Writing Systems and Phonological Awareness

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This article deals with phonological awareness which is explicit or conscious knowledge of the phonological structure that speakers of a language exhibit. It seeks to establish whether biliterate speakers of Telugu and English who are exposed to an alphabetic writing system and a semi-syllabic writing system are able to manipulate words in terms of syllables and phonemes. This experimental study involves 30 native speakers of Telugu who also know English. The results show that the two languages in question are not treated alike by the speakers, although there is some evidence of transference from one language to another. It is apparent in many cases that rather than the sounds, the item that is processed mentally is a visual representation of the word. Moreover, each language seems to be processed in its own script although there is also evidence to show that the native language is more dominant and the second language is processed in the script of the native language.


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