Doctoral Dissertation Research: Mapping Orthography-to-Phonology in Bilingual Word Reading

Project: Research project

Project Details


With the National Science Foundation support, Ms. Mona Roxana Botezatu will collect data for her doctoral dissertation under the direction of Drs. Carol Miller and Maya Misra. This research will evaluate how differences in letter-sound mapping between a bilingual's first and second languages impact reading in the second language. Past research suggests that word reading skills transfer across writing systems and that bilinguals experience competition between their two print-sound systems. Languages that share a script, such as English and Spanish, differ in their spelling-sound consistency, or the number of pronunciations available for given letter clusters (e.g., consistent: the '-air' in hair, pair; inconsistent: the '-ost' in most, cost). These differences have been shown to affect word-reading strategies. The present research investigates transfer of word-reading strategies in bilinguals who read a second language that differs in spelling-sound consistency from their first language. In a series of five experiments, this issue will be examined by comparing performance across native English speakers and Spanish-English, Dutch-English and Chinese-English bilinguals on an English visual rhyme judgment task. The task requires individuals to make rhyme judgments of visually presented word pairs, while the spelling-sound consistency of the stimuli is varied systematically. To test whether word-reading strategies transfer more robustly when both languages are used within a single task, Dutch-English bilinguals will also be tested on a Dutch-English rhyme judgment task. The goal of this research is to provide converging evidence using behavioral and neurocognitive methods (event-related potentials) to better understand the consequences of native language reading strategy for skilled reading in English. Results will provide critical implications for adapting current models of single word reading to the bilingual lexicon and will ultimately inform literacy instruction practices targeting English language learners.

Effective start/end date5/1/114/30/13


  • National Science Foundation: $11,970.00


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