The impact of orthographic consistency on dyslexia: A German-English comparison

Karin Landerl*, Heinz Wimmer, Uta Frith

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    453 Citations (Scopus)


    We examined reading and phonological processing abilities in English and German dyslexic children, each compared with two control groups matched for reading level (8 years) and age (10-12 years). We hypothesised that the same underlying phonological processing deficit would exist in both language groups, but that there would be differences in the severity of written language impairments, due to differences in orthographic consistency. We also hypothesized that systematic differences due to orthographic consistency should be found equally for normal and dyslexic readers. All cross-language comparisons were based on a set of stimuli matched for meaning, pronunciation and spelling. The results supported both hypotheses: On a task challenging phonological processing skills (spoonerisms) both English and German dyslexics were significantly impaired compared to their age and reading age controls. However, there were extremely large differences in reading performance when English and German dyslexic children were compared. The evidence for systematic differences in reading performance due to differences in orthographic consistency was similar for normal and for dyslexic children, with English showing marked adverse effect on acquisition of reading skills.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)315-334
    Number of pages20
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 1997


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