Developmental dyslexia in an orthography of intermediate depth: the case of European Portuguese

Abstract

Fifteen Portuguese children with dyslexia, aged 9–11 years, were compared with reading and chronological age controls with respect to five indicators related to the phonological deficit hypothesis: the effects of lexicality, regularity, and length, implicit and explicit phonological awareness, and rapid naming. The comparison between groups indicates that Portuguese children with dyslexia have a phonological impairment which is revealed by a developmental deficit in implicit phonological awareness and irregular word reading (where younger reading level controls performed better than dyslexics) and by a developmental delay in decoding ability and explicit phonological awareness (where dyslexics matched reading level controls). These results are discussed in relation to the idea that European Portuguese is written in an orthography of intermediate depth.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Sylvia Defior, Jacqueline Leybaert, and Francisca Serrano for enlightening discussions, and two anonymous reviewers for their comments on earlier versions of the manuscript. This study was supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology through a grant to the Language Group of the Center for Psychology at the University of Porto and a doctoral fellowship to Ana Sucena.

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Correspondence to São Luís Castro.

Appendix

Appendix

Stimuli for common unit identification (Panel A) and same/different judgement (Panel B)

Syllable type # Common Syllable Common Phoneme Common Rime
Panel Aa
CV 1 vinda vinco baba beco b fuga lume u
CV 2 rude rumo ru caco cola k lama cano α
CV 3 povo poça po dedo dica d mito vira i
CV 4 lo ra pe fera figo f toga colo ó
CVC 5 balça balde bal mosca março m silva filme il
CVC 6 cisco cisne siě perna polvo p bolso polpa ol
CVC 7 larva largo lar relva risco r bosque costa þě
CVC 8 melga melro mɛl sarda silvo s curva furto ur
Training pairs
CV   bago bala ba casa colo k cave dado a
CV   dona dote gato gula g fome gola þ
CVC   burgo burla bur caldo curva k marca pardo ar
Panel Bb
CV 1 tosse vaso   peru bica   baba giro  
CV 2 depor final   sofá bebé   golo mata  
CV 3 gelo vaca   bolor legal   papa ruço  
CV 4 vento bala   doce fava   sala tinto  
CVC 5 xisto belga   melga pisco   bispo cerca  
CVC 6 barco culpa   porco relva   cesto farda  
CVC 7 testa vulto   rosto salsa   festa março  
CVC 8 filme larva   selva tarde   lesma bolso  
Training pairs
CV   laca mimo   fera gomo   chefe barro  
CV   mola pico   guita judo   cola dente  
CVC   surdo vespa   melro parque   guelra largo  
  1. In each task, three linguistic units are tested: Syllable, Phoneme and Rime
  2. aThere are eight word pairs per condition, plus three for training
  3. bStimuli are the same as in Panel A for pairs that share one segment in the first syllable (same condition), plus the 8 pairs presented here for pairs that have no common unit (different condition)

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Sucena, A., Castro, S.L. & Seymour, P. Developmental dyslexia in an orthography of intermediate depth: the case of European Portuguese. Read Writ 22, 791–810 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11145-008-9156-4

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Keywords

  • Developmental dyslexia
  • Portuguese
  • Phonological deficit