Word reading partly depends on the activation of sublexical letter clusters. Previous research has studied which types of letter clusters have psychological saliency, but less is known about cognitive mechanisms of letter string parsing. Here, we take advantage of the high degree of context-dependency of the Russian orthography to examine whether consonant–vowel (CV) clusters are treated as units in two stages of sublexical processing. In two experiments using a nonword reading task, we use two orthogonal manipulations: (a) insertion of a visual disruptor (#) to assess whether CV clusters are kept intact during the early visual parsing stage, and (b) presence of context-dependent grapheme–phoneme correspondences (GPCs; e.g., л[а] → /l/; л[я] → /lj/), to assess whether CV clusters remain intact or are split during the print-to-speech conversion stage. The results suggest that although CV clusters are initially processed as perceptual units in the early visual parsing stage, letters and not CV clusters drive print-to-speech conversion.
- sublexical processing