Dyslexia in Polish

English and Polish tongues - what is the difference?

The difficulty one must cope while dealing with dyslexia in Polish involves the structural and phonetic discrepancies between Polish and English language. Polish tongue is supposed to be ending based. The ending is added in nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs in accordance with declension or conjugation demands. Thus the meaning of a word in a sentence is conditioned by an ending. English is a positional tongue. It means that the word sense depends on its position in a sentence. An ending is less important. Moreover English has more vowels and some of them are specific (for example English phonemes "i","e" and "a" can be pronounced in many ways; "i" in "beat" differs from "i" in "bit"). On the other hand the Polish language users could also encounter troubles concerning not only vowels but soften consonants (e.g. ń - n softened by i - pronounced "ni", ć - c softened by i - ci, ź - z softened by i, ś - s softened by si). As regards Polish vowels we should focus on "ą" and "ę" because none of English vowels could be a substitute for them. All these facts make it clear that Polish children and adolescents have slightly different problems in reading, writing and spelling.

The key symptoms of dyslexia in Polish

Polish researchers and professionals believe that dyslexia can be observed as:

It is possible that a child shows only one or both deficits. Dyslexic children with visual perception deficit reverse shape of letters, inverse letters such as: "p", "b", "d", "g"; omit lines and dots as well as punctuation marks. While writing such pupils are not able to fit a drawing into a page. Moreover they commit plenty of spelling errors even though they know orthographic rules.

Spelling disorder in Polish

The spelling disorder in Polish can be associated with the specific writing system. In Polish there are three phonemes with inconsistent sound-to-spelling mapping. Each of these three phonemes is represented by two possible orthographic forms: u can be represented by "u" or "ó" {e.g. [Bug] - Bug (the name of the river in Eastern Poland), [Bug] - Bóg (God)}; з by "ż" or "rz" [moзe] - "morze" (sea), [moзe] - "może" (maybe); and x by "h" or "ch" [xerbata] - "herbata" (tea), [xoinka] - "choinka" (Christmas tree). The Polish dyslexics of visual type may find it very confusing.

Phonological, auditory and language-based dyslexia in Polish

Regarding individuals with phonological dyslexia their troubles both in Polish and in English could stem from phonological, phonemic awareness deficit. As it is observed in English dyslexics, the problems reported in Polish reading disabled concern receptive and expressive language. They might include sound-letter mapping, phoneme segmentantion; identifying similiar sounds and phonemes; differentiating nasal vowels from sound sets (eg. ą - on, ę - en); using soften consonants properly (ń - ni koń (a horse) - konie (horses); ć - ci ćma (a moth) - cicho (quietly); ź - zi źrebak (a young horse) - ziemniak (a potato); ś - si światło (a light) - siwy (grey). Phonological awareness impairment in these individuals could be seen both as coding and decoding difficulties.Moreover Polish dyslexia can be sometimes linked with specific language disorder (fluency disorder, stuttering).