Simona Mazzarino Claudia Marzi

Morphological processing in Italian L2 developing readers: a pilot study

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In this paper we focus on the morphological competence and awareness of 23 Italian second-language (L2) school children, by comparing the reading profiles of Italian L1 and L2 children attending primary school from 2nd to 5th grades. Reading data were collected through the experimental finger-tracking protocol developed within the ReadLet project, which supports collecting and structuring behavioural reading data of short narrative texts displayed on a tablet touch-screen. The analyses reproduced the main effects that are well-attested in the developmental literature, and pointed out some differences in the behavioural profile of L2 versus L1 children, with the former being more affected by word length and frequency effects, as well as by the aloud reading task than the latter. Interestingly, however, a functional morphological segmentation strategy emerges in L2 readers processing complex inflected forms during the aloud reading task. We interpret it as a possible strategy to alleviate the extra cognitive load associated with the overt articulation of morphologically complex words within the context of a connected text


  • reading
  • bilingualism
  • morphological awareness
  • developing readers
  • word processing


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