Dan Parvaz dparvaz at UNM.EDU
Wed Mar 21 05:26:50 UTC 2001

> Is anyone aware of any studies about whether dyslexia occurs in other writing
> systems? I am an immigration attorney who spends quite a bit of time in Iran,
> and I have never come across dyslexia in Iran. I assume the problem must
> exist, but I have never come across an Iranian dyslexic.

Farsi uses a consonantal script (borrowed from Arabic, with four extra
letters), but there are several homophonous letters: four for the /z/
sound, three for /s/, two for /t/, two for /h/, two for /q/ and two for
the glottal stop. This, combined with the vowel-less system that every kid
in the second grade has to start learning (not to mention frozen spelling
from Arabic and Ottoman Turkish borrowings), causes some spelling

So why no dyslexia? I can't speak to the cognitive issues, since I'm not
sure what effect an alphabetic script has on processing and working
memory. I'm pretty sure that letter inversions of the "b/d" variety
couldn't happen, since no such pairs exist in Perso-Arabic script (the
"alef" is mirror-symmetric, so confusing that is not much of a problem :-)
With writing, there are the issues of homophonous letters, and in reading,
there are potential difficulties in getting the right short vowels.

So my question for the Iranian(s?) on funknet is this: would a kid
exhibiting the processing/memory symptoms of dyslexia be labelled as
"dyslexic", or simply learning-disabled (worse yet, "aghab-oftadeh")?

My question for Dan Slobin: with deaf kids who are learning some kind of
graphic notation system (e.g., SignWriting), are there cases of kids with
dyslexia mixing up, say, agents and patients in agreement verbs?



. .   D A N  P A R V A Z  --  Geek-in-Residence
 U    University of New Mexico Linguistics Dept
 -    dparvaz@{unm.edu,lanl.gov}   505.480.9638

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