Misspellings Analysis in the Heritage Learners´ Writing


  • Ángela Cristina Contreras-Wise Universidad de Houstons




orthography, Spanish heritage learners, orthographic analysis


Constant exposure to one or more words involves developing the skill to mentally represent the phonological form of a word spoken in a precise way. This skill is grown throughout the years of schooling by being in contact with that language. However, Spanish heritage learners in USA have not been schooled enough in that language during those years when such acquisition is essential. Those students retake the schooling of the language at the university, where they seek to learn orthography to prepare academically and professionally (Beaudrie & Ducar, 2005).  

This work compares frequency and typology of misspellings in 40 essays which are classified in four levels. The aim is to identify the level with the most misspellings and the category and morpheme with the highest frequency of errors produced by this group of students. Results confirm what is expected: the higher the level, the lower the percentage of misspellings.


Download data is not yet available.


Adams, M.J. (1995). Beginning to read. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Appel, K. (2009). The Acquisition of Mental Orthographic Representations for Reading and Spelling Development. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 31(1), 42-52.

Balajthy, Ernest. (1986). Using Microcomputer to Teach Spelling. Reading Teacher. 39 (5), 438-43.

Ball, W. & Blachman, B. (1991). Does Phoneme Awareness Training in Kindergarten Make a Difference in Early Word Recognition and Developmental Spelling? Reading Research Quarterly, 26, 49-66. https://doi.org/10.1598/RRQ.26.1.3

Beaudrie, S. (2012). A Corpus-Based Study on the Misspelling of Spanish Heritage Learners and their Implications for Teaching. Linguistics and Education, 23(1), 135-144.

Beaudrie, S. & Ducar, C. (2005). Beginning level university heritage language programs: Creating a space for all heritage language learners. Heritage Language Journal, 3 (1).

Beaudrie, S. & Fairclough, M. (Eds.) (2012). Spanish as a Heritage Language in the United States; State of the Field. Washington D.C.: Georgetown UP.

Bird, J. Bishop, D.V.M and Freeman N. H. (1995). Phonological awareness and literacy development in children with expressive phonological impairments. Journal of speech, language, and hearing research, 38 (2), 446-462.

Brown, A. (1990). A review of recent research on spelling: Educational Psychology Review, 2 (4), 365-379. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01323630

Burgess, R. & Lonigan, C. J. (1998). Bidirectional Relations of Phonological Sensitivity and Prereading Abilities: Evidence from a Preschool Sample. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 70, 117-41. https://doi.org/10.1006/jecp.1998.2450

Carbonell de Grompone, M. A., Tuana, E. J., Piedra de Moratorio, M., Lluch de Pintos, E. & Corbo de Mandracho, H. (1980). Evolución de la ortografía según la clasificación estructural de los errores ortográficos. Lectura y Vida, 1(4), 11-17.

Carlisle, J. F. (1995). Morphological Awareness and Early Reading Achievement. In L. B. Feldman (ed.), Morphological Aspects of Language Processing (pp. 189-209). NJ, USA: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Colombi, C. (2002). Academic Language Development in Latina student's writng in Spanish. In M. Schleppegrell, & M.C. Colombi (Eds.). Developing advanced literacy in first and second languages (pp. 67-86). MahwaH, NJ: Erlbaum.

Colombi, C. (2009). A systemic functional approach to teaching Spanish for heritage speakers in the United States. Linguistics and Education. 20 (1), 39-49.

