Spelling while writing texts

Experimental articles
By Séverine Maggio, Marie Izaute, Florence Chenu

French is an especially relevant orthographic system for examining the processes involved in spelling. It is an irregular system with both many lexical pitfalls and a grammatical morphology which is in large part silent (Jaffré & Fayol, 2005). Thus, studying spelling in French reveals more about the dimensions involved in spelling than more transparent orthographies. We examined the extent to which individual variables (grade level, performance level and gender) and textual variables (text type and locus in the text) influence text length, frequency and type of spelling errors. The youngest participants, especially those evaluated by their teachers as having difficulty in oral or written expression, produced shorter texts and made many spelling errors. Phonographic errors were observed more in the beginning rather than at the end of texts, with girls producing the most. More morphological errors were found in the narrative texts than the expository texts and at the end of the texts rather than the beginning.

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