As seen in Part 1 of Dyslexia in different languages, dyslexia can be very different across languages because of their underlying structure. In this post we look at dyslexia in the following four languages: Polish, French, Italian and Japanese.
It is interesting to note that the Polish language is ending based, which means that the meaning of a word in a sentence is conditioned by an ending. English is a positional language, meaning that a word’s definition mainly depends on its position in a sentence. Although Polish children and adolescents have slightly different problems in reading, writing and spelling than those who speak English, difficulties, faced by Polish dyslexics could stem from a phonological, phonemic awareness deficit like those faced by English dyslexics.
French and Italian:
As seen in the TIME magazine, scientists compared the reading ability of dyslexics from Britain, France and Italy and found that Italian dyslexics read far better than their French and English counterparts. Brain scans conducted during reading exercises confirmed that the boundary between language and visual processing areas was inactive in dyslexics, no matter what language they spoke. Lead author, Eraldo Paulesu of the University of Milan Bicocca, stated that Italian dyslexics can read better of the difference in the writing systems, which vary in complexity for historical reasons.
Linda Himelstein, in her article ‘Unlocking Dyslexia in Japanese’ makes reference to a study of school-age children published in Psychological Science that compared how good readers and dyslexic readers learn language. Using brain-imaging technology, researchers at the Yale Center found that when people with dyslexia read in English they rely on the same region of the brain as do readers of kanji, a character-based language in Japan.By contrast, a somewhat different region of the brain is used by good English readers as well as by children reading kana, another Japanese language, but one in which each character represents a sound, as in English.
Having dyslexia in any language does not have to be something negative, dyslexia comes with many advantages, too!
Till next time…