The role of assembled phonology in reading comprehension

Veronika Coltheart*, S. E. Avons, Jacqueline Masterson, Veronica J. Laxon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The contribution of assembled phonology to phonological effects in reading comprehension was assessed. In Experiment 1, subjects judged the acceptability of sentences with regular, exception, and nonword homophone substitutions and orthographic controls. Significantly more errors occurred to sentences with regular-word homophones than to exception words, and error rates for nonword homophones were low and not significant. Experiment 2 showed that this was not due to differences in the sentence frames. In Experiment 3, the subjects judged as unacceptable those sentences containing an exception word that sounded correct when read according to spelling-to-sound rules. Significantly higher error rates occurred only for low-frequency exception words. Experiment 4 showed that task conditions affect semantic-categorization error rates for nonword homophones. These results indicate that both assembled and addressed phonology contribute to sentence and word comprehension, but the low error rate for nonwords suggests that an early lexical check may be applied.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-400
Number of pages14
JournalMemory & Cognition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1991


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