Learning to spell and learning phonology: the spelling of consonant clusters in Kiswahili

Learning to spell and learning phonology: the spelling of consonant clusters in Kiswahili In orthographies studied to date, children learning to spell tend to omit one consonant of a cluster—for initial clusters, the second consonant, and for medial nasal clusters, the nasal. Explanations have included a special status for the initial consonant of a word, and the fact that in English nasal clusters are not true clusters but consist of a nasalised vowel plus a consonant. We tested children’s spelling of initial and medial clusters consisting of a nasal consonant followed by another consonant, but non-nasalised vowels, in Kiswahili. For both initial and medial clusters, the nasal was spelled wrongly more often than the other consonant. The initial position in a word does not seem to have special properties. Rather, the spelling of clusters seems to depend on the properties of the individual phonemes, nasals being particularly difficult to spell. It is concluded that cross-linguistic studies of spelling development are necessary to draw generalised conclusions about phonological processing. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Reading and Writing Springer Journals

Learning to spell and learning phonology: the spelling of consonant clusters in Kiswahili

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Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 by Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.
Subject
Linguistics; Language and Literature; Psycholinguistics; Education, general; Neurology; Literacy
ISSN
0922-4777
eISSN
1573-0905
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11145-006-9043-9
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In orthographies studied to date, children learning to spell tend to omit one consonant of a cluster—for initial clusters, the second consonant, and for medial nasal clusters, the nasal. Explanations have included a special status for the initial consonant of a word, and the fact that in English nasal clusters are not true clusters but consist of a nasalised vowel plus a consonant. We tested children’s spelling of initial and medial clusters consisting of a nasal consonant followed by another consonant, but non-nasalised vowels, in Kiswahili. For both initial and medial clusters, the nasal was spelled wrongly more often than the other consonant. The initial position in a word does not seem to have special properties. Rather, the spelling of clusters seems to depend on the properties of the individual phonemes, nasals being particularly difficult to spell. It is concluded that cross-linguistic studies of spelling development are necessary to draw generalised conclusions about phonological processing.

Journal

Reading and WritingSpringer Journals

Published: Dec 7, 2006

References

  • Learning to spell a regularly spelled language is not a trivial task – patterns of errors in Kiswahili
    Alcock, K. J.; Ngorosho, D.

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