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Anglocentrism in Current Reading Research and Practice David L. Share.

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1 Anglocentrism in Current Reading Research and Practice David L. Share

2 Anglocentrism in Current Reading Research and Practice: Implications for the Diagnosis and Assessment of Dyslexia in European alphabets David L. Share Department of Learning Disabilities Faculty of Education University of Haifa EDA, Växjö, Sweden, September, 2013

3 Overall plan Overall plan General introductory comments General introductory comments Anglocentrism briefly reviewed Anglocentrism briefly reviewed Some more Anglocentrisms Some more Anglocentrisms Eurocentrism and alphabetism Eurocentrism and alphabetism Suggestions for de-tox Suggestions for de-tox

4 New generation of cognitive research: Emphasizing variability rather than invariance Enormous diversity across and within cultures

5 The weirdest people in the world? (Henrich, Heine, Norenzayana, BBS, 2010)

6 “ Behavioral scientists routinely publish broad claims about human psychology and behavior in the world's top journals based on samples drawn entirely from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) societies. Researchers – often implicitly – assume that either there is little variation across human populations, or that these “ standard subjects ” are as representative of the species as any other population. Are these assumptions justified? Here, our review of the comparative database from across the behavioral sciences suggests both that there is substantial variability in experimental results across populations and that WEIRD subjects are particularly unusual compared with the rest of the species – frequent outliers. The domains reviewed include visual perception, fairness, cooperation, spatial reasoning, categorization and inferential induction, moral reasoning, reasoning styles, self- concepts and related motivations, and the heritability of IQ. The findings suggest that members of WEIRD societies, including young children, are among the least representative populations one could find for generalizing about humans. ”.

7 The myth of language universals: Language diversity and its importance for cognitive science “ Languages are much more diverse in structure than cognitive scientists generally appreciate. A widespread assumption among cognitive scientists, growing out of the generative tradition in linguistics, is that all languages are English-like but with different sounds systems and vocabularies. The true picture is very different: languages differ so fundamentally from one another at every level of description (sound, grammar, lexicon, meaning) that it is very hard to find any single structural property they share. ” (Evans & Levinson, BBS, 2009 p. 429) (Evans & Levinson, BBS, 2009 p. 429)

8 In literacy, there ’ s an additional (acute) problem Most theory and practice in current literacy research has grown out of studies conducted in English. Most theory and practice in current literacy research has grown out of studies conducted in English.

9 Unfortunately … English orthography is not like other alphabetic orthographies owing to its extreme spelling-sound irregularity English orthography is not like other alphabetic orthographies owing to its extreme spelling-sound irregularity

10 ofwastwothoroughknightyachtpthisis Extreme ambiguity/irregularity of English spelling-sound correspondence

11 Because English orthography is so idiosyncratic, much of reading research confined to narrow Anglocentric research agenda addressing theoretical and applied issues with only limited relevance for a universal science of reading and literacy. (Share, 2008, Psychological Bulletin)

12 1. Focused disproportionate attention on oral reading accuracy at the expense of silent reading, meaning access and fluency English spelling-sound irregularity has

13 2. Distorted thinking about … Role of phonological awareness Role of phonological awareness Timing and content of reading instruction Timing and content of reading instruction The “ stages ” of reading development The “ stages ” of reading development Definition and remediation of reading disability Definition and remediation of reading disability Role of lexical-semantic and supra-lexical (i.e. contextual information) in word recognition. Role of lexical-semantic and supra-lexical (i.e. contextual information) in word recognition.

14 And (3) has blinkered theorizing Dominant theoretical paradigm – dual- route theory, largely response to English spelling-sound inconsistency. But ill- equipped to serve the interests of a universal science of reading because it overlooks a more fundamental dualism applicable to all readers in all orthographies Dominant theoretical paradigm – dual- route theory, largely response to English spelling-sound inconsistency. But ill- equipped to serve the interests of a universal science of reading because it overlooks a more fundamental dualism applicable to all readers in all orthographies15 

15 1. English: A “freak” orthography (statistical outlier) Learning to decode English is extraordinarily difficult extraordinarily difficult15

16 2. Dual-route theory of word reading and the challenges of irregularity Dual-route theory still benchmark status Dual-route theory still benchmark status Central dual-route axiom (Coltheart) Central dual-route axiom (Coltheart) No single procedure can handle (correctly pronounce) nonwords (slint) and exception words (pint).

17 When irregularity is the exception to the rule Is a second (lexical) route needed when no exception words? Relevant only to English? Is a second (lexical) route needed when no exception words? Relevant only to English?

