Units of Language – Units of Writing
  • ISSN 1387-6732
  • E-ISSN: 1570-6001
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Although metalinguistic (‘offline’) awareness of words as linguistic units has been related to literacy, it is still uncertain whether literacy also affects the units of language that people process unconsciously (‘online’). In this contribution, we first discuss the characteristics of offline and online tasks, opening up the perspective that such tasks vary in nature along a continuum ranging from more offline to more online. Subsequently, we present a study employing three relatively more offline and two more online tasks which we conducted among 83 preliterate and 121 literate children at Dutch primary schools. The results of the more offline tasks reveal a significant influence of literacy on segmentation along word-boundaries, while the results from the relatively more online tasks are less clear-cut with respect to the way in which literacy affects language processing. Keywords: literacy; language acquisition; metalinguistic awareness; online and offline task; word-segmentation; language processing; developmental psycholinguistics; Dutch


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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