Hidden Dyslexia in Second Language Learners: A Case Study

Introduction

Under the best of circumstances, learning a second language is not an easy task, particularlygiven challenges of large class sizes, and environmental, social, and emotional distractions(see Kharkhurin, 2008). In many cases, learning a second language is peripheral to a student’ssearch for identity; learning is often an institutional means to a social developmental end.

When the second language is English, it is even more challenging as students need toprocess written language at the morpho-syntactic, semantic, and discourse levels and processconversation at the phonetic and phonological levels; words in English are often writtendifferently from the way they are pronounced, and seemingly regular patterns of spellingsfrequently feature exceptions.

These differences are particularly troublesome to students whose native languages featureregular orthography, with words whose writing more closely and regularly reflect theirpronunciation. German, Italian (see Zoccolotti, De Luca, Di Pace, Judica, & Orlandi, 1999), andTurkish (see Raman & Weekes, 2005) are three such languages, as are most, but not all, letterbasedlanguages; a major exception is English.

Download Full Article