Lázaro, M. 1 , García, L. 1 & Burani, C. 2
1 Universidad de Castilla la Mancha
2 Instituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della Cognizione
The study we present explored how orthographic modifications to the stems of complex words affect morphological processing in young proficient readers and children with reading disorders. We ran two experiments in which we manipulated orthographic alterations to word stems. In the first experiment a go/no-go task was used to assess the morphological Base Frequency (BF) effect. Two kinds of complex words were employed: those where no orthographic alteration occurs when concatenating the affix to the stem (jardín-jardinero; garden-gardener), and those where the final vowel of the stem must be eliminated when concatenating the affix (piano- pianista; piano-pianist). The results showed significant effects for all three main factors (Group, BF and Orthographic alteration) and for the interaction between BF and Orthographic alteration, with the BF effect significant only in the case of words with no orthographic alterations. In the second experiment a definition task was carried out. In this case, the orthographic alteration involved reducing the diphthong of the stem to a single vowel when concatenating the affix (diente-dentista; tooth-dentist). The results showed significant effects for both factors (Group and Orthographic alteration), with all readers performing worse at defining derived words that had undergone an orthographic alteration. Overall results show that all children benefit from the effect of BF, that children with reading disorders perform and score below skilled children, and that morphological processing is affected by the orthographic alterations in both proficient readers and children with reading disorders. The presentation is aimed to present these data and further discuss the role played by the orthographic opacity/transparency of stems in processing complex words by skilled children and children with dyslexia.