The influence of orthographic structure on printed word learning in Arabic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study focuses on the specific question of letter ligatures in reading Arabic in the context of Share's self-teaching framework for printed word learning. The study examined the hypothesis that novel letter strings with connecting letters are harder to decode initially but easier to learn (orthographically) in the long run. As hypothesised, the findings showed that connectedness helps the reader learn the word-specific orthographic forms of individual words: Although post-test reading speeds were no faster for the connected items, spelling was superior. Thus, there is modest support for the view that position-specific letter-forms joined in a single contiguous word-form may promote orthographic learning. Unexpectedly, words with many consonant diacritics were found to slow reading considerably. The psycholinguistic implications of these findings are discussed in light of recent data and models of visual word recognition in Arabic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-213
Number of pages25
JournalWriting Systems Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2013


  • Arabic
  • Decoding
  • Diacritics
  • Letter ligature
  • Orthography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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