V ‑ Discussion, Summary and Implication

 

A number of findings emerged from the data of this study. First: Reading Comprehension in Spanish is correlated with English language interference; that is, students with a high degree of inter­ference showed low reading comprehension in Spanish, and students with a low interference had higher scores in reading comprehension in Spanish. These findings are supported by the negative correlations in Table V, and level of variance in Table XI. These findings also support the main hypothesis of the study, which is that there is a greater difficulty in reading comprehension in Spanish relative to the amount of English language interference.

 

When ability to read Spanish as measured by the Cloze and ability to speak English as measured by LAS are accounted for, inter­ference in the Standard Spanish has a negative influence in the chil­dren's ability to read Standard Spanish.

Interference in Spanish is a significant variable in the abil­ity of students to read Standard Spanish. The results in Table XI show that the interference variable is significant at the .01 level. In addition, when interference is analyzed by type of structure, certain types of structures such as morpheme change, or the appearance of an extra word seem to cause more problems than others. The results in Table XII show that two of the syntactic structures account for most of the variance in interference while lexical change does not account for much of the difference.


 

Correlation analysis showed similar general results and in terms of specific structures morpheme change and addition of a word also proved to be significant. The other structures didn't show a significant correlation but were in the direction of the hypothesis. In this analysis lexical change seems to have the least negative correla­tion with reading comprehension.

It was also found that there was a negative correlation be­tween interference on specific English language grammatical structures in Spanish reading comprehension. This held true for verbs, word order, additional parts of the speech, (one extra word) taut not substantives. This‑ latter category is of. Little importance for reading comprehension.

 

In addition to the relationship of specific grammatical structures and corresponding structures, in reading comprehension, there were also negative correlations between total comprehension and inter­ference on specific grammatical structures.

 

The results in Table VI demonstrated that there were signifi­cant negative correlations between total comprehension and interference on verbs and additional parts of the speech (one extra word). Thus, lower reading comprehension in Spanish is moderately associated with higher interference on verbs and additional parts of the speech, (one extra word).

Table VII showed that there were significant negative corre­lations between total comprehension and interference on the grammatical structure of morpheme changes and one extra word. Thus, lower reading comprehension in Spanish is associated with higher interference on these two grammatical structures.


 

Implications

 

The findings of the investigation demonstrate that reading. Comprehension is associated with the knowledge of the standard lang­uage. The results demonstrate that children who only know the dialectal variety of structures had more difficulty in reading the standard variety. In addition, this research suggests that certain types of structures, when not known tend to cause more difficulty than others. There seems to be a noticeable difference in the effect of structural vs. lexical elements, the former being more responsible for reading comprehension problems while the latter's influence seems negligible.

 

The results of this study also support the contention that gaining access to meaning through reading depends strictly on prior mastery of the language structure that leads to it, (see Le Fevre, 1961), and also the comprehension of the structures that signal meaning.

 

The results of this study partially proves Hutson‑Powers' (1974) theory: The greater difficulty in comprehending less familiar sentences when syntactic form is not supported by semantic components of grammar, (word order interference), may play an important role in the child's acquisition of syntactic comprehension.

 

According to Burke (1973), at the cognitive level the nature of grammatical structures interference could reside primarily in the fact that non‑familiar syntax (other than the oral interference) and morphological markers (additional part of the speech), (one extra word), reduce the child's ability to predict what is coming and thus weaken valuable cues of contact. This theory was supported by the findings of this study.


 

The lack of correlation between knowledge of oral English and interference in Spanish indicates that interference may be more a function of not knowing the standard Spanish rather than increase in knowledge of English, which suggests that increasing the knowledge of the structures of standard Spanish will increase the reading comprehension of Spanish.

These results are suggestive rather than definite since the initial question related to interference in general and the stu­dents were not tested for numerous examples of each kind of structure. This analysis also showed that proficiency in oral English is pres­ent in the oral readers proving once more that ability in one lang­uage does not impair ability in the other, on the contrary it may indeed be an asset.

 

General ability to read Spanish is helpful but when faced with a passage containing structures that differ from the Standard dialect in this case caused by English interference when the child does not know the Standard structure, is going to affect the comprehension of that passage.

 

Limitation of the Study

 

Before the recommendation for future research of this study certain limitations inherent in this and other similar studies will be taken up. Some of the limitations of this study were: Lack of a reliable standardized test in Spanish to measure reading comprehension and lack of a reliable standardized test that measured specific grammatical language interference.


Since the concept of language interference as a test is rel­atively new, there is no standardized test that measures interference in the oral language. Another limitation was in finding a sample of high school students within the Bilingual program with the same amount of time exposed to English. A third limitation was the lack of sig­nificant number of examples for each type of structure studied. How­ever, many other variables than the one considered in this study affect reading comprehension. Socio‑economic status, general intelligence, level of bilingualism can negatively affect the ability of bilingual children to read,

 

Future Research

 

Future research might be directed toward providing a reading inventory written in the dialect with English interference within it as compared with the standard reading comprehension story in Spanish. According to Lawrence (1974), children find learning to read more difficult as a task when their oral language experience is different from the language of the materials used in the semantic reading. One direction future research could take is to devise an informal reading inventory comprehension test using the non‑standard interference grammatical structure of the Spanish language. According to the re­sults in this study, we can conclude that the ability to recognize form classes from certain grammatical structures is a factor in reading comprehension.

 

More analyses of specific parts of speech, such as verbs, morpheme and word order are needed. Also required are more analyses in terms of grammatical structural change and morphological change. For example, does morphological change upon verbs cause more problems than upon nouns when reading comprehension is involved? Also, how does grammatical as opposed to lexical change affect comprehension?

 

It would also be relevant to see if in speech children use the standard or the dialect, even when they chose the standard in the Multiple Choice Interference test. That is to say, do we need to know the written form of the language or do we need to speak it in order to facilitate reading.

 

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