The role of orthographic syllable structure in assigning letters to their position in visual word recognition

Marcus Taft*, Lidija Krebs-Lazendic

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The way in which letters are assigned their position when recognizing a visually presented word was examined in three experiments using nonwords created by transposing the two medial consonants of a bisyllabic baseword (e.g., nakpin, semron). The difficulty in responding to such " TL" nonwords in a lexical decision task was shown to be lower when the medial consonants of the baseword formed a complex coda (e.g., the rm of sermon) than when they comprised a separate coda and onset (e.g., the p and k of napkin). The same result was shown in false positive responses to nonwords when their visibility was degraded through masking. In addition, these TL effects were just as strong for nonwords like nakpin as they were for nonwords whose medial consonants formed a complex coda like warlus, but whose baseword was syllabified between those consonants (e.g., the l and r of walrus). Such findings are a challenge for most current models of letter position assignment. Instead, they can be explained by an account where bisyllabic words are stored in lexical memory with a structure that maximizes the coda of the first syllable and where medial consonants are tried out in all viable subsyllabic slots.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-97
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Memory and Language
Volume68
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes

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