L2 Word Recognition: Influence of L1 Orthography on Multi-syllabic Word Recognition



L2 reading research suggests that L1 orthographic experience influences L2 word recognition. Nevertheless, the findings on multi-syllabic words in English are still limited despite the fact that a vast majority of words are multi-syllabic. The study investigated whether L1 orthography influences the recognition of multi-syllabic words, focusing on the position of an embedded word. The participants were Arabic ESL learners, Chinese ESL learners, and native speakers of English. The task was a word search task, in which the participants identified a target word embedded in a pseudoword at the initial, middle, or final position. The search accuracy and speed indicated that all groups showed a strong preference for the initial position. The accuracy data further indicated group differences. The Arabic group showed higher accuracy in the final than middle, while the Chinese group showed the opposite and the native speakers showed no difference between the two positions. The findings suggest that L2 multi-syllabic word recognition involves unique processes.


L2 word recognition Orthography Chinese Arabic ESL Vocabulary Letter search 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.English DepartmentBall State UniversityMuncieUSA

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