Does English Orthography Influence Bilingual Spanish Readers? The Effect of Grapheme Crosslinguistic Congruency and Complexity on Letter Detection

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Sara InceraORCID iD icon



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Phonemic correspondences for a particular grapheme are not always congruent across languages. Also, some complex graphemes can be found in some languages but not in others. The purpose of this study is to determine if the congruency and complexity of English graphemes influence letter detection in L2 learners. We further investigated whether age group (7-, 9- and 11-year-old children, and university undergraduates) determines the size of these effects. Participants completed two different letter detection tasks using the mouse-tracking paradigm. Results from Experiment 1 indicate that only younger children are slightly affected by incongruent graphemes. Results from Experiment 2 show that all readers perform worse with complex graphemes. L2 learners interiorize English phonology at early stages, being barely affected by their native Spanish language. Importantly, L2 learners decode complex graphemes similarly to native English readers. Interpretations based on the BIA-d model are discussed.

Journal Title

Cognitive Development

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