Cuetos, F. (1993). Writing in a Shallow Orthography. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 5, 17-28. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01026916

Cunningham, A.C., & Stanovicg, K.E. (1990). Assessing print exposure and orthographic processing in children: A quick measure or Reading experience. Journal of Education Psychology, 88, 733-740. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0663.82.4.733

Defior, S., Martos, F. & Herrera, L. (2000). Influencias de las características del sistema ortográfico español en el aprendizaje de la escritura de palabras. Estudios de Psicología, 21(3), 55-64. https://doi.org/10.1174/02109390060206462

Defior, S., Martos, F. & Cary L. (2002). Differences in Reading Acquisition Development in two Shallow Orthographies: Portuguese and Spanish. Applied Psycholinguistics, 23,135-148. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0142716402000073

Defior, S., Jiménez-Fernández, G., Calet, N. & Serrano, F. (2009). Complexity and lexicality effects on the acquisition of Spanish spelling. Learning and instruction, 19. 55-65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2008.01.005

Defior, S., Jiménez-Fernández, G., Calet, N. & Serrano, F. (2015). Learning to Read and Write in Spanish: Phonology in Addition to Which Other Processes? Studies in Psychology, 36(3), 571-91. https://doi.org/10.1080/02109395.2015.1078552

Defior, S. & Serrano, F. (2011). La conciencia fonémica, aliada de la adquisición del lenguaje escrito. Revista de Logopedia, Foniatría y Audiología, 31(1), 2-13.

Ehri, L. C. (1980). The Development of Orthograhic Images. In U. Frith (ed.), Cognitive Processes in Spelling (pp.311-3). Cambridge, MA: Academic Press.

Ehri, L., Nunes, S., Willows, D., Schuster, B., Yaghoub-Zadeh, Z., & Shanahan, T. (2001). Phonemic Awareness Instruction Helps Children Learn to Read: Evidence from the National Reading Panel's Meta-Analysis. Reading Research Quarterly, 36(3), 250-287. Retrieved July 18, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/748111

Gerber, M. & Hall, R. (1987). Information processing approaches to studying spelling deficiencies. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 20 (1), 34-42.

Goswami, U., & Bryant, P. (1990). Phonological skills and learning to read. Hove: Erlbaum.

Greenberg, D., Ehri, L.C. & Perin, D. (2002). Do Adult Literacy Students Make the Same Word-Reading and Spelling Errors as Children Matched for Word-Reading Age? Scientific Studies of Reading, 6, 221-243. https://doi.org/10.1207/S1532799XSSR0603_2

Justicia, F., Defior, S., Pelegrina, S. & Martos, F. J. (1999). The sources of errors in Spanish writing. Journal of Research in Reading, 8, 487-497.

Katz, L. & Frost, R. (1992). The Reading process is different for different orthographies: The orthographic depth hypothesis. In R. Frost, & L. Katz (Eds.). Orthography, phonology, morphology, and meaning (pp. 67-84). Amsterdam: Elsevier Science.

Llombart-Huesca, A. (2018). Understanding the Spelling Errors of Spanish Heritage Language Learners. Hispania, 101, 211-223. https://doi.org/10.1353/hpn.2018.0114

Nagy, W., Berninger, V. W., & Abbott, R. D (2006). Contributions of morphology beyond phonology to literacy outcomes of upper elementary and middle-school students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98 (1), 134-147. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0663.98.1.134

Mousty, P., Leybaert, J., Alegria, J., Content, A. & Morais, J, (1994). BELEC: Une batterie d'évaluation du langage écrit et de ses troubles. Evaluer les Troubles de la Lecture. 127-145.

Parker, R. (1991). Spelling at home. In V. Nicholl, & L. Wilkie (Eds.), Literacy at home and school. Rozel, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association.

Seymour, Philip H. K. (1992). "Cognitive Theories of Spelling and Implications for Education." Psychology, Spelling and Education, edited by Chris M. Sterling and Cliff Robson. Multilingual Matters, pp. 50-70.

Valdés, G (2000). Introduction. In Spanish for Native Speakers. AATSP Professional Development Series Handbook for Teachers K-16, Volume 1 (pp. 1-20). New York: Harcourt College.


  • Abstract
  • PDF (Español)
  • XML (Español)

How to Cite

Contreras-Wise, Ángela C. (2020). Misspellings Analysis in the Heritage Learners´ Writing. Cuadernos de Lingüística Hispánica, (36), 59–78. https://doi.org/10.19053/0121053X.n36.2020.10716



Language and society