Hebrew Orthography and Dyslexia — A Note

  • Loraine K. Obler
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (ASID, volume 52)


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).


Dyslexic Child Phonological Decode Western Language Orthographic Form Orthographic Feature 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Loraine K. Obler
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Program in Speech and Hearing SciencesCUNY Graduate SchoolUSA
  2. 2.Aphasia Research CenterBoston VA Medical Center and Boston University School of MedicineUSA

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