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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/31909

Title: Orthography-induced Transfer in the Production of Novice Adult English-speaking Learners of Spanish
Authors: Rafat, Yasaman
Advisor: Colantoni, Laura
Department: Spanish
Keywords: language
acquisition
Spanish
orthography
phonology
Issue Date: 11-Jan-2012
Abstract: This study provides a thorough examination of the role of orthography in promoting first language-based phonological transfer. Specifically, it analyzes the role of auditory-orthographic condition, type of grapheme-to-phoneme correspondence and aspects of phonological memory on shaping transfer. Although, there has been previous work on the role of orthography in the acquisition of second language phonology, not much is known about the factors that shape orthography-induced transfer. In addition, the role of orthography remains to be formalized in the future models of the acquisition of second language phonology. In this experiment, data was elicited via a primary Spanish-based picture-naming task and a secondary Farsi-based non-word repetition phonological memory task. In the picture-naming task, participants were divided into four groups and assigned to four conditions, three with different degrees of exposure to orthography and one auditory condition. The data based on the productions of 40 novice adult English-speaking learners of Spanish, reveal a robust effect of orthography on phonological transfer leading to non-target-like productions at the very beginning stages of second language acquisition. There is also strong evidence that individual grapheme-to-phoneme correspondences differ in the extent to which they trigger phonological transfer. In addition, the findings show that while the presence of orthography at learning or at production induces transfer, the presence of orthography at learning has a stronger effect. The results also indicate some effect for the different aspects of phonological memory, namely, primacy and repetition effects. However, there was no correlation between individual phonological memory and the quantity of transfer. Based on the findings, I argue that when a shared grapheme corresponds to two different phonemes in the learners’ first language and the second language, the less salient the acoustic/phonetic difference between the target language and the first language phonemes, the higher the probability of first language transfer. I also argue for an effect of first language grapheme-to-phoneme frequency on transfer, suggesting that when there is variability in the realization of a particular grapheme in the first language, transfer will be based on the most frequent first language realization. Moreover, based on the findings in this study and previous research on the effect of orthography on second language production, I propose that exposure to orthography may interfere with the establishment of second language phonological categories.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/31909
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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