Orthographic characteristics speed Hindi word naming but slow Urdu naming: evidence from Hindi/Urdu biliterates
Two primed naming experiments tested the orthographic depth hypothesis in skilled biliterate readers of Hindi and Urdu. These languages are very similar on the spoken level but differ greatly in script; Hindi is a highly transparent script, whereas Urdu is more opaque. It was accordingly hypothesized that form-based priming would be greater for Hindi than Urdu, reflecting greater reliance on a phonological assembly route in the more transparent Hindi script. Proficient Hindi/Urdu biliterate readers were presented with primes either in Hindi or Urdu script (Exp. 1), or in Roman transcription (Exp. 2), while targets were always in blocks of Hindi or Urdu. Across both experiments, form-based priming was observed only in Hindi. Additionally, target words were named significantly faster and better in Hindi than in Urdu. The results are taken as support for the hypothesis of differential reliance on phonological assembly as a function of script transparency. Further, the greater graphemic complexity of Urdu script relative to Hindi appears to have contributed to slower and less accurate overall single word reading for Urdu than Hindi, despite the fact that Urdu was the first learned script.
KeywordsForm priming Graphemic complexity Hindi Orthographic depth Phonological assembly Urdu
- Bentin, S., & Feldman, L. B. (1990). The contribution of morphological and semantic relatedness to repetition priming at short and long lags: Evidence from Hebrew. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 42A, 693–711.Google Scholar
- EMILLE/CIIL. (2004). Corpus of South Asian Languages. European Language Resources Association. Retrieved from http://catalog.elra.info/product_info.php?products_id=696.
- Ferrand, L., & Grainger, J. (1993). The time course of orthographic and phonological activation in the early phases of visual word recognition. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 31, 119–122.Google Scholar
- Ferrand, L., & Grainger, J. (1994). Effects of orthography are independent of phonology in masked form priming. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 47A, 365–382.Google Scholar
- Ibrahim, R., & Aharon-Peretz, J. (2005). Is literary Arabic a second language for native Arab speakers?: Evidence from semantic priming study. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 34, 51–70.Google Scholar
- Kelkar, A. (1968). Studies in Hindi–Urdu I: Introduction and word phonology. Poona: Deccan College.Google Scholar
- Mirdehghan, M. (2010). Persian, Urdu, and Pashto: A comparative orthographic analysis. Writing Systems Research, 2(1) (in press).Google Scholar
- Rao, C. (2010). Morphology in word recognition: Hindi and Urdu. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Department of Psychology, Texas A&M University.Google Scholar
- Roman, G., & Pavard, B. (1987). A comparative study: How we read Arabic and French. In J. K. O’Regan & A. Levy-Schoen (Eds.), Eye movements: From physiology to cognition (pp. 431–440). Amsterdam: North Holland Elsevier.Google Scholar
- Vaid, J., Rao, C., & Chen, H.-C. (2010). The role of script: Word recognition in Hindi vs. Urdu. Unpublished manuscript, Texas A&M University.Google Scholar