A Linguistic Approach to the Application and Teaching of the English Alphabet
Studies in Linguistics & Semiotics S. v. 16
The book approaches the nature of the alphabet and its teaching as a universal concept as well as a language-specific one. With focus on the teaching of the English alphabet, the book calls for a departure from the traditional phonics approach simply because of its failure to objectively and accurately handle the alphabet as a linguistic system and an important tool of oracy and literacy. Typically, phonics fails to recognize all the functionally relevant identities of the alphabet, and it seriously confuses between and among those identities in a manner that renders the teaching of language skills and sub-skills - listening, speaking, reading, writing, spelling, etc - highly unreliable and even erroneous. The alternative approach recommended here scrutinizes the nature of the alphabet and comes up with four different linguistic identities: phoneme, grapheme, nomeneme, and sequeme. Each is objectively reexamined and redefined so as to identify where and how each identity should be recognized and applied. This radical distinction implies the institution of different methodologies and strategies to teach them.
Additionally, the book emphasizes the significant differences in the teaching of the alphabet in the context of different languages, especially in the linguistically and culturally diverse learning situations encountered in ESL, bilingual and foreign language classes. Finally, the overall approach, methodology and the techniques recommended for the teaching of the alphabet as a linguistic system is solidly embedded in the most recent findings in the field of education, linguistics, cognitive and developmental psychology, including the Multiple Intelligences Theory.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
"This book provides a thought-provoking examination of the complex relationships between writing systems and the teaching of language skills. It challenges the reader to question long-standing assumptions about phonics and its role in the acquisition of oral and written language competencies among students of diverse linguistic backgrounds. In this critical study of the linguistic foundations of literacy, Edward Odisho examines in detail basic concepts from multi-lingual perspectives, contributing significantly to a clearer understanding of the complexities in acquiring language competencies....contributes significantly to clarification of the linguistic misunderstandings, myths, and inaccuracies found in current phonics and spelling approaches...This book will serve as a catalyst for changing literacy instruction and the preparation of teacher candidates." -Dr. Beverly Otto, Professor, Teacher Education, Northeastern Illinois University; "...offers linguistics students a complete historical and foundational overview of the alphabet and concepts of linguistics....The historical and foundational concepts come together in Part Three: The Alphabet and the Teaching of Language Skills. This portion of the manuscript will be valuable to linguistics students and teacher education students alike. The origins of alphabetic pronunciations, encoding processes, and decoding processes are synthesized...Given the cultural and linguistic diversity that is evident in most school classrooms, this section will be most useful for future teachers of diverse student populations....the extensive portions of Dr. Odisho's manuscript dealing with the orthographic dimension will offer a unique perspective to linguistics students and teacher education students." -Dr. Elaine Pierce Chakonas, Associate Chairperson, Assistant Professor, Coordinator, Elementary Education Program, Northeastern Illinois University"