Jucla, M. 1, 2 , Sadel, A. 1, 2 & Köpke, B. 1, 2
1 Laboratoire Octogone-Lordat EA 4156, 5 allées Antonio Machado, 31058 Toulouse Cedex 09, France
2 Université de Toulouse, UTM, 5 allées Antonio Machado, 31058 Toulouse Cedex 09, France
Numerous studies in typically achieving and impaired children put forward the impact of orthographic transparency on reading and on the underlying deficits in dyslexia. It is assumed that reading deficits are less severe in transparent languages such as Spanish whereas difficulties are harder to compensate in opaque ones such as English. However, less is known on bilingual children who learn to read two languages with different orthographic systems in parallel. Here, we describe the case of GF, a 9; 9 year-old french-occitan bilingual child with developmental dyslexia. His school only provides classes in Occitan from the age of 3. Reading is first learnt in Occitan (a quite transparent language) then in French (a deeper orthography). We built lists of French and Occitan words and nonwords in reading and spelling under dictation tasks. We analysed the reading and spelling results (errors and reaction time) in both languages to observe whether 1) one language is more impaired than the other 2) error patterns are language specific or might reflect a cross language transfer. We compared the results to these of AC, a 9; 8 year-old typically achieving child who belong to the same school as GF. In the reading tasks, GF had more difficulties in reading Occitan nonwords (6/10 errors) compared to the other conditions and to AC. The spelling under dictation task elicited much more errors (21/40 and 16/40 for GF and AC resp.), especially in Occitan. In French, we mainly observed orthographic errors, on words spelling. In Occitan, errors suggest that phoneme-grapheme conversion rules are not to well known. French rules are preferred. To conclude, despite the fact that reading was first taught in Occitan, French is better processed and influences reading and spelling in Occitan. The impact of orthographic systems involved and language use context will be discussed.