Native language effects on spelling in English as a foreign language: a time-course study

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  • Nadya Dich
  • Bo Pedersen
The study explores first language (L1) influences on the mechanisms of spelling in English as a foreign language (EFL). We hypothesized that the transparency of L1 orthography influences (a) the amount of hesitation associated with spelling irregular English words, and (b) the size of units EFL spellers operate. Participants were adult speakers of three languages differing by the degree of transparency, Danish, Russian, and Italian (n = 60), and a group of English native speakers (n = 20). We analyzed keystroke logs from typed spellings of 30 English words. The amount of hesitation (number of corrections and number of long within-word pauses), was equal across all participants groups, thus disconfirming our first hypothesis. Inter-key intervals between onsets and rhymes were longer than within-rhyme intervals, but only in Danes and native English speakers, and not in Russians and Italians. We discuss how the characteristics of the L1 may explain the observed cross-linguistic differences.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCanadian Journal of Applied Linguistics
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)51-68
Publication statusPublished - 2013

ID: 106431449