Phonological awareness in Hebrew (L1) and English (L2) in normal and disabled readers

Susie Russak, Elinor Saiegh-Haddad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The present study examined cross-linguistic relationships between phonological awareness in L1 (Hebrew) and L2 (English) among normal (N = 30) and reading disabled (N = 30) Hebrew native speaking college students. Further, it tested the effect of two factors: the lexical status of the stimulus word (real word vs. pseudoword) and the linguistic affiliation of the target phoneme (whether it is within L1 or L2) on phonological awareness. Three parallel experimental phonological awareness tasks were developed in both languages: phoneme isolation, full segmentation, and phoneme deletion. As expected, the results revealed lower levels of phonological awareness in the L2 than in the L1, and in the reading disabled than in the normal reader group. The lexical status of the target word was a reliable factor predicting individual differences in phonological awareness in L2. It was also found that the linguistic affiliation of the target phoneme was a reliable factor in predicting L2 phonological awareness performance in both reader groups. The results are discussed within the framework of phonological representation and language-specific linguistic constraints on phonological awareness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-442
Number of pages16
JournalReading and Writing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • Adults
  • Cross-linguistic studies
  • L2
  • Lexical status
  • Linguistic affiliation
  • Reading disability


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