The effects of iconicity on pre-literacy: a psycholinguistic study of written word-figure matching

Isadora Rodrigues Andrade, Ana Luiza H. Tinoco Machado, Aniela Improta França

Abstract


This work aims at investigating, from the perspective of experimental linguistics, the use of iconicity as a provisional reading strategy used by children during the pre-literacy phase. In the background, we contrast the recruitment of iconicity with the notion of default arbitrariness in language, as proposed by Saussure. To test the interplay of these cognitions, we propose a role-playing experiment with children from three age groups, 4, 5 and 6, in order to verify if these participants use iconic relations to guide them in a task of pairing figure to written word. Our results show that iconicity is afirst-hand resource used by some children, specially 4 year-olds, who tended to establish a clearer motivational relationship between the size of objects and the size of the word that names them. Nevertheless, iconicity persists as a strategy in a few 6 year-olds, on the brink of attending literacy class. Considering these results, we discuss the implications of choosingaliteracy method, either favoring global reading or grapheme-phoneme decoding, specially for the kids who tend to preserve the iconic strategy longer.


Keywords


Arbitrariness; Iconicity; Reading Acquisition; Literacy Methods

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5007/2175-8026.2019v72n3p175

Copyright (c) 2019 Isadora Rodrigues Andrade, Ana Luiza H. Tinoco Machado, Aniela Improta França

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