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Language and Learning Group Seminar: "Gepo with a G or Jepo with a J? Generating orthographic representations in the absence of orthography" Mina Jevtović

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Location: Online - email for TEAMS link

Mina Jevtović from The Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language will be giving a talk titled Gepo with a G or Jepo with a J? Generating orthographic representations in the absence of orthography (abstract below).


Research conducted on English-speaking children and adults shows that preliminary orthographic representations (i.e., orthographic skeletons) are generated solely from aural exposure to novel words (Wegener et al., 2018). In this talk I will present two studies that further investigated this account by testing whether skilled readers generate orthographic skeletons for all spoken words they acquire, or do so only when they are certain that these will match the novel words’ actual spellings. To that end, Spanish (transparent orthography) and French (opaque orthography) skilled readers first learned novel words through aural training and were then presented with their spellings in a short self-paced reading task. Importantly, novel words were presented in their unique (i.e., consistent words) or one of the two possible spellings (i.e., preferred and unpreferred inconsistent words). Both Spanish and French participants read consistent and inconsistent words presented in their preferred spellings faster than inconsistent words presented in their unpreferred spellings. These findings thus expand the orthographic skeleton account by showing that initial orthographic representations are generated even when there is uncertainty regarding novel words’ spellings. Moreover, they show that orthographic skeletons are generated across languages that vary in the degree of sound-to-spelling inconsistency. Future research will explore the nature of the orthographic skeleton effect by testing whether preliminary orthographic representations are generated as an automatic response to novel phonological input, or whether generating them represents a strategy employed by participants that facilitates the acquisition of novel spoken words.

Organised by: Marta Wesierska

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