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Critique of Building of the Sound System of Spanish Article by Helman - Assignment Example

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The paper contains a critique of Helman’s article "Building of the Sound System of Spanish: Insights from the Alphabetic Spellings of English-Language Learners" which demonstrates the need for second-language educators to consider students’ original language when providing critical instruction.  …
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Critique of Building of the Sound System of Spanish Article by Helman
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The article begins by establishing the importance of focusing on Spanish-speaking students as statistically, they will represent as much as 18% of the population by 2025 (“Statistical Abstract of the United States,” 1995). It then argues that Spanish-speaking students at Henderson’s “spelling by sound” stage of alphabetic writing, where students rely on hearing the sounds of words to write them, demonstrate difficulties because certain sound features in English don’t exist in Spanish (453). Specifically, Helman identifies the analysis of the positions of consonant sounds, consonant clusters, and vowels in each language as the main areas of difficulty. For example, a Spanish speaker will often wrongly substitute certain Spanish letters when they encounter letter-sound combinations that exist only in English – dem instead of them. The article then explains, in detail, further confusions that result from sound-letter combinations and letter-positioning existing in only one language.
Professor Helman does an excellent job of discussing how this research can be applied to English-language instruction. In the subsection titled “Implications for Instruction”, she identifies six main categories educators can follow to improve their English-language teaching. While this response paper isn’t the place to detail them at-length, the general approach she offers begins with teaching common elements between the two languages and then work with areas that are different.   Read More
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