Processing syntactic functions of words in normal and dyslexic readers

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Abstract

Readers with dyslexia were compared with normal readers for the ability to identify the grammatical function of words in the course of sentence processing by means of electrophysiological measures along with behavior measures. Participants were 18 dyslexic and 18 normally reading, native Hebrew-speaking male university students, aged 18 to 27 years. Obtained results confirmed the hypothesis (Leikin & Breznitz, 1999) that Hebrew readers used lexical-morphological properties of words to identify their grammatical roles. However, the morphologically based strategy acquired full expression only in the presence of the verb, which in the Hebrew sentence fulfills the central role. Seemingly, readers use a few different procedures to identify the grammatical roles of words. Selection of a particular strategy seems to be influenced by diverse factors, including syntactic and lexical-morphological characteristics of the stimuli and level of reading skills. In addition, the results showed significant differences in sentence processing between normal and dyslexic readers, as reflected by ERP measures. These results are in line, with the hypothesis, suggesting the existence of a syntactic processing "weakness" in readers with dyslexia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-163
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Psycholinguistic Research
Volume31
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002

Keywords

  • Adults
  • Brain activity
  • Dyslexia
  • Event-related potentials (ERP)
  • Hebrew
  • Syntactic processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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