Reference : Does graphotactic knowledge influence the learning of new spellings presented in isol...
Scientific journals : Article
Arts & humanities : Languages & linguistics
Does graphotactic knowledge influence the learning of new spellings presented in isolation?
Pacton, Sébastien []
Treiman, Rebecca []
Borchardt, G. []
Sobaco, Amélie []
Fayol, Michel mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Education, Culture, Cognition and Society (ECCS) >]
Reading & Writing
[en] spelling ; graphotacics ; implicit learning ; statistical learning ; orthographic learning
[en] Two experiments investigated whether and how the learning of spellings by French
third graders is influenced by two graphotactic patterns: consonants cannot double in
word-initial position (Experiment 1) and consonants cannot double after single consonants
(Experiment 2). Children silently read meaningful texts that contained three types of novel
spellings: no doublet (e.g., mupile, guprane), doublet in a legal position (e.g., muppile,
gupprane), and doublet in an illegal position (e.g., mmupile, guprrane). Orthographic
learning was assessed with a task of spelling to dictation. In both experiments, children
recalled items without doublets better than items with doublets. In Experiment 1, children
recalled spellings with a doublet in illegal word-initial position better than spellings with a
doublet in legal word-medial position, and almost all misspellings involved the omission
of the doublet. The fact that the graphotactic violation in an item like mmupile was in the
salient initial position may explain why children often remembered both the presence and
the position of the doublet. In Experiment 2, children recalled non-words with a doublet
before a single consonant (legal, e.g., gupprane) better than those with a doublet after a
single consonant (illegal, e.g., guprrane). Omission of the doublet was the most frequent
error for both types of items. Children also made some transposition errors on items with
a doublet after a single consonant, recalling for example gupprane instead of guprrane.
These results suggest that, when a doublet is in the hard-to-remember medial position,
children sometimes remember that an item contains a doublet but not which letter is
doubled. Their knowledge that double consonants can occur before but not after single
consonants leads to transposition errors on items like guprrane. These results shed new
light on the conditions under which children use general knowledge about the graphotactic
patterns of their writing system to reconstruct spellings.

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