Date of Degree
Loraine K. Obler
Speech and Hearing Science
The relationship between native-language reading ability and second-language (L2) learning was explored in a cohort of 60 adult Spanish-speakers learning English as a second language. The research questions centered on whether underlying nativelanguage deficits associated with dyslexia would be present in a subset of English Language Learners who reported severe difficulty learning English. Our participants were divided into two education groups (below and above12th grade). These two groups were classified into three groups based on self- and teacher- ratings of ease or difficulty in English learning ability: for the high-education group, Poor English Language Learners (PELL, N=7); Good English Language Learners (GELL, N=6); and English Language Learners with a range of average ratings (PEER=17); for the low-education group, PELL-Low education (PELL-Low ed., N=9) and PEER-Low education (PEER-Low ed., N=21).
Three hypotheses were tested in Spanish: That, among the PELL group H1) phonology-spelling deficits would adversely influence decoding, phonological awareness and spelling to dictation; H2) orthographic-lexical deficits would adversely influence word recognition and sentence reading; and H3) longer latencies in the speed of visual-verbal associations would be evident in rapid automatized naming tasks, suggesting problems in rapid retrieval during online reading.
Overall, testing supported each of the hypotheses posed. For H1, the PELL group took longer than the GELL group in decoding time. Trends toward longer decoding time and poor spelling were found when the PELL group was compared with the PEER group. Phonological awareness did not reveal differences among the groups. For H2, the PELL group took longer to identify correct word spellings than the GELL and the PEER groups. The PELL group took longer in reading sentences when compared with the GELL and PEER groups and was less accurate than the GELL group. For H3, the PELL group took longer in the rapid naming of letters when compared with the GELL and PEER groups. They were also less accurate than the GELL and PEER groups. The PELL group took longer in the rapid naming of colors than the GELL and PEER groups. They were less accurate in the rapid naming of objects when compared with the GELL and PEER groups.
We conclude that previously unidentified native language deficits associated with dyslexia can be found in a subset of English Language Learners who report experiencing severe difficulty in their ability to learn English as a second language.
Ijalba, Elizabeth, "Markers of Dyslexia in Adult Spanish-Speakers Who Report Severe Difficulty Learning English" (2008). CUNY Academic Works.