Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 46, Issue 5, pp 1101–1118 | Cite as

L2 Word Recognition: Influence of L1 Orthography on Multi-syllabic Word Recognition

  • Megumi HamadaEmail author


L2 reading research suggests that L1 orthographic experience influences L2 word recognition. Nevertheless, the findings on multi-syllabic words in English are still limited despite the fact that a vast majority of words are multi-syllabic. The study investigated whether L1 orthography influences the recognition of multi-syllabic words, focusing on the position of an embedded word. The participants were Arabic ESL learners, Chinese ESL learners, and native speakers of English. The task was a word search task, in which the participants identified a target word embedded in a pseudoword at the initial, middle, or final position. The search accuracy and speed indicated that all groups showed a strong preference for the initial position. The accuracy data further indicated group differences. The Arabic group showed higher accuracy in the final than middle, while the Chinese group showed the opposite and the native speakers showed no difference between the two positions. The findings suggest that L2 multi-syllabic word recognition involves unique processes.


L2 word recognition Orthography Chinese Arabic ESL Vocabulary Letter search 



I thank Mary Theresa Seig and Christine Ellsworth for their assistance with participant recruitment, Phuong Minh Tran and Alicia Miller for their assistance with data coding, and James Jones for his assistance with statistical analysis.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Human Participants

This study involves human participants. All procedures performed in studies involving the human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.English DepartmentBall State UniversityMuncieUSA

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