The LINGUIST List is dedicated to providing information on language and language analysis, and to providing the discipline of linguistics with the infrastructure necessary to function in the digital world. LINGUIST is a free resource, run by linguistics students and faculty, and supported by your donations. Please support LINGUIST List during the 2017 Fund Drive.
Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||Learning to read|
|Question:||Hello, Can an individual, child or adult, learn to read before he/she can speak? Thank you.|
|Reply:||Speaking and reading involve quite different, and unrelated, skills. The former is acquired naturally, in typical developmental conditions, the latter must be acquired through formal means, usually with the assistance of books, tutors, and so on. Many adults can read languages that they cannot speak, for example classical Latin and Greek – but this is the case for living languages too: you may “read the classics”, without being able to speak German, Arabic or French. Speakers of Chinese languages like Mandarin, Cantonese, Teochew, can communicate through print without speaking those languages. If you’re asking whether a typical child is developmentally able to start reading before starting to speak, the answer is no. You can teach a toddler to identify words and letters/characters in the same way that you can teach a parrot to do the same, but that is not reading. Literacy involves both cognitive and physical maturational skills which are not typically present in a child who has not started speaking yet. Madalena|
|Reply From:||Madalena Cruz-Ferreira click here to access email|