Sample Proposal

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      Laura Teddiman
      Keymaster

      Invitation to collaborate

      Name and affiliation:

      Victor Kuperman and Sadaf Rahmanian, McMaster University

      Title of a collaborative project:

      The effect of spelling errors on word recognition across a range of L1s and L2s

      Motivation:

      Recently, Rahmanian and Kuperman (submitted) showed that frequent occurrences of homophonic spelling errors in English (comit vs commit) leads to longer lexical decision latencies and eye-movement durations to conventionally spelled words. Frequencies of orthographic forms are assessed via unedited language corpora, which do not remove spelling errors. The inhibitory effect of error frequency is observed even in proficient spellers and in experiments where all stimuli were spelled in a conventional way. We seek to expand this line of research to languages other than English, and to L2 learners. Current collaborations are underway for a study of L1 speakers of Hebrew and Finnish. We encourage an addition of other languages to this project, both in L1 and L2 speakers.

      Theoretical and applied impact:

      Inquiry into spelling errors provides insights into how letter-meaning mappings are learned and represented in the mental lexicon, and how the lack of stability in orthographic representations jeopardizes the learning process and the quality of its outcome. On an applied level, this research will show how to facilitate acquisition of spelling and literacy in L1 and L2 users of different languages.

      Proposed contributions of invited collaborators:

      – Help locate and process unedited corpora of the target language (typically, corpora of email correspondence and blogs).
      – Select groups of homophonic words with correct and incorrect spelling in the target language
      – Help design and conduct a behavioral experiment in the language, using lexical decision (for isolated words), eye-tracking (for target words in context) or other paradigms. This stage may involve recruiting a research assistant, recruiting participants, and allocating lab time and equipment for the experiment.
      – Participate in data analysis, write-up and publication of results.

      What do we offer:

      – Participation in corpus analyses and (where language expertise allows) stimuli selection.
      – Participation in design and implementation of the experiment.
      – Partial or full funding of a research assistant, participant fees and (where applicable) laboratory facilities.
      – Partial or full funding of project meetings, if required.
      – Participation in data analysis, write-up and publication of results.

      Contact info:

      Victor Kuperman, vickup _at_ mcmaster.ca

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