Beyond Spelling Errors: The Relevance of Phonological Awareness to Taiwanese EFL Children's Spelling
|關鍵字:||拼字;音韻覺識;拼字錯誤;自創拼字;spelling;phonological awareness;spelling errors;invented spelling|
本研究的參與者為33位小學四年級學童，來自於新竹市某公立小學同一班級，在33名參與此研究的學童中，有28名完成所有階段的資料收集程序。資料收集的內容包含拼字能力測驗、音韻覺識測驗與讀寫能力測驗，當中，拼字能力測驗包括真字與假字聽寫測驗以及故事改寫活動；音韻覺識測驗則包含音素辨別、音素結合與音素操弄能力的測試；英文程度的評估則採用劍橋兒童英語認證（Cambridge Young Learners English Test）之閱讀與寫作項目測驗成績。真字與假字聽寫測驗以拼字之語音可接受度（phonological acceptability）為評分方式，除變異數、相關係數和回歸分析之計算外，本研究也探討拼字錯誤之類型與結構，以瞭解台灣學童拼字能力與其音韻覺識之相關性。
最後，本研究發現台灣學童常見的拼字錯誤類型為：半似原音拼字錯誤（semiphonetic spelling error）以及拼成他字的錯誤（another word correctly spelled），此外，從研究對象的拼字錯誤中，不難發現台灣學童在拼寫雙元音與子音串時，多以其他字母替換目標音而拼錯字的現象。值得注意的是，音韻覺識程度較低的學童，有較多的隨機拼字錯誤（random error pattern）、刪去母音拼字錯誤(vowel omission)、刪減複合子音拼字錯誤(consonant diagraph reduction)和拼字不完整的錯誤；音韻覺識程度較佳的學童，其拼字錯誤較少被歸類為隨機拼字錯誤之結構，儘管並不顯著，本研究並發現部分音韻覺識程度較高之學童在拼寫字尾齒槽音時有省略不寫的現象。
研究結果不僅發現台灣學童英語拼字能力明顯的個別差異，更指出除音韻覺識外，讀寫能力對拼字能力的發展也有重要影響，此外，本研究發現台灣學童可能使用類推的方法（analogy strategy）拼寫不熟悉字，以及他們拼寫雙元音、子音串與複合子音時，可能的拼字問題。結論指出音韻教學、讀寫活動在台灣學童拼字能力發展中應是相當有助益的，並強調自創拼字（invented spelling）及語音分析能力（phonological analysis ability）對其拼字能力習得之重要性。總結而言，本研究希望能說明台灣學童如何運用其語言知識拼寫英語單字，並且提供台灣英語教育者重要的教學啟示。|
The present study focuses on the role of phonological awareness in English spelling of Taiwanese EFL children beyond early grade level. The primary purposes are: (1) to examine phonological awareness group differences in spelling performance; (2) to investigate the role of phonological awareness in spelling performance; and (3) to discuss the types and patterns of spelling errors. To achieve these objectives, measures of spelling performance, phonological awareness, and literacy skills were administered to an intact fourth-grade class of 33 students in an elementary school in Hsinchu city, Taiwan. Among them, 28 students completed all testing procedures of the study. The children’s spelling performance was gauged using a spelling dictation task and a story rewriting task. Three phonological awareness tasks were employed to tap the children’s ability of phoneme identification, blending, and manipulation. To assess their command of literacy skills which served as proficiency baseline, the reading and writing subset of the Cambridge Young Learners English Test was presented. Spellings collected from the spelling dictation tasks were assessed mainly for phonological plausibility. In addition, spellings archived from both spelling tasks were analyzed and elucidated in terms of error types and patterns. Based on the phonological awareness scores, the children were divided into three levels of phonological awareness groups (i.e., low, middle, and high). Significant group differences in spelling dictation scores were revealed except for those between the middle and high phonological awareness groups. Correlational analyses showed that the children’s spelling performance was significantly associated with phonological awareness and literacy measures. Regression analyses demonstrated that phonological awareness alone predicted a significant amount of variance in spelling performance, whereas it became nonsignificant when literacy scores were considered. With respect to spelling patterns, semiphonetic and another-word-correctly-spelled errors appeared to be the top two predominant misspelling types. Substitutions of vowel diagraphs and consonant clusters also occurred frequently in the children’s spellings. The low phonological awareness group showed a tendency to make more random error patterns, incomplete responses, vowel omissions, and consonant diagraph reductions. In contrast, the high phonological awareness group made fewer random errors. The most salient but minor misspelling patterns observed in this group were omissions of final lenis consonants. The results concerning group differences indicate that there was a noteworthy discrepancy in spelling achievement among Taiwanese EFL children. Although the correlational analyses ascertained that phonological awareness was associated with spelling performance even for EFL children, the regression findings imply that other than phonological awareness, literacy skills appear to play a more crucial role in EFL children’s spelling. The analyses of the children’s spelling errors not only suggest that EFL learners may draw on analogy strategies to spell unfamiliar words, but also pinpoint their difficulty in spelling vowel diagraphs (e.g., ee), consonant clusters (e.g., dr), and consonant diagraphs (e.g., ch). Comparison of spellings across different groups further underscores the extent phonological awareness was associated with the children’s spellings, and even highlights the value of invented spellings (i.e, phonetic spelling attempts), teaching grapheme-phoneme representative skills, and phonological analysis instruction. To conclude, this study may be of importance in providing a complete picture of what cognitive-functioning school-aged EFL children could rely on when learning to spell unfamiliar words, and in offering insights into spelling and phonological awareness instruction in EFL contexts.
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