The objective of the present study was to examine the contribution of lexical and nonlexical processes to skilled reading and spelling in Persian. Persian is a mixed orthography that allows one to study within one language characteristics typically found in shallow orthographies as well as those found in deeper orthographies. 61 senior high-school students (mean age = 17; 8, SD = 4 months) attending schools in Iran were tested on reading and spelling of words and nonwords. The word stimuli differed in terms of reading transparency (transparent when all phonemes have corresponding letters vs. opaque when short vowels were not marked with a letter) and spelling polygraphy (nonpolygraphic phonemes vs. polygraphic phonemes). The nonwords were transparent and nonpolygraphic. The reading results showed that both transparent and opaque words were read faster than nonwords, and that transparent words were read faster than opaque words. Moreover, both transparent and opaque words were affected by word frequency. These findings suggest that skilled readers of Persian relied on lexical processes to read words. In contrast, the spelling results failed to show a word-advantage effect suggesting that skilled spellers of Persian rely on nonlexical processes to spell words. Moreover, orthographic complexity also affected spelling. Specifically, nonpolygraphic words were spelled faster than polygraphic words for both transparent and opaque words. Taken together, the findings showed that skilled reading and spelling in Persian rely on different underlying processes.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 12, 2008
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