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May I Quote You on That?

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Academic Paper

Title: Adults' knowledge of phoneme–letter relationships is phonology based and flexible
Author: Annukka Lehtonen
Institution: Washington University, St. Louis
Author: Rebecca Treiman
Institution: Washington University, St. Louis
Linguistic Field: Phonology
Abstract: Despite the importance of phonemic awareness in beginning literacy, several studies have demonstrated that adults, including teacher trainees, have surprisingly poor phonemic skills. Three experiments investigated whether adults' responses in phonemic awareness and spelling segmentation tasks are based on units larger than single letters and phonemes. Responses often involved large units, and they were influenced by sonority and syllable structure. Participants who performed a phoneme counting task before a spelling segmentation task produced significantly more phoneme-based responses and fewer onset–rime responses than participants who first counted words in sentences. This training effect highlights the flexibility of adults' strategies. Although adults are capable of phoneme-based processing, they sometimes fail to use it.


This article appears IN Applied Psycholinguistics Vol. 28, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .

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