Tracking the Transition from Sublexical to Lexical Processing in Reading Aloud: On the Creation of Orthographic and Phonological Lexical Representations
Maloney, Erin Anne
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Participants read aloud a set of nonword letter strings, one at a time that varied in the number of letters. The standard result was observed in two experiments; the time to begin reading aloud increased as letter length increases. This result is standardly understood as reflecting the operation of a serial, left to right translation of graphemes into phonemes. The novel result is that the effect of letter length is statistically eliminated for nonwords that have been repeated a small number of times. This elimination suggests that these nonwords are no longer always being read aloud via a serial left to right sublexical process. Instead, the data are taken as evidence that new orthographic and phonological lexical entries have been created for these nonwords, and that they are now read at least sometimes by recourse to the lexical route. Experiment 2 replicates the interaction between nonword letter length and repetition observed in Experiment 1 and also demonstrates that this interaction is not seen when subjects merely classify the string as appearing in upper or lower case. Implications for existing dual route models of reading aloud and Share’s self-teaching hypothesis are discussed.