Cross-linguistic transfer of oral language, decoding, phonological awareness and reading comprehension: a meta-analysis of the correlational evidence
Version of Record online: 15 FEB 2011
Copyright © 2011 UKLA
Journal of Research in Reading
Special Issue: Learning to Read in More Than One Language Edited by: Helene Deacon and Kate Cain
Volume 34, Issue 1, pages 114–135, February 2011
How to Cite
Melby-Lervåg, M. and Lervåg, A. (2011), Cross-linguistic transfer of oral language, decoding, phonological awareness and reading comprehension: a meta-analysis of the correlational evidence. Journal of Research in Reading, 34: 114–135. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9817.2010.01477.x
- Issue online: 15 FEB 2011
- Version of Record online: 15 FEB 2011
- Received 26 September 2010; revised version received 15 October 2010.
We present a meta-analysis of cross-linguistic transfer of oral language (vocabulary and listening comprehension), phonology (decoding and phonological awareness) and reading comprehension. Our findings show a small meta-correlation between first (L1) and second (L2) oral language and a moderate to large correlation between L1 and L2 phonological awareness and decoding. This is interpreted in terms of the complexity of oral language compared with phonological awareness and decoding, where the limited number of letter–sound combinations are easier to learn. There were also large variations in the L1–L2 correlations for all language domains. The variation of decoding was moderated by writing system and instructional language. Further, the meta-correlation between L1 decoding and L2 reading comprehension was small to moderate, and decreased reliably with age, while the correlation between L1 oral language and L2 reading comprehension was close to 0. Overall, we argue that the results can be explained from both interdependence and contrastive perspectives.