VLI 11(2): Klassen (2022)

Orthographic Processing of Proper Names: A Proposal to Investigate the Orthographic Cue for Second Language Readers
Kimberly Klassen
Tokyo Woman’s Christian University
doi: https://doi.org/10.7820/vli.v11.2.klassen
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A standard treatment of proper names in second language (L2) vocabulary analyses is to categorize them as known items. This treatment is often supported by the assumption that the form of the proper name (i.e., the initial capital letter) and the context will indicate to the L2 reader that the item is a proper name. The aim of this work-in-progress report is to propose a methodological approach for investigating the claim that form facilitates proper name recognition for L2 readers, in particular for those whose first language (L1) employs a different orthography and writing system than English. While previous research has looked at the orthographic processing of proper names for L1 users, a gap exists in the literature for L2 readers. The assumption that L2 readers are skilled at identifying proper names from the initial capital warrants investigation as there are implications for the processing load in both pedagogical and testing situations. A proposed method to investigate the initial capital letter as a cue for L2 English proper name recognition is a name decision task, a variation on a lexical decision task, using English proper names and common nouns that are familiar to Japanese participants. Reaction times and error percentages to proper names with case type as a factor (i.e., initial capital letter or all lowercase) will be submitted to a linear mixed effects analysis.

Klassen, K. (2022). Orthographic processing of proper names: A proposal to investigate the orthographic cue for second language readers. Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 11(2), 94–100. https://doi.org/10.7820/vli.v11.2.klassen