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 24, 2009

References

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