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Front Psychol. 2013 Nov 28;4:862. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00862. eCollection 2013.

Lexical neighborhood effects in pseudoword spelling.

Author information

  • 1School of Psychology, Bangor University Bangor, Gwynedd, UK.
  • 2Laboratoire de Psychologie et NeuroCognition, CNRS UMR 5105, University of Grenoble France.
  • 3Cognitive Science Department, Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MA, USA.

Abstract

The general aim of this study is to contribute to a better understanding of the cognitive processes that underpin skilled adult spelling. More specifically, it investigates the influence of lexical neighbors on pseudo-word spelling with the goal of providing a more detailed account of the interaction between lexical and sublexical sources of knowledge in spelling. In prior research examining this topic, adult participants typically heard lists composed of both words and pseudo-words and had to make a lexical decision to each stimulus before writing the pseudo-words. However, these priming paradigms are susceptible to strategic influence and may therefore not give a clear picture of the processes normally engaged in spelling unfamiliar words. In our two Experiments involving 71 French-speaking literate adults, only pseudo-words were presented which participants were simply requested to write to dictation using the first spelling that came to mind. Unbeknownst to participants, pseudo-words varied according to whether they did or did not have a phonological word neighbor. Results revealed that low-probability phoneme/grapheme mappings (e.g., /o/ -> aud in French) were used significantly more often in spelling pseudo-words with a close phonological lexical neighbor with that spelling (e.g., /krepo/ derived from "crapaud," /krapo/) than in spelling pseudo-words with no close neighbors (e.g., /frøpo/). In addition, the strength of this lexical influence increased with the lexical frequency of the word neighbors as well as with their degree of phonetic overlap with the pseudo-word targets. These results indicate that information from lexical and sublexical processes is integrated in the course of spelling, and a specific theoretical account as to how such integration may occur is introduced.

KEYWORDS:

literacy; neighborhood activation; pseudoword spelling; skilled spelling; spelling models

PMID:
24348436
[PubMed]
PMCID:
PMC3842689
Free PMC Article
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