Alfabet vs. kinesiske tegn. Der er – biologisk – forskel på ordblindhed, viser ny forskning.
Det er ikke nemt at lære kinesiske tegn. Bare for at kunne læse en avis, skal man kende mindst 3.000 af dem. Derefter kommer udtalen, hvor der er fire forskellige toner, som gør livet endnu mere besværligt for enhver – kineser eller udlænding – som forsøger at lære sproget.
Nøglen til det hele er, at man skal kunne tegnene udenad. Og det er det, som de første skoleår handler om for kinesiske børn, der sidder og terper tegnene ved at skrive dem igen og igen, til de sidder i både hoved og hånd.
Det er svært. Ikke mindst hvis man er en af de 700 millioner mennesker her på kloden, der er ordblinde.
Until recently it was assumed that dyslexia had a universal biological origin, whatever language a person was reading. But being dyslexic in Chinese is not the same as being dyslexic in English, according to Wai Ting Siok of Hong Kong University. Her team’s MRI studies showed that dyslexia among users of alphabetic scripts such as English and of logographic ones such as Chinese was associated with different parts of the brain, just as different parts of the brain were involved in reading the two types of language. Chinese reading uses more of a frontal part of the left hemisphere of the brain (called the left middle frontal region), whereas reading languages with an alphabet uses a posterior part of the brain (the left temporoparietal region).
Learning to read a language with an alphabet requires learning to sound out words; the visual form maps on to the sound of the word. Chinese, by contrast, maps the graphic form, the character, on to the meaning. The phonetic sound of the character does not necessarily correspond to the form of it. Reading English requires sounding out words segment by segment. The letter-sound conversion does not apply in Chinese.
“The fact that Chinese and Western dyslexics show brain abnormalities in different brain regions suggests that dyslexia may even be two different brain disorders in the two streams of culture,” Ms Siok writes. One lesson from her study, she adds, is that a dyslexic Chinese reader may not suffer the same problem with an alphabetic language. The reverse is also true: some non-Chinese dyslexics can also master Chinese script more easily than the alphabet.
:: Foto: Mit eget