Memorandum submitted by Dr Chris Singleton
Key references supplied by Dr Chris Singleton
at the request of the House of Commons Science and Technology
1. Caravolas, M, The nature and causes
of dyslexia in different languages. In M J Snowling and C
Hulme (Eds) The Science of Reading. Oxford, Blackwell,
2005, pp 336-355.
Excerpts: "Evidence from studies
of dyslexia across different languages and writing systems suggests
that, in broad terms, reading impairments present similarly in
English, in other alphabetic writing systems, and in the Chinese
orthography." (p 354); "...readers with dyslexia in
all languages appear to have particular difficulties in learning
the inconsistencies and irregularities of writing systems... [and]..
some of the cognitive deficits underlying dyslexia are universal"
2. Goulandris, N (Ed.) Dyslexia in different
languages: Cross-linguistic comparisons. London: Whurr, 20003.
This volume brings together authoritative studies
of dyslexia in German, Dutch, Greek, Polish, Russian, Swedish,
French, Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew and the Indian languages, as
well as in multilingual people.
Excerpt: "In conclusion, neurobiological
evidence demonstrates that the pattern of brain organisation differs
in dyslexics when compared to controls. However, the orthography
(or orthographies) that dyslexic individuals are expose to determines
the severity and extent of the behavioural manifestations."
3. Everatt, J and Elbeheri, G, (2008) Dyslexia
in transparent orthographies: Variability in transparency.
In Reid, G, Fawcett, A, Manis, F and Siegel, L (Eds) The Sage
Handbook of Dyslexia. London: Sage, 2008, pp 427-438.
Excerpt: "Although dyslexia has
been identified amongst individuals learning to read and write
in a wide variety of languages and, therefore, is not determined
specifically by the language spoken... the manifestation of dyslexia
may vary across different languages." (p 427.)
4. Smythe, I, Everatt, J and Salter, R (Eds)
The International Handbook of Dyslexia. Volume I. A
Cross-Language Comparison and Practice Guide. Chichester:
This volume reports in detail on evidence regarding
the nature of dyslexia in 18 different languages. It concludes
that the underlying cognitive difficulties seen in dyslexia are
universal, although the impact of dyslexia on learning to read
and write may vary in different languages. With particular reference
to the matters raised by the committee, attention is drawn to
the following chapters:
Lyytinen, H, Aro, M, and Holopainen, L Dyslexia
in highly orthographically regular Finnish.
Lwe, C and Schulte-Krne, G Dyslexia in Germany.
5. Smythe, I, Everatt, J and Salter, R (Eds)
The International Handbook of Dyslexia. Volume II. A
Guide to Practice and Resources. Chichester: Wiley, 2003.
This volume reports the effects of dyslexia
in 54 different countries and on the ways it is addressed. This
overview shows clearly that, across the world, dyslexia is defined
similarly: ie as a specific neurologically-based difficulty with
the acquisition of reading and writing that impacts primarily
at the word level because of underlying deficits in the ability
to process and remember phonological information. With particular
reference to the matters raised by the committee, attention is
drawn to the following chapters:
Lyytinen, H, Aro, M and Holopainen, L Dyslexia
Shulte-Krne, G Dyslexia Research in German-Speaking
6. Peer, L and Reid, G (Eds) Multilingualism,
Literacy and Dyslexia: A challenge for educators. David Fulton,
7. Dyslexia: An International Journal
of Research and Practice:
Vol 32 (1), 2000. Special Issue: Dyslexia
and Multilingualism (Part 1); and
Vol 32 (2), 2000. Special Issue: Dyslexia
and Multilingualism (Part 2).
These three compendiums of research papers (Items
4 and 5) evidence that multilingual people who have dyslexia experience
difficulties in reading and writing across the range of languages
they speak, although the severity of their problems may vary from
language to language. They show that dyslexia is not simply a
phenomenon seen in the English language.