Dyslexia in Polish

English and Polish tongues - what is the difference?

Considering the aforementioned difference, a difficulty one must cope with involves the structural and phonetic discrepancies between Polish and English language. The Polish tongue is supposed to be ending based. An 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 actually more vowels and some of them are specific in terms of a phonological dimension (for example the English phonemes "i","e" and "a" can be pronounced in many ways; e.g. "i" in "beat" differs from "i" in "bit", "e" in "bet" must be distinguished from "e" in "bat". 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 - "zi", ś - s softened by i - pronounced "si"). As for Polish vowels we should focus on "ą" and "ę" because none of English vowels could be a substitute for them. All these facts indicate that compared to English students, Polish children and adolescents have slightly different problems in reading, writing and spelling.

The key symptoms of dyslexia in Polish

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

It is possible that a child shows just one or both deficits. Dyslexic children with a visual perception deficit reverse the 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 the 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 the inconsistent sound-to-spelling mapping. Each of these three phonemes is represented by two possible orthographic forms:

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 a phonological, phonemic awareness deficit. As it is observed in English dyslexics, the problems which are frequently reported in the Polish reading disabled concern the receptive and expressive language. They might include sound-letter mapping, phoneme segmentation; identifying similiar sounds and phonemes; making up and finding rhymes; 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 impairments in these individuals could be seen both as fonological coding and decoding difficulties. Moreover, Polish dyslexia may be sometimes linked to a specific language disorder (fluency disorder, stuttering).