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A Psycholinguistic Investigation of Irish Orthography and Reading (Irish orthography)
Start date: Jan 14, 2013, End date: Jan 13, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

A major issue for language learners at all levels is the development of literacy skills. Although Irish, the first official language of the Irish Republic, uses the same alphabetic system as English, the very distinct conventions for phoneme-grapheme (sound-symbol) correspondences in the two languages have been shown to present major challenges for English-speaking learners of Irish. Children in Irish schools, acquiring literacy in two languages at once, show significantly greater difficulty learning to read Irish than English. Adult learners already literate in English struggle with Irish orthography and tend to give English values to the spellings, resulting in persistent pronunciation difficulties. The proposed collaborative research between a linguist (the applicant) and a psychologist (her Irish colleague) has the aims of:i. Developing a clearer understanding of the problems that learners face in acquiring Irish reading skills, andii. Producing a psychologically and linguistically sound analysis of Irish orthography, for use in promoting interdisciplinary scientific discourse on more effective approaches to teaching reading.
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