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Child Dev. 1994 Oct;65(5):1318-37.

What types of linguistic information do children use in spelling? The case of flaps.

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Wayne State University.


We sought to determine what types of linguistic information children represent in their spelling by examining their performance on the flaps of words such as city and lady. In 4 experiments, children often misspelled flaps as d. This d bias was common until at least second grade, with few children showing a bias toward t. We found no evidence that children have an underlying representation of city as containing /t/, for children said such words with /d/ when speaking very slowly. Even kindergartners were more accurate at spelling the flaps of words such as dirty, which have a stem ending with /t/, than the flaps of words such as city. Thus, children use meaning relations among words to aid their spelling before they have formally been taught to do so. The results show that young children are not purely phonetic spellers as they are often portrayed. The results further suggest that phonology and orthography are closely related systems that interact during development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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