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Title: Specific and recognition strategies used by Spanish, English and bilingual subjects
Author: Estebanez, S.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 1997
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This research was prompted by some intriguing results obtained in several experiments which showed that Spanish Ss seemed to be significantly slower and produced more errors in word recognition than English Ss (Meara et al, 1985). I suggested that the orthographic depth variable - Spanish has a shallow orthography whereas English has a deep one- might be the linguistic source of those experimental differences. Spanish Ss may be "Phonecian" readers whereas English may be "Chinese" (Henderson, 1982). Our initial experimental results confirmed the existence of significant differences. English Ss were more sensitive to positional and sequential information, relying particularly in initial and final positions of arrays. This suggests that in English whole word encoding wins the recognition race. Spanish Ss were slower and made more errors. The experimental technique consisted in detecting the presence of a target letter in an array. We subsequently introduced a lexical decision task. Thus Ss had to access their mental lexicon and retrieve the lexical entry into awareness. The results showed that Spanish Ss were not slower, in fact they were faster than English Ss but not significantly. We concluded that the previous slower latencies produced by Spanish Ss were due to regularity of Spanish orthography which does not demand from readers the same level of positional and sequential information as English words do. We controlled the vowel/consonant variable and we found that Spanish Ss do have a significantly greater reliance on vowels for word recognition than English Ss. Finally, we introduced a third experimental technique: Ss had to guess the identity of a five-letter word from a four-letter array. The results were similar to those obtained with the lexical decision task. We conclude that readers of English and Spanish develop word recognition strategies which are dependent on the orthographic characteristics of each language. Bilingual Ss consistently produced similar latencies and number of errors to monolingual Ss according to language. These results not only confirm the distinctive processing strategies of English and Spanish Ss, but also that bilingual Ss keep the two strategies separate for each language.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available