The role of vowels in reading: A review of studies of English and Hebrew

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In focusing on English and Hebrew writing systems, I suggest that writing systems could function without vowels, but once introduced the vowels are useful for (a) disambiguating homophones and homographs, (b) marking the pronunciation of other phonemes that may be pronounced in various manners, (c) facilitating the parsing of sublexical elements, and (d) signifying phonological information. Relating the studies reviewed to a new approach in word-recognition research, I argue that the role of vowels is additive (sometimes complementary, sometimes redundant) to the roles of other cues facilitating word recognition. The decoding of unvoweled words does not necessarily exclude phonological processing, and the decoding of voweled words may benefit from lexical input. I also suggest that the viability of reading unvoweled print is restricted by the features of word morphology.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)52-67
    Number of pages16
    JournalPsychological Bulletin
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 1993

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Psychology


    Dive into the research topics of 'The role of vowels in reading: A review of studies of English and Hebrew'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this