Hebrew Orthography and Dyslexia — A Note
Three features of Hebrew distinguish it markedly from the Western languages. Two are strictly orthographic: the right-to-left direction of script that influences eye-scan direction, and the relative absence of vowels in most materials read by modern Hebrew readers. As with Arabic, it is possible to consistently omit most vowels in writing because they are predictable via morphosyntactic rules in conjunction with semantic/syntactic context. That point leads us to the third distinctive feature involved in Hebrew reading, which is not a strictly orthographic feature. Vowel patterns are predictable in Semitic words read in context because they serve certain inflectional and semantic functions (Berman, 1978). I will focus on the latter two features of Hebrew orthography; the influences of reading-scan direction on brain-organization for language are discussed in Obler (in press).
KeywordsDyslexic Child Phonological Decode Western Language Orthographic Form Orthographic Feature
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Berman, R. (1978) Modem Hebrew structure. Tel Aviv: University Publishing Projects.Google Scholar
- Bolozky, S. (1980) Strategies of modern Hebrew verb function. Hebrew Annual Review, 6, 69–79.Google Scholar
- Halpern, L. (1941) Beitrag zur Restriction der Apasie bei Polyglotten im Hinblick auf das Hebraeische. Schweizer Archiv fur Neurologie und Psychiatrie, 47, 150–154.Google Scholar
- Obler, L. (in press) The Boustrophedal brain: Laterality and dyslexia in bi-directional readers. In K. Hyltenstam and L. K. Obler (Eds.). Bilingualism across the lifespan: Aspects of acquisition, maturity, and loss. Cambridge: University Press.Google Scholar
- Obler, L. K. (1984) Dyslexia in bilinguals. In R. N. Malatesha and H. A. Whitaker (Eds.), Dyslexia: A global issue. The Hague: Nijhoff.Google Scholar
- O’Connor, M. (1983) Writing systems, native speaker analyses, and the earliest stages of Northwest Semitic orthography. In C. L. Meyers and M. O’Connor (Eds.), Essays in honor of David Noel Freedman. Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns.Google Scholar
- Sroka, H., Solsi, and Bornstein, B. (1973) Alexia without agraphia with complete recovery. Confina Neurologica, 35, 167–176.Google Scholar