Challenges in Learning Akshara orthographies for Second language Learners

  • Adeetee BhideEmail author
  • Charles Perfetti
Part of the Literacy Studies book series (LITS, volume 17)


Marathi is a language derived from Sanskrit and spoken in the state of Maharashtra, India. In this chapter, we describe Marathi’s orthographic and phonological systems. The script used to write Marathi is Devanagari. Because Devanagari is described in the Hindi chapter (Singh & Sumathi), we focus our description on how it is implemented in Marathi and how this differs from how Devanagari is implemented in Hindi. In addition to describing the orthographic and phonological systems separately, we explain how Marathi’s orthography codes phonology. Written Marathi is generally transparent. However, there are some exceptions including graphs that code multiple phonemes and an inconsistent expression of the schwa vowel. After describing the language and its writing system, we summarize experiments with both native Marathi speakers and second language learners of Marathi. For native speakers, we explain the consequences of inconsistent schwa expression for speakers’ awareness of the vowel. For second language learners, we review experiments comparing different methods for teaching Marathi’s orthographic and phonological systems.


Devanagari Marathi Orthography Phonology Second language acquisition 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Learning Research and Development CenterPittsburghUSA

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