Why do we make dt-errors?

Friday 3 March 2023, 12:30 pm
R.J.P.M. Chamalaun drs.
prof. dr. M.T.C. Ernestus, prof. dr. A.M.T. Bosman
Faculty of Arts

The Dutch verb-spelling system seems a stumbling block for many people. Especially the so-called dt-errors are notorious. This seems odd at first sight. If spellers apply the rules properly, errors do not occur. Yet many errors occur because some highly frequent verb forms have identitical sound but different spellings (for instance word-wordt). This dissertation addresses two questions: 1) why is it so difficult to apply the verb-spelling rules properly? and 2) what is the effect of incorrectly-spelled verb forms during reading? 

This dissertation shows that we rely on our mental lexicon by favoring the most frequent verb form, even if the counterpart is the correct verb form in the sentence. A better understanding of grammar prevents spellers from relying on their mental lexicon too much. This grammatical awareness can be increased by explicitly focusing on the relationship between grammar and spelling during verb-spelling instruction. Preventing verb-spelling errors stops the reading process from being hindered. To sum up, sufficient attention for grammatical analysis during verb-spelling instruction contributes to a better verb spelling and a smoother reading process. 

Robert Chamalaun (Roosendaal en Nispen, 1980) works as a teacher Dutch language and literature at a secondary school. In 2014, he was awarded a teachers’ grant by the Dutch Research Council (NWO). Currently, he works as a teacher at a secondary school and for the programme Pedagogical Sciences of Primary Education (PWPO) at Radboud University. As of 2020, he is chair of the Dutch Association for Teachers in Dutch Language and Literature (Levende Talen Nederlands; LTN).