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Language Evolution: The Windows Approach

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Academic Paper


Title: Grain size in script and teaching: Literacy acquisition in Ge'ez and Latin
Author: Yonas Mesfun Asfaha
Institution: Universiteit van Tilburg
Author: Jeanne Kurvers
Institution: Universiteit van Tilburg
Author: Sjaak Kroon
Institution: Tilburg University
Linguistic Field: Phonology; Psycholinguistics; Writing Systems
Subject Language: Tigrinya
Kunama
Saho
Abstract: The study investigated reading in four African languages that use either syllabic Ge'ez (Tigrinya and Tigre languages) or alphabetic Latin scripts (Kunama and Saho). A sample of 385 Grade 1 children were given letter knowledge, word reading, and spelling tasks to investigate differences at the script and language levels. Results showed that the syllable based Ge'ez script was easier to learn than the phoneme-based Latin despite the bigger number of basic units in Ge'ez. Moreover, the syllable based teaching of alphabetic Saho produced better results than alphabetic teaching of Kunama. These findings are discussed using the psycholinguistic grain size theory. The outcomes confirm the importance of the availability of phonological units in learning to read.

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This article appears IN Applied Psycholinguistics Vol. 30, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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