Linguistic Pattern Analysis of Misspellings of Typically Developing Writers in Grades 1–9 Purpose: A mixed-methods approach, evaluating triple word-form theory, was used to describe linguistic patterns of misspellings.Method: Spelling errors were taken from narrative and expository writing samples provided by 888 typically developing students in Grades 1–9. Errors were coded by category (phonological, orthographic, and morphological) and specific linguistic feature ... Article
Article  |   December 2012
Linguistic Pattern Analysis of Misspellings of Typically Developing Writers in Grades 1–9
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Elaine R. Silliman
    University of South Florida
  • Virginia W. Berninger
    University of Washington
  • Michael Dow
    University of South Florida
  • Correspondence to Ruth Huntley Bahr: rbahr@usf.edu
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
  • Associate Editor: Julie Dockrell
    Associate Editor: Julie Dockrell×
  • © 2012 American Speech-Language-Hearing AssociationAmerican Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Article Information
Development / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language
Article   |   December 2012
Linguistic Pattern Analysis of Misspellings of Typically Developing Writers in Grades 1–9
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2012, Vol. 55, 1587-1599. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/10-0335)
History: Received December 1, 2010 , Revised May 20, 2011 , Accepted March 6, 2012
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2012, Vol. 55, 1587-1599. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/10-0335)
History: Received December 1, 2010; Revised May 20, 2011; Accepted March 6, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

Purpose: A mixed-methods approach, evaluating triple word-form theory, was used to describe linguistic patterns of misspellings.

Method: Spelling errors were taken from narrative and expository writing samples provided by 888 typically developing students in Grades 1–9. Errors were coded by category (phonological, orthographic, and morphological) and specific linguistic feature affected. Grade-level effects were analyzed with trend analysis. Qualitative analyses determined frequent error types and how use of specific linguistic features varied across grades.

Results: Phonological, orthographic, and morphological errors were noted across all grades, but orthographic errors predominated. Linear trends revealed developmental shifts in error proportions for the orthographic and morphological categories between Grades 4 and 5. Similar error types were noted across age groups, but the nature of linguistic feature error changed with age.

Conclusions: Triple word-form theory was supported. By Grade 1, orthographic errors predominated, and phonological and morphological error patterns were evident. Morphological errors increased in relative frequency in older students, probably due to a combination of word-formation issues and vocabulary growth. These patterns suggest that normal spelling development reflects nonlinear growth and that it takes a long time to develop a robust orthographic lexicon that coordinates phonology, orthography, and morphology and supports word-specific, conventional spelling.

Acknowledgments
Grant P50HD071764 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development supported the third author’s role in the preparation of this article. This study would not be possible without the spelling analyses provided by Kelly Fawcett and Jennifer James. Portions of these data were presented at the 2005 and 2006 meetings of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the 2007 Florida Reading Research Conference, and the 15th European Conference on Reading in 2007.
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