Doubling up: The influence of native and foreign language cues in foreign language double consonant spelling


  • Marco Van de Ven Radboud university
  • Abe D. Hofman University of Amsterdam
  • Elise De Bree University of Amsterdam
  • Eliane Segers Radboud University
  • Ludo Verhoeven Radboud University
  • Han L.J. Van der Maas University of Amsterdam



spelling, double letters, phonology, morphology, second language, spelling models


In this study, we investigated which spelling cues are used in word-medial consonant spelling by learners of English as a Foreign Language (EFL). Previous research has shown that native speakers of English rely on different cues to decide whether a single (“diner”) or double consonant (“dinner”) needs to be used in word-medial consonant spelling. These cues include phonology, orthography, morphology and lexical frequency. We investigated whether these cues play a similar role in Dutch spellers who are EFL learners, next to similarity of the English target to Dutch. We analyzed dictation task data that was part of an unsupervised digital learning environment for EFL learning. The error analyses revealed that novice EFL spellers mainly used phonological and cross-linguistic cues in consonant doubling. In contrast, more proficient spellers relied less on phonological cues, and relied on morphological cues instead. The EFL spellers did not rely on orthographic cues. Furthermore, spelling difficulty was influenced by the frequency of a word and its similarity with the native-language equivalent, in terms of cognate status (non-cognate/cognate) and consonant doubling. Together, our findings indicate that a higher number of converging cues facilitates spelling for EFL spellers and that their reliance on cues changes as spelling proficiency increases.


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How to Cite

Van de Ven, M., Hofman, A. D., De Bree, E. ., Segers, E. ., Verhoeven, L., & Van der Maas, H. L. (2022). Doubling up: The influence of native and foreign language cues in foreign language double consonant spelling. Journal of Writing Research, 14(2), 141–183.