Transcoding of French numbers for first- and second-language learners in third grade

Anne Lafay*, Emmauelle Adrien, Sabrina Di Lonardo Burr, Heather Douglas , Kim Provost-Larocque, Chang Xu, Jo-Anne Lefevre, Erin Maloney, Helena P. Osana, Sheri-Lynn Skwarchuk, Judith Wylie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transcoding is the process of translating between spoken and written numbers, and it is correlated with other mathematical skills. In the present study, we investigated the link between French number writing of 49 students in the third grade (aged 7 to 9 years) and their language skills. Transcoding in French is of particular interest because the spoken number language system does not completely correspond to that of the written digits (e.g., quatre-vingt-dix [four-twenty-ten] and 90). We hypothesized that the complex linguistic structure of spoken numbers in French would be challenging for students who are learning to transcode. First and second French-language learners’ accuracy and errors were recorded during a writing task of 3- to 7-digit numbers. Children also completed linguistic tests (e.g., receptive vocabulary, receptive syntax). Results showed that first- and second-language learners did not differ in their transcoding accuracy. Number size, decade complexity of stimulus number words in French (i.e., numbers containing a complex decade, operationalized as a number between soixante-dix, 70, and quatre-vingt-dix-neuf, 99), and receptive vocabulary predicted children’s French transcoding skills. Students were more likely to produce errors (e.g., 68 or 6018 for 78) when they transcoded complex decade numbers compared to simple decade numbers. When an error was made on the complex decade portion of a number, it was likely a lexical error. In conclusion, third graders, both first- and second-language learners, found complex decade numbers challenging and their performance was related to their general vocabulary skills.
Original languageEnglish
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Early online date27 Apr 2023
Publication statusEarly online date - 27 Apr 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Transcoding of French numbers for first- and second-language learners in third grade'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this