[EDLING:1243] The Observer: Dyslexics excel at Japanese

dfpowell at TALK21.COM dfpowell at TALK21.COM
Sun Feb 12 11:48:02 UTC 2006

David Powell spotted this on the The Observer site and thought you should see it.

To see this story with its related links on the The Observer site, go to http://www.observer.co.uk

Dyslexics excel at Japanese
Anushka Asthana, education correspondent
Sunday February 12 2006
The Observer

When it comes to learning Japanese, the highest achievers could be dyslexic children. Research at a school in Somerset shows dyslexics find the language easier to learn than French, Spanish or German.

After a series of papers that showed how well children could do at Japanese, Millfield school added the language to its curriculum. Bill Penty, head of modern languages, said: 'Japanese is written syllabically, so that what you read is what you hear. Grammatically it is exceedingly straightforward up to a certain point. It is also elliptical, which means that if it doesn't need to say something it won't say it.' He said that at a basic level all the verbs except one ended in the same sound. Dyslexic children performed particularly well in exams, he added.

His school moved to promote the language after research by Michiko Harwood, a teacher there, showed dyslexics found Japanese equally or more accessible than European languages. It also helped to give children a lot of 'kudos', because they could do something others found baffling. 'Japanese is also thought to be cool because of its links with martial arts,' said Penty. Young children were more attuned to Japanese than their parents because of computer games and TV cartoons made in Japan.

Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited

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