Volume 22, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1387-6732
  • E-ISSN: 1570-6001
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This study examines the interplay between phonological awareness and orthography in Konso, a Cushitic language in Southwest Ethiopia. Thirty-two adults reading the Konso abugida but with minimal exposure to alphabetic literacy completed an orally administered phoneme deletion task. The responses were then examined using the (Wali, Sproat, Padakannaya & Bhuvaneshwari, 2009) as a framework for the analysis. The results suggest that the difficulty of a deletion was related to the way the phoneme was represented in the Konso abugida. Content-based error analysis of the incorrect responses gave indications of how Konso abugida readers’ processing of sounds is linked to Konso abugida sound-symbol relationships.

The Konso language community is undergoing a change in their writing system from abugida to alphabetic writing. As abugida symbols primarily denote consonant-vowel sequences, the change requires learning new sound-symbol mappings. By examining Konso abugida readers’ phonemic awareness the study contributes to developing transfer literacy teaching methods from abugida to alphabetic writing in Konso and elsewhere.


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