The late acquisition of a major difficulty of French inflectional orthography: The homophonic /E/ verbal endings

Catherine Brissaud, Jean-Pierre Chevrot
2011 Writing Systems Research  
The aim of this article is to give an overview of researches about the acquisition of /E/ verb endings in French as a first language. The spelling of this suffixal inflection is a major difficulty of French orthography, because many alternative spellings are available. For example, the single phonological form /paRlE/ can be spelled , , , , , , , , , all of which are frequently used. This spelling difficulty is sustainable and generates strategies from writers who seem to accommodate opposite
more » ... ommodate opposite constraints originating in different linguistic levels of the French writing system. The main findings of a study carried out in school with 621 students from 8-to 14 year-old are presented: the early competition between <é> and inflections, the over-regularization of the agreement with the subject and finally the interaction between the selection of the morphonogram <é> and the overregularization of the agreement with the subject. Ultimately, the data collected show a very long and costly acquisition of the spelling skill that confirms that French writing system is one of the most difficult to master.
doi:10.1093/wsr/wsr003 fatcat:snorepo5gvga5mu2gii4akmaoq