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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis study investigated English phonological awareness in adult native speakers of English (L1) andin relation to their phonological awareness skills and proficiency in their German (L2). Most research in L1 phonological awareness focuses on younger children, their phonological awareness development, the relationship between reading and phonological awareness, as well as disorders. Little is known about adults and their phonological awareness skills. Most often, adults are used as controls without further investigation. In cases where phonological awareness has been investigated in adults, it was mostly special populations such as poor readers, speech-language pathologists, or low literacy or illiterate adults. This study investigated adults L1 phonological awareness skills in English with tasks such as rhyming, segmenting, identifying, replacing, deleting, and reversing; a mispronunciation task was also included. Results show that while all tasks but segmenting and rhyming are close to ceiling, segmenting and rhyming exhibit great variability. Some individuals also showed below average performance on the other tasks, indicating that there is variation in adult L1 phonological awareness. The same adults were tested during their second semester of learning German, with the same tasks in German. The relation between their L1 and L2 phonological awareness skills was strong and significant. More interestingly, the segmenting and reversing task were more accurate in the subjects’ L2, possibly due to the shallower orthography of German. Finally, participants’ L2 proficiency was assessed with a C-Test. Results demonstrate a significant relation between the L2 phonological awareness skills and the L2 proficiency, despite the proficiency measure being one that more heavily focuses on grammar and vocabulary and not so much on pronunciation or sounds in general.
Degree ProgramGraduate College