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The categorization of the speech sounds of English by non-native children Early, Margaret Mary

Abstract

This research investigates the categorization of English speech sounds by young non-native children. The fundamental thesis is that non-native children, like native children (Read 1970), can organize their perceptions of the phonetic features of English in a way which is consistent and is systematic, (that is, based on categorical judgments, phonetic perceptions or a knowledge of the phonological rules of English). The research of other investigators was examined for insights. The evidence presented consists of spellings invented by thirteen non-native children five to nine years old, who composed stories and messages by choosing alphabetic correlates for the sounds they perceive. The results of this experiment were analyzed to determine the sources of error, the children's knowledge and perceptions of English speech sounds and the degree of similarity to Read's (1970) results. The significance of the research for the teaching of literacy was discussed together with an account of the development of the spellings.

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