The impact of orthographic connectivity on visual word recognition in Arabic: A cross-sectional study

Asaid Khateb, Manal Khateb-Abdelgani, Haitham Y. Taha, Raphiq Ibrahim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study aimed at assessing the effects of letters' connectivity in Arabic on visual word recognition. For this purpose, reaction times (RTs) and accuracy scores were collected from ninety-third, sixth and ninth grade native Arabic speakers during a lexical decision task, using fully connected (Cw), partially connected (PCw) and nonconnected (NCw) Arabic words and pseudowords. Effects of grade on word recognition (in RTs and accuracy) and word superiority were predicted to occur. Also, in the third grade, recognition of NCw was predicted to be faster and more accurate than recognition of Cw, because in previous studies NCw were assumed to be visually less complex. In sixth and ninth grades, due to the frequent exposure to connected forms, the recognition of Cw was predicted to be as fast as or faster and more accurate than NCw. The findings largely supported the first and the second hypotheses. As for the third graders, a mixed pattern was obtained, suggesting that the participants were probably in a transitional phase. The results from sixth graders clearly showed that NCw yielded the slowest response times and the lowest accuracy scores across connectivity conditions. Finally, for ninth graders, the absence of connectivity effects on the speed of processing was attributed to the use of very frequent and highly automatized words.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1413-1436
Number of pages24
JournalReading and Writing
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Science Foundation (Grant no’ 623/11). We would like to thank Miss Laurie Handelman for her help in English editing.

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This research was supported by the Edmond J. Safra Brain Research Center in the context of the post-doctoral work of H. Taha, and of the MA thesis of M. K-A., and by the Israeli National


  • Arabic language
  • Letter connectivity
  • Lexical decision
  • Orthography
  • Reading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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