18 Fundamental and overarching dualism overlooked – applies to all words in all orthographies 1. All words novel at some point – algorithm needed for independently identifying words first encountered (see Share, 1995) 2. Reader must be able to achieve high degree of automatization in word recognition (direct retrieval)

19 Universalistic “ novice-to-expert ” or “ unfamiliar-to-familiar ” dualism 1. Merges study of reading with human skill learning in general: Transition from slow, deliberating, step-by-step unskilled performance to rapid one-step skilled performance. 2. Converges with dualistic nature of efficient orthography – compromise between needs of novice (decipherability) and expert (automatizability)

20 Efficient orthography must provide A means for deciphering new words independently A means for deciphering new words independently but also … This algorithmic process must lay foundations for rapid direct-retrieval mechanism (self-teaching, Share, 1995, 2008)

21 Efficient orthography must also … Provide visually distinct word-specific (or morpheme-specific) visual-orthographic configurations required for the unitization and automatization of skilled word recognition (knight/night, piece/peace).

22 3. Over-emphasis on accuracy Given extreme spelling-sound ambiguity, deriving accurate pronunciation most pressing concern; if new word not accurately identified entire word-learning process derailed. Given extreme spelling-sound ambiguity, deriving accurate pronunciation most pressing concern; if new word not accurately identified entire word-learning process derailed. In regular orthographies accuracy asymptotes early and speed/fluency becomes critical issue in individual and developmental differences. But topic of fluency only now receiving attention In regular orthographies accuracy asymptotes early and speed/fluency becomes critical issue in individual and developmental differences. But topic of fluency only now receiving attention

23 Traditional Anglo-American definitions of dyslexia Accuracy-based Word identification and/or Word Attack (decoding pseudowords)

24 British Psychological Association definition of dyslexia (borrowing Dutch fluency-based definition) Dyslexia is evident when accurate and fluent word reading and/or spelling develops very incompletely or with great difficulty. BPS (1999) (Rose, 2009) Dyslexia is evident when accurate and fluent word reading and/or spelling develops very incompletely or with great difficulty. BPS (1999) (Rose, 2009) IDA definition (Lyon et al. 2003) IDA definition (Lyon et al. 2003)24

25 4. Over-emphasis on oral reading Reading aloud does not necessarily involve access to meaning Reading aloud does not necessarily involve access to meaning Slower, more exhaustive phonological representations (Elbro) Slower, more exhaustive phonological representations (Elbro) less orthographic processing and morphology less orthographic processing and morphology brain pathways different brain pathways different dissociations dissociations Eye movements are different Eye movements are different

26 4. Over-emphasis on oral reading Silent reading today ’ s literacy benchmark Non-trivial differences between oral and silent reading Over-reliance on oral reading may not provide a complete picture of word recognition strengths and weaknesses

27 5. Instructional Anglocentrisms: Timing and content of reading instruction English orthography changes English orthography changes when we teach how we teach

28 6. Definition and remediation of reading disability/dyslexia (and subtypes) The 3-year learning-to-read period in English and the “ Wait-to-fail ” (IQ- discrepancy) model The 3-year learning-to-read period in English and the “ Wait-to-fail ” (IQ- discrepancy) model

29 IQ-discrepancy (wait-to-fail) model Requires severe discrepancy not usually evident until around 3 years after school entry. Requires severe discrepancy not usually evident until around 3 years after school entry. Bias against early identification Bias against early identification

30 Dyslexia subtyping and the dual-route model Basis: reading accuracy for words varying in regularity Phonological dyslexia Phonological dyslexia – poor nonword reading (non-lexical route), good at exception word reading (lexical route) Surface dyslexia Surface dyslexia –Poor exception word reading (lexical), but good at nonword reading (non-lexical)

31 Accuracy/rate subtyping Leinonen, Muller, Leppanen, Aro, Ahonen, & Lyytinen (2001) hasty/hesitant Leinonen, Muller, Leppanen, Aro, Ahonen, & Lyytinen (2001) hasty/hesitant Hesitant slow but accurate Hasty fast but inaccurate

32 Accuracy/Rate double dissociation in Hebrew (Shany & Share, 2012) Rate-disabled Rate-disabled normal accuracy, slow RAN Accuracy-disabled Accuracy-disabled normal rate, poor phonological awareness and morphological knowledge Shany & Share, Annals of Dyslexia, 2012

33 Anglocentric reviewing “I find it difficult to label children who read and decode as accurately but not as fast as normally developing readers as dyslexic or “ disabled ” readers. ” (Anonymous (Anglocentric) reviewer, 2010)

34 Even More Anglocentrisms? 1. Onsets & Rimes 2. Diacritics

35 General conclusions Commonalities and universals Unfamiliar-to-familiar/novice-to-expert dualism. Because all words initially unfamiliar, decipherability critical, hence sublexical units must be represented and phonological awareness required (phonological “ universal ” ). Expert reading similar across scripts: automaticity and fluency. 30

36 New shift from Anglocentrism to Eurocentrism But most writing systems are not alphabetic, and even most alphabets are not Roman- based. most writing systems are not alphabetic, and even most alphabets are not Roman- based.

