Dyslexia and the Chinese Language
Filed under: Culture, Language, Language Learning, Translation Services
As a parent of a dyslexic child who was adopted from a Spanish speaking country, I remember her asking her doctor if she would have still been dyslexic if she grew up speaking Spanish. The answer was yes but given that Spanish is a very strict phonological language the disability may not have been as complex.
But what about Chinese? New research has just been conducted that indicates that dyslexia with may result from different parts of the brain depending on whether you speak English (or other alphabetic languages) or Chinese. The test results showed that dyslexia may be more complicated to treat with Chinese children because visual processing (used to interpret the images of the character) and phonological processing (used to interpret the sound) are both required.
Brain mapping shows that different parts of the brain are affected in Chinese speakers with dyslexia when compared to English speakers. Processing images takes place in one part of the brain while phonological processing takes place in another.
The results of the study showed that over 80% of Chinese dyslexics showed difficulty in both areas of processing while in English speaking dyslexics most showed only the phonological disorder. The study goes on to conclude that many English speaking dyslexics might find it easier to read in Chinese since their visual processing capabilities are not usually impaired.