The effects of language typology on L2 lexical availability and spelling accuracy

María Martínez-Adrián, Francisco Gallardo-del-Puerto

Abstract


This paper explores whether language typology plays any role in lexical availability and spelling accuracy in L2 English. Two groups of adult speakers were compared: a group of native speakers of a language typologically distant from English with a logographic writing system (Chinese; n=13) vs. a group of native speakers of a language typologically closer to English with an alphabetic system (Spanish; n=14). All participants performed a lexical availability task (Carcedo González, 1998a) which was later on analyzed in terms of the ‘total number of words’ and the ‘total number of words containing spelling mistakes’ per each of the 15 semantic categories included. Spanish speakers displayed larger available lexica and fewer spelling mistakes than Chinese speakers, an outcome which would confirm the positive influence of L1-L2 proximity on L2 lexical availability and the deleterious effect of having a non-alphabetic L1 writing system on L2 spelling accuracy. 


Keywords


lexical availability; spelling; cross-linguistic influence; typology

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.6018/ijes/2017/2/256411

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