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Learning new words through reading: do robust spelling–sound mappings boost learning of word forms and meanings?

Hulme, Rachael C; Shapiro, Laura R; Taylor, JSH; (2022) Learning new words through reading: do robust spelling–sound mappings boost learning of word forms and meanings? Royal Society Open Science , 9 (12) , Article 210555. 10.1098/rsos.210555. Green open access

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Abstract

High-quality lexical representations depend on robust representations of written form (orthography), spoken form (phonology) and meaning (semantics), and strong bonds between them. Quality of lexical representations may be affected by amount of print exposure and the form of individual words. Words that are harder to decode (print-to-sound) may lead to fuzzy representations of the orthographic and phonological forms, potentially creating less stable foundations for semantic knowledge. These factors are difficult to disentangle in natural language research; in this registered report, we experimentally manipulated decoding ease and exposure at the item level. Adults read paragraphs describing invented meanings of pseudowords. Pseudowords appeared two or six times in a paragraph, and had easy (e.g. bamper ) or hard (e.g. uzide ) to decode spelling–sound mappings. Post-tests assessed word-form knowledge, orthography–semantic mappings and semantic–phonology mappings. Results showed that greater decoding ease improved learning of word forms and consequently also impacted on word meanings. Higher exposure frequency improved learning of word forms but not meanings. Exposure frequency also modulated the effect of decoding ease on word-form learning, with a stronger effect of decoding ease for fewer exposures. Disentangling effects of decoding ease from print exposure has important implications for understanding potential barriers to vocabulary learning.

Type: Article
Title: Learning new words through reading: do robust spelling–sound mappings boost learning of word forms and meanings?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rsos.210555
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.210555
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: Reading, vocabulary learning, decoding ease, orthography, semantics
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Language and Cognition
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10161780
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