Despite the fact that Spanish Heritage Language Learners (SHLs) have many difficulties with spelling, the development of spelling proficiency has not received much attention in HL research, so far. One exception to this is Dr. Sara Beaudrie, a professor of Spanish Linguistics at Arizona State University, where she also serves as the coordinator of the Spanish heritage program. In 2012, she published a description of the most common orthographic errors of HLs, based on writing samples obtained from 100 college students.
Beaudrie found that the great majority of misspellings involving consonants were the result of overusing the letter ‘s’, which was used in place of either ‘c’ or ‘z’, as in hise, vacasiones, tristesa and empesar. Less common, but still very frequent, were the opposite cases, that is, the use of c and z instead of s, as in demaciado and riza. Other errors in the spelling of consonants involved h, b/v, r/rr, j/g, and y/ll. None of these errors will surprise the SHL instructor, who is probably seeing them constantly in their students’ work. However, one of the most important contributions of Sara Beaudrie’s study is that it identifies the words and word types where the bulk of spelling errors fall:
1. More than half of the errors consisting in the overuse of ‘s’ were found in these groups:
2. Almost all ‘h’ misspellings (91%) were found in only six words (and their variations):
Source: Beaudrie, S. (2012). A corpus-based study on the misspellings of Spanish heritage learners and their implications for teaching. Linguistics and Education, 23, 135-44.
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BLOG ON SPELLING
This is a blog about spelling in Spanish Heritage Language Learners. Some posts will be in Spanish and some in English. Feel free to ask your questions in the comments section.
Made-up words and other fipers.
Tips for teaching stress marks.
Los hablantes nativos y la ortografía