Orthographic influences on spoken word recognition in a shallow orthography in native speakers and second language learners

Tuerk, S. 1 & Domahs, U. 1, 2

1 Institute of German Linguistics, Neurolinguistics Group, University of Marburg
2 Center for Mind, Brain and Behavior, CMBB, University of Marburg

The influence of orthography on spoken word recognition has been demonstrated in a variety of different experiments. However, previous research has focused on native speakers of deep orthographies like English, French and Portuguese. Three questions arise: 1) Does the influence of orthographic representations on spoken language processing depend on orthographic depth? 2) Do orthographic representations influence spoken language processing in an L2 in the same way as in the L1? 3) Does this effect depend on the native or the second language writing system?
To investigate these questions, we first replicated Perre, Midgley and Ziegler?s 2009 reaction time and ERP study with German L2-learners of English using the same auditory priming paradigm with three kinds of primes: orthographically and phonologically related (beef-reef), phonologically related (leaf-reef) and not related to the target (sick-reef). We then designed a comparable experiment in German to investigate orthographic influences on spoken language processing in a language with a shallow orthography. We conducted this experiment with German natives, English L2-learners of German, and with German speakers with a history of dyslexia. The latter group enabled us to examine whether dyslexia leads to qualitative distinct integration of orthography into spoken word recognition.