Article published in:Constraints on Spelling Changes
Edited by Guido Nottbusch and Eliane Segers
[Written Language & Literacy 10:2] 2007
► pp. 185–194
The influence of spelling conventions on perceived plurality in compounds
A comparison of Afrikaans and Dutch
Dutch compounds with ‘e’ or ‘en’ as linking element between modifier and head were presented to mother tongue speakers of Afrikaans in an experimental setting that explored the possibility that these different spelling formats would suggest a singular or plural meaning of the modifier. The participants appeared to interpret ‘en’ in the linking element as an indication for singular, and ‘e’ as signifying plural. This outcome supported the findings in comparable studies on Dutch, which also revealed a tendency to understand the spelling of the linking schwa in relation to conventions for the spelling of the plural suffix. In Afrikaans the spelling of the plural forms is ‘e’, whereas in Dutch the spelling of plural forms is ‘en’. This explains why the results of the Dutch and Afrikaans experiments, while using the same materials, are each other’s mirror image.
Published online: 07 April 2008
Cited by other publications
Hanssen, Esther, Arina Banga, Robert Schreuder & Anneke Neijt
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