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Knowledge of context sensitive spellings as a component of spelling competence: Evidence from Danish

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 May 2005

University of Copenhagen


Spelling performances in 104 Danish children from Grades 4 to 6 were compared across three levels of orthographic transparency. At the first level all spellings that were plausible at the level of the single phoneme were accepted. At the second level spellings were accepted only if they were plausible when the phonological context was considered (context sensitive spellings). At the third level word-specific spelling accuracy was required. There were 16 word items per level, matched for structure and frequency. Scores for context sensitive spellings were intermediate between scores at the phonemic level and the word-specific level, both for vowel and consonant spellings. Scores for context sensitive vowels and consonants were significantly interrelated even when performances at the phonemic and word-specific levels were controlled. The results demonstrate that Danish spellers beyond the initial phases of literacy development rely on phonological entities larger than the single phoneme. They extend similar findings from English in suggesting that knowledge of context sensitive spellings is a separate component of spelling competence.

© 2005 Cambridge University Press

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