ERIC Number: ED249759
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983
Reference Count: 0
Learning to Read English as a Second Language: Effects of First Language Script System and Cultural/Educational Background.
Brown, Tracy; Haynes, Margot
A study of the possible transfer of reading skills from a first language other than English to English, called script-carryover effects, focused on two aspects of the written language: (1) the manner in which the script represents information about sound and meaning, and (2) whether or not the script uses the same graphemic characters as English. Three groups of people whose first languages were Japanese, Arabic, and Spanish were selected for three experiments because their script systems differ from English on these dimensions. In the first experiment, the groups were tested with a timed same-different matching task using English words and nonsense words both alone and in strings, measuring the efficiency of visual processing. In this test, the Japanese speakers showed a distinct advantage in both speed and error rates, with the Arabic speakers being the slowest, contrary to two of the three hypothesized outcomes. The second experiment used abstract shapes rather than letters as stimuli for comparisons. In this task, the Japanese maintained their overall advantage both in times and errors, and the Spanish and Arabic groups performed about equally. The third measure was the Slosson Oral Reading Test, measuring the ability to translate from spelling to pronunciation. On this task, the Japanese were slowest and the Spanish fastest. The overall results suggest a script-carryover effect from Japanese to English, especially for visual processing, but more research is needed. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
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