The development of phonological awareness literacy measures for isiXhosa

DOI: 10.2989/16073614.2015.1108769
Author(s): Maxine DiemerDepartment of English Language and Linguistics, South Africa, Kristin van der MerweDepartment of English Language and Linguistics, South Africa, Mark de VosDepartment of English Language and Linguistics, South Africa


This study outlines the development of linguistically based, language-specific measures of phonological awareness in isiXhosa and presents some preliminary findings. Hitherto, the study of phonological awareness has predominantly focussed on English, and to date phonological awareness in Bantu languages has not been adequately addressed. This study explicitly discusses the decisions made when developing a phonological awareness test for isiXhosa, which can easily be adapted for other Bantu languages. Our results show how participants perform better in syllable awareness tasks and how this is conditioned by the language-specific structures of isiXhosa. We demonstrate the need for micro-linguistic and language-specific considerations in the development of phonological awareness tests.

Get new issue alerts for Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies