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Welsh bilinguals' English spelling: An error analysis

James, Carl, Scholfield, Phil, Garrett, Peter and Griffiths, Yvonne 2010. Welsh bilinguals' English spelling: An error analysis. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 14 (4) , pp. 287-306. 10.1080/01434632.1993.9994536

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Prioritising communicativity has resulted in increased tolerance toward imperfections in second language users’ grammar and pronunciation. Imperfect spelling however can not be disregarded, and it incurs severe social penalties. In this paper we ask whether, to what extent, and in what respects the second language English spelling of young Welsh‐English bilinguals is systematically idiosyncratic. Data are from free compositions written by 10–11 year old children in bilingual Gwynedd. Almost 40% of attested misspellings are attributable to Welsh L1 pronunciation and spelling rules. Target language overgeneralisation is also a potent influence on spellings. Special problems surface in the areas of lexical cognates. A model is presented of the second language spelling process in the form of a ‘decision tree’, with suggestions for its use for descriptive, diagnostic and remedial purposes. Areas wanting further research are identified.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge): SSH Titles
ISSN: 0143-4632
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2019 11:30

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