ERIC Number: ED171113
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Orthography Choice for Cree Language in Education. Working Papers on Bilingualism, No. 17.
Burnaby, Barbara J.; Anthony, Robert J.
This study examined the psycholinguistic implications of using either of two different types of orthography--syllabic and roman--in Native language programs for Cree children with regard to readability, learnability, and the transfer of reading skills to and from reading in an official language (English or French). This study can also be applied to Ojibwa and Montagnais languages, which share structural features and orthographic problems with Cree. Elementary school children in Ontario of Cree background were studied both through limited research conducted on a psychological level and more broadly through reading instruction classes in bilingual education programs. While the orthographies of the official languages represent a more abstract level, both types of Cree orthographies tend to represent the phonemic level and generally operate similarly. Results show the following differences: (1) it may be easier for very young children to manipulate syllables rather than phonemes; (2) words written in syllabics may be shorter and less complex than those written in the roman script; (3) certain grapheme reversals may cause more problems for learners of syllabics than of the roman system; and (4) if students are going from one orthography to a different type (syllabics to official language and vice versa), they will have to learn new materials and concepts. However, if the transfer is made from a Native roman orthography to an official language or vice versa, the risk of confusion of the two systems is much greater. Implications for further research are discussed. (Author/MHP)
Descriptors: Alphabets, American Indian Languages, Beginning Reading, Bilingual Education, Cree, Decoding (Reading), Graphemes, Language Research, Language Skills, Ojibwa, Orthographic Symbols, Phoneme Grapheme Correspondence, Phonemes, Phonemic Alphabets, Phonetic Transcription, Psycholinguistics, Reading Instruction, Reading Skills, Romanization, Second Language Learning, Written Language
Bilingual Education Project, The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, 252 Bloor St. West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M58 lV6 (As long as supply lasts)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Department of the Secretary of State, Ottawa (Ontario).
Authoring Institution: Ontario Inst. for Studies in Education, Toronto. Bilingual Education Project.