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FON 218: Neurolinguistics Dyslexia in the Greek Language Eleni Tseva, Marina Katsanou 24 May 2007.

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1 FON 218: Neurolinguistics Dyslexia in the Greek Language Eleni Tseva, Marina Katsanou 24 May 2007

2 What is Dyslexia??   Dyslexia is a neuro- developmental disorder that is characterised by difficulties in one or more of reading, spelling, writing, mathematics or musical notation. This neuro-developmental disorder implies a complex causal chain from biology to behaviour. Dyslexia in different languages languages..   Dyslexia manifests itself differently in different languages according to the structure of orthography.   There are 3 types of orthographies:   Alphabetic orthographies   Logographic orthographies   Semi-alphabetic – Semi- syllabic orthographies

3 Alphabetic orthographies: They are divided into transparent and non transparent (opaque). The level of transparency has been shown to determine how easily children learn to read. In a transparent orthography the mappings between graphemes and phonemes are reliable while in opaque they are much less reliable. Transparent: Italian, Spanish, Greek* Transparent: Italian, Spanish, Greek* Opaque: English, French Opaque: English, French

4 Logographic orthographies • •There are orthography–phonology correspondence rules (OPC). Some researchers believe that visual skills rather than phonological skills are important in learning to read such languages. (Chinese) Semi-alphabetic – Semi-syllabic orthographies •. (Indian Scripts) •The basic written unit is not only phonemes, but also syllables. However the predominant orthographic representation is syllabographs. (Indian Scripts)

5 Types of Dyslexia AuditoryDyslexia Reading and comprehendinginability Difficulties in orientation VisualDyslexia

6 Auditory Dyslexia (developmental phonological dyslexia) It is the failing in acoustic perception and sound distinction. Children with this type of dyslexia face the following problems: • • they find it hard to discern the sounds that are alike and they often confuse the followings: • • they have the same difficulty when it comes to the pitch of other sounds, like: α-οα-οα-οα-ο /a/-/o/ ο - ου /o/-/u/ ε-ιε-ιε-ιε-ι/e/-/i/ β - φ β - φ βάρος – φάρος (weight-firehouse) δ - θ δ - θ δεσμός – θεσμός (affiliation-institution) σ - ζ - ξ σ - ζ - ξ σώζω – συζήτηση – σύζευξη

7 • they cannot hear the difference in word stress: όά (feet-smock) π όδια – π οδιά (feet-smock) έό (old-strong) γέρος – γερός (old-strong) όό (law-country) νόμος – νομός (law-country) (know-turn-split) γνωρίζω – γυρίζω – χωρίζω (know-turn-split) • • they often cannot hear the endings of the words: • • they cannot perceive and retain in their long-term memory the similarities of the sounds: ςς άσχημος, άνθρω π ος (they drop the last – ς which in Greek signs the gender and grammatical case) κ-χκ-χκ-χκ-χ /k/-/x/ velar γ-χγ-χγ-χγ-χ / γ /-/x/ velar-fricative γκ - γγ /g/-/g/velar-plosive τ-δτ-δτ-δτ-δ /t/-/ð/ alveolar-plosive π- μ π /p/-/b/bilabial-plosive τζ - τς /ts/-/dz/postalveolar-fricative θ-φθ-φθ-φθ-φ / θ /-/f/ fricatives 3 syllables, same ending, stressed on the same syllable

8 Visual dyslexia (developmental surface dyslexia) It is the failing in visual conception and memory and lack in noting different shapes-symbols. In particular, children: • • confuse letters or symbols that are alike: • • cannot keep in mind the whole image of words that look similar: • • cannot keep in mind the whole image not only of words, but also of whole sentences. When they see a word or sentence and they have to read or write it, they seem like they see it for the first time, even if they have seen it many times before. α – ο β – θ ε – 3 β – Φ ζ – ξ θ – 6 π τ σ π άζω – στάζω (break-drop) θερδεσ θερμός – δεσμός (warm-bond) σ π ροσβολή – π ροβολή (offense-promotion)

