Not all nonwords are alike: Implications for reading development and theory

Rebecca Treiman, Usha Goswami, Maggie Bruck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Three experiments were designed to examine children's and adults' ability to pronounce consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) nonsense words. Some ofthe nonwords, like tain and goach, shared their VC unit with a number of real words. Other nonwords, like goan and taich, shared their VC unit with few or no real words. Pooling across items, the very same grapheme-phoneme correspondences occurred in the two types of nonwords. First graders, good and poor third grade readers, and adults all performed better on the nonwords with the more common VC units than on the nonwords with the less common VC units. Although readers appeared to use VC units in the pronunciation of nonwords, we did not find evidence for use of initial CV units. Implications of the results for reading development, dyslexia, and models of nonword pronunciation are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-567
Number of pages9
JournalMemory & Cognition
Volume18
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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