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Incorporating Orthography, Phonology and Morphology in Metalinguistic Development Brian Davis English 7520 9 December 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Incorporating Orthography, Phonology and Morphology in Metalinguistic Development Brian Davis English 7520 9 December 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Incorporating Orthography, Phonology and Morphology in Metalinguistic Development Brian Davis English December 2009

2 Bryant, Nunes, and Aidinis (1999) investigated spelling problems caused by similar morphemes across multiple languages. Reading and spelling are not just a matter of representing sounds by letters and vice- versa. In alphabetic or morpho-phonic languages, morphemic knowledge is essential in learning to read and write.

3 The psychological processes involved in learning to spell...morphemes are similar across languages. They compared English, Portuguese and Greek with primary grade students. They conclude that everyone starts by spelling phonetically, and the phonetic spelling is often morphemic. Problems occur when two or more morphemes sound the same: hear/here, your/youre, its/its, there/their/theyre

4 There are three broad ways in which morphology can help determine spelling when words sound similar. 1. Deciding between two or more acceptable spelling sequences. Syntax is useful here. Example: -ed endings. Even though -ed can be pronounced three different ways in English- /t/, /d/, or /id/, syntactical knowledge can assist the speller if he/she is aware of syntactic relationships.

5 2. Spelling silent morphemes: Many syntactic distinctions are unpronounced. In several languages spelling captures the syntactic status of words in an explicit way which is not reflected in the pronunciation of these words (p. 116). For example, in English, the boys sail, the boys sail, and the boys sail all mean considerably different things despite their identical pronunciation.

6 The spelling of stems in English... often remains constant even though the pronunciation changes when a derivational morpheme is added, for example know to knowledge. From a spelling point of view, knowledge of stems is necessary. What do children do when sounds have multiple spellings?At first children tend to show a marked preference for one of the alternative spellings. This phenomena occurred across Portuguese, English, and Greek. Almost without exception they choose the phonetic one.

7 Question: When children add/learn alternative spellings to their repertoire, do they do them correctly? No. Children must go through an intermediate stage in which they learn alternative spellings for inappropriate and appropriate ones without an understanding of why. Its an incomplete understanding. Spelling at this stage is still unconscious.

8 Children go through a stage when they use conventional spellings for morphemes without understanding their morphological basis. Eventually they restrict the new spellings to appropriate words (p. 123). Is there a way to accelerate the process? Yes. Hypothesis: proper understanding of when to use the new spelling patterns is based on growing awareness of morphemes.

9 A need exists for new ways to test morpho- syntactic awareness. We argue that a task measures childrens awareness only when they have to manipulate language intentionally. Analogy is useful.

10 Teachers are often criticized for not implementing enough higher order thinking. The sentence analogy test is useful for helping students manipulate language. Students are given three sentences and instructed to come up with a fourth. Tom helps Mary. Tom helped Mary. Tom sees Mary..

11 The method can be used to cause students to regularize spellings of words that are relatively phonetical, and to recognize exceptions for less standard spellings, irregular verbs, etc. It introduces metacognitive and metalinguistic strategies to supplant memory and unconscious strategies. Metaphorically it becomes similar to generative grammar.

12 Word analogies work similarly to sentence analogies. They can be useful for teaching derivational strategies as well since metalinguistics has previously been introduced. Relationships between parts of speech can be shown. Example: anger:angry:: strength: walk:walked:: shake:

13 Children concentrate initially on mastering phonological aspects of spelling and only after they have conquered these to a reasonable extent do they incorporate morphological strategies to their repertoire. The result is that there is a solid beginning for developing literacy beyond the first stages, especially as the results hold true across multiple languages.

14 Bryant, Nunes, and Aidinis concerned themselves with primary students. What can be done for older students, especially those reading/spelling below grade level, especially as they approach and enter middle school?

15 Nagy, et al. (2003) assert that morphological awareness contributes to reading and writing in at least five different ways: a. providing insight into the writing system b. enabling readers to read and spellers to produce longer words more accurately c. contributing to reading and writing (syntactic parsing and packaging) d. increasing the ability to decontextualize language and process it analytically e. facilitating written and oral learning.

16 Nagy asserts Insight into the morphological aspects of the English writing system appears to develop much later than the alphabetic insight (p. 730). Still, this is a necessary skill. Until about 3 rd grade, students are exposed to primarily Anglo-Saxon words of one and two syllables. Around fourth grade they start to encounter polysyllabic words of Latin and Greek origin. This is also when many readers start to fall below grade level.

17 Morphemic knowledge can aid in determining new words. Nagy and Anderson (1984) estimate that 60% of unfamiliar words can be comprehended based on their component morphemes. This is a useful strategy as morphemic knowledge increases at least through high school (Nagy & Scott, 1990).

18 In the beginning, literacy rests on orthography and phonology (Nagy, et al.) But morphological mapping must be added as written words become more complex (Nagy, et al. p. 732). Reading competence by 2nd grade and writing competence by 4 th are necessary.

19 In education, many students are effectively lost by the age of ten. A Matthew effect occurs. Cunningham and Stanovich (1997) are more optimistic than most. They assert it is relatively easy to get readers back on track by 5 th grade, and they assert its necessity. Their ten year longitudinal study determined Exposure to print serves to develop processes and knowledge bases that facilitate reading comprehension (p. 935).

20 What to do for students beyond 5 th grade who still read below grade level? Proposal: Reintroduce spelling in middle grades, including old fashioned spelling tests. For many the visualization necessary to learn spelling also enhances morphemic awareness. Incorporate it with word and sentence analogy tasks that create metalinguistic situations, especially as they relate to derivational morphology. Teach reading and vocabulary in an ascending helix of orthography, phonology, and morphology, including content words from other subjects.

21 Reading is becoming more, not less prevalent in content areas, even in math. Emphasize spelling across disciplines at least as late as 8 th grade. To reinforce, use word banks of derived wordsconform, conformist, nonconformist, for example. Require writing that employs the use of the words so that students see the words in context/action.

22 Bryant, P., Nunes, T., and Aidinis, A. (1999). Different morphemes, same spelling problems: cross-linguistic developmental studies. In M. Harris and G. Hatono (eds.) Learning to Read and Write (pp ). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Cunningham, A., and Stanovich, K. (1997). Early reading acquisition and its relation to reading experience and ability 10 years later. Developmental Psychology 33, Nagy, W., Berninger, V., Abbott, R., Vaughan, K., and Vermeulen, K. (2003).Relationship of morphology and other language skills in at-risk second-grade readers and at-risk fourth-grade writers. Journal of Educational Psychology 95,

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