Volume 24, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-6732
  • E-ISSN: 1570-6001
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Decoding a writing system is an impressive task requiring recognition of connections between printed symbols and the language they represent. Recognising the linguistic anchors for individual symbols is however not enough. Inferences are needed about unseen and often unstated encoding principles. This paper reviews task demands implicit in children’s books and find the models of orthographic learning in an Indic writing system must go beyond a focus on intra-symbol cues, the size of the symbol set, and the nature of sound-symbol mapping. The child-directed print corpus also shows a substantial demand for recognition of multimorphemic words. Since children encounter an ever-expanding variety of such words in the books they read, it is essential to mount systematic studies on morphological development. At a methodological level, this exploratory study shows the limitations of building models of literacy development when real world encounters with a writing system are not adequately taken into account.


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