37 Eurocentrism and Alphabetism Many Western scholars – (Gelb, Havelock), assume that alphabets are superior/optimal.

38

39 “The basic difference between Western alphabetic and East Asian syllabic writing acts on several levels to promote or inhibit creativity, particularly that associated with breakthroughs in science…syllabic literacy entails a diminished propensity for abstract and analytical thought…Certain Asian characteristics credited with blocking creativity, such as conservative political and social institutions and group-oriented behavior, derive in part from effects that the orthography has had on the minds of individuals, (Hannas, 2003) “The basic difference between Western alphabetic and East Asian syllabic writing acts on several levels to promote or inhibit creativity, particularly that associated with breakthroughs in science…syllabic literacy entails a diminished propensity for abstract and analytical thought…Certain Asian characteristics credited with blocking creativity, such as conservative political and social institutions and group-oriented behavior, derive in part from effects that the orthography has had on the minds of individuals, (Hannas, 2003)

40 Many theories of literacy development (reading and spelling) also alphabetist “Taking the final step toward the creation of a true alphabetic writing system, the Greeks assigned a symbol to each consonant and vowel of their language…In many ways, the individual development of the children who are discovering the alphabetic principle in English writing recapitulates human history, Moats, 2000, p

41 Globalization of the alphabet European alphabets disseminated by Christian missionaries (over 1000 languages). Common motto ”Consonants as in English, vowels as in Italian” Ideal orthography one letter one sound (phoneme) vowels and consonants

42 Are alphabets (alpha)best? ( 4 illustrations) 1. Asfaha, Kurbers & Kroon (2009)’s study in Eritrea Tigrinya and Tigre languages with a CV alphasyllabic script (Ge'ez) Tigrinya and Tigre languages with a CV alphasyllabic script (Ge'ez) Kunama and Saho have alphabetic Roman-based scripts. Kunama and Saho have alphabetic Roman-based scripts.

43 Asfaha et al: Results Grade 1 children learned to read the syllabic Ge'ez much more easily than the alphabetic scripts Grade 1 children learned to read the syllabic Ge'ez much more easily than the alphabetic scripts Syllabic teaching of alphabetic Saho produced better results than alphabetic teaching of (alphabetic) Kunama. Syllabic teaching of alphabetic Saho produced better results than alphabetic teaching of (alphabetic) Kunama.

44 2. Hanuno’o alphasyllabary in the Phillipines Indigenous Indic scripts marginalized under Western colonial (Spanish) influence in all but the least accessible places Indigenous Indic scripts marginalized under Western colonial (Spanish) influence in all but the least accessible places Reports of high literacy levels among the Hanuno’o. Reports of high literacy levels among the Hanuno’o.

45 3. Dinka in Southern Sudan Dinka orthography is a European Roman- based orthography but reported to be extraordinarily difficult to read (John Dinka orthography is a European Roman- based orthography but reported to be extraordinarily difficult to read (JohnMyhill). (Lack of tone marking to blame?) (Lack of tone marking to blame?)

46 4. Another case of Alphabetism? Hebrew and Arabic writing are not alphabets, but abjads Alphabet: Represents consonantal and vowel phonemes Alphabet: Represents consonantal and vowel phonemes Hebrew and Arabic are abjads representing consonantal phonemes. Vowels represented only in a subsidiary manner, incompletely and inconsistently. Full vowel representation only for beginners or special circumstances. Hebrew and Arabic are abjads representing consonantal phonemes. Vowels represented only in a subsidiary manner, incompletely and inconsistently. Full vowel representation only for beginners or special circumstances.

47 De-Tox From Ptolemy to Copernicus Back to Henrich et al and WEIRD psychology Abandon our “universalizing” bias 1. Modesty Claim X in English 2. Education Minimal knowledge of other languages and writing systems languages and writing systems 3. Home-grown Promote indigenous infrastructures infrastructures


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