9 • • mirror reading-writing: • • they confuse the numbers that look similar: • • they confuse the mathematic figures (+ - : x). This may happen even to older students (last years of high-school) when they are stressed (e.g. during exams) • • they have difficulties in analysing a sentence in syllables or sounds, or composing a sentence. • • moreover, they have problems in: syntax word classes (noun, adjective etc.) verb tenses – mostly in past tense (which is used very often in Greek) χα – αχ οτ – το

10 • • they also have difficulties in using function words - και, ότι, π ου (and, to, that)- which means that they can only produce small, simple sentences: * Θα π ετάξω τον αετό. Μου έδωσε η Λένα τον αετό. π ου Θα π ετάξω τον αετό π ου μου έδωσε η Λένα. ***We should mention here that it is rare that both visual and auditory dyslexia are found at the same person. There are, of course mistakes that dyslexics make and are related with both types of dyslexia. This happens when replacing or reversing letters in a word: When these two types of dyslexia are combined, then we have lack in concentration (Attention Deficit Disorder). The dyslexic child has difficulties in following the work rhythms of its classroom, as it cannot concentrate and react fast. Χιρ Χιρστός Χρι instead of Χριστός φ φέλω θ instead of θέλω

11 Reading and comprehending inability Identifying a word and understanding a word are two processes that in non-dyslexic people are combined automatically. In dyslexic people they look like two parallel lines that cannot coincide. Even if the dyslexic person tries hard to distinguish the sounds or letters, he reads slowly and forgets the meaning of what he reads. This happens because he/she focuses on identifying the words.

12 Difficulties in orientation, control of time, positioning, in comprehending forms and “arbitrary” orders • • difficulties in distinguishing pre-mathematic meanings (directions) and points of the compass: • • difficulties in learning the time, as they cannot easily distinguish the direction of the hour and minute hands and their difference (what each of them shows). π άνω κάτω δεξιά αριστερά μ π ροστά π ίσω Ανατολή Δύση Βορράς Νότος(up-down)(right-left) (in front-back) (East-West)(North-South)

13 • • difficulties in the mathematical order of the numbers and other “arbitrary” orders: • • even adult dyslexics have difficulties in remembering and reading a phone number. A non dyslexic for example would read or , a dyslexic would read each number separately • • they also face difficulties with fractions as they confuse up and down, so they cannot say which is the nominator and which the denominator. week days ( Δευτέρα - Τρίτη - Τετάρτη...) months and which of them have 30 – 31 days alphabet multiplication table verbs in foreign languages telephone numbers musical tones

14 Solutions • Dyslexia is not a disease and we cannot say that some day we will have a biological or genetic solution. But dyslexia is a disorder that can be treated through education and it is mostly a matter of psychology. • A special treatment that is experimentally testified and can be applied in Greek Language is the teaching of Ancient Greek. In particular, it is found that by learning the historic orthography improves the child’s perceptual and visual abilities which are connected with the appearance of dyslexia: υειηοι συν - ειδητο π οιώ < συν + ε ἴ δηση + π οι ῶ υη κυνηγός < κύνας + ἂ γω (past tense: ἦ γον )

15 References Κασσίμη Αλεξάνδρα. “ Αρχαία Ελληνικά κατά δυσλεξίας.” Η Καθημερινή 28 Oct Κασσίμη Αλεξάνδρα. “ Αρχαία Ελληνικά κατά δυσλεξίας.” Η Καθημερινή 28 Oct Μ π ακάλη Ευμορφία. “ Δυσλεξία ή διαταραχή της ανάγνωσης.” Μαθησιακές Δυσκολίες. 25 Dec. 2005, Αριστοτέλειο Πανε π ιστήμιο Θεσσαλονίκης. 15 May Elaine Miles. “Dyslexia may show a different face in different languages.” Dyslexia 6. 3 (2000): May 2007 Tong Goh Chok. “Dyslexia in different orthographies.” Dyslexia Association of Singapore …… 17 May 2007


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