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After reading chapter four, "Implications from Phonology for Teaching Reading and Teaching a Second Language," I've come to the conclusion that phonology is crucial for both learning to write and using a second language. According to Freeman & Freeman, people pick up their first language naturally without any teaching. When attempting to learn how to read or use a second language, there are a few rules that one must adhere to. These researchers contend that the primary factor influencing how quickly someone learns to write or how quickly they pick up a second language is phonology. To start with, phonology influences how one recognizes a word. Freeman and Freeman argue that sound plays a key role in the identification of a word since one has to write down the words he/she hears depending on the nature of the sound used. Therefore, one must be aware that the written words are as a result of individual sounds, a concept the scholars call the phonemic awareness (Freeman & Freeman, 75). Freeman and his colleague define phonemic awareness as the individual’s potential to grasp and manipulate the phonemes, which make up a given word in the oral language. I have noted that for one to identify the words with ease, he/she ought to combine the knowledge of phoneme awareness with the sounds of the letters used.
After studying the chapter, I have also learnt that there exists a difference between phonemic awareness and phonological awareness. Freeman and Freeman claim that phonological awareness is the capability of differentiating between units of speech – for instance, syllables and words (Freeman & Freeman, 76). On the other hand, they note that phonemic awareness can be considered as a form of phonological awareness, but it is the recognition of phonemes used in a word as well as their manipulation (which can be done through the addition or the substitution of a phoneme). In addition, the scholars suggest that phonemic awareness takes place in five groups. The first group is the alliteration and hearing of the rhymes. At the second stage, the learner performs some odd tasks like pointing out the words that begin with a different phoneme in a given group (Freeman & Freeman, 76). During the third stage, an individual starts to learn how to split or blend syllables while he/she begins to segment them at the fourth stage. The final stage is the point at which one starts to manipulate the phonemes to make up the desired word. Another point I have noted is that the potential of the people who are learning a second language and the children who are acquiring the first language are capable of identifying the difference in the meanings of some words by pointing out the variations in their phonemes. However, they do so by interpreting the meaning of the word and not its sound. Freeman and Freeman are of the opinion that such learners’ intelligence on the variations among phonemes is subconscious (Freeman & Freeman, 79). Therefore, they use this insight to interpret the meaning of the world, but they cannot be in a position to tell how they succeed to do so.
To sum it all, the insight from Freeman and Freeman have enabled me to realize a number of issues that are involved while one is learning either a first or a second language. One of the key issues I have learnt is that one’s identification of various words is dependent on the phonemic awareness. Additionally, I have learnt that an individual’s differentiation of the units of speech depends on his/her phonological awareness.
Freeman, David E., Freeman, Yvonne, S. Essential Linguistics: What You Need To Know To Teach, Reading, ESL, Spelling, Phonics, and Grammar. Heinemann, Portsmouth.
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