Mazur-Palandre-2021

Authors: Mazur-Palandre, Audrey, Matthieu Quignard, and Agnès Witko.

Article: Confronting Lexical Choice and Error Distribution in Written French: New Insights into the Linguistic Insecurity of Students with Dyslexia.

Publication: Brain Sciences (MDPI). 11, no. 7: 922 2021 | DOI: 10.3390/brainsci11070922

[Full Text]

The main goal of this paper is to analyze written texts produced by monolingual French university students, with and without dyslexia. More specifically, we were interested in the linguistic characteristics of the words used during a written production and of the type of word errors. Previous studies showed that students with dyslexia have difficulties in written production, whether in terms of the number of spelling errors, some syntactic aspects, identification of errors, confusion of monosyllabic words, omissions of words in sentences, or utilization of unexpected or inappropriate vocabulary. For this present study, students with dyslexia and control students were asked to produce written and spoken narrative and expository texts. The written texts (N = 86) were collected using Eye and Pen© software with digitizing tablets. Results reveal that students with dyslexia do not censor themselves as regards the choice of words in their written productions. They use the same types of words as the control students. Nevertheless, they make many more errors than the control students on all types of words, regardless of their linguistic characteristics (length, frequency, grammatical classes, etc.). Finally, these quantitative analyses help to target a rather unexpected subset of errors: short words, and in particular determiners and prepositions.

Tagged as: adult dyslexia, sight words, spelling, trigger words, and word recognition

Citation:

Mazur-Palandre, Audrey, Matthieu Quignard, and Agnès Witko. 2021. “Confronting Lexical Choice and Error Distribution in Written French: New Insights into the Linguistic Insecurity of Students with Dyslexia” Brain Sciences 11, no. 7: 922. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11070922

Excerpts from Full Text / Notes:

Our analyses did not confirm these differences between students with dyslexia and control students. Unexpectedly, students with dyslexia, indeed, produce the same type of words as control students: they use words with the same length, the same frequency, and the same spelling consistency. Indeed, results reveal no significant difference between the length, the spelling and phonological structure, consistency and frequency of students with dyslexia and control students.

 

Results bring additional surprising information: control students made almost the same proportion of errors on both frequent (Q4) and rare (Q1) words, whereas students with dyslexia had a rather surprising error distribution: indeed, the proportion of words containing an error of students with dyslexia with high frequency (Q4) is higher than the proportion of words containing an error of lower frequency (Q3, Q2, and Q1).

 

We found that students with dyslexia made more errors on verbs, nouns, adjectives, and determiners; they make mistakes on prepositions too whereas control students did not at all.

Another important finding was observed for prepositions and determiners: control students do not make mistakes on these types of words, whereas students with dyslexia do. This is a surprising result as they are rather frequent and short words.

 

Students with dyslexia differ from controls by producing more errors on short words (in number of syllables) and less errors on long words (in number of letters) than control students; that means that students with dyslexia make more errors on short and medium words (in terms of letters).

 

Errors of students with dyslexia are over-represented where they are not expected: on short and frequent words, on determiners and prepositions. They are not over-represented in expected categories, such as: long, complex (spelling consistency and phonological structure), rare, and highly inflected words. It is therefore not lexical or grammatical complexity that seems to be a problem for students with dyslexia, but properties present in particular on grammatical words, even if these seem “simple” and usual.

In other studies, we can find that English students with dyslexia have difficulties with determiner and prepositions, implying two problems: omission and confusion. Recent literature confirms our results: students with dyslexia can have some difficulties with short and frequent words and the ten most words containing an error are short and frequent (très, peut, à, après, ils, ont, c’est, ce, au, est).

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