How do we learn print-to-speech correspondences?

Converting orthography to phonology is an important part of the reading process. Using the knowledge of the correspondences between letters or letter clusters and their pronunciations allows children (and adults) to read aloud words that they have never seen in the written form before. In order to understand how children learn to read, and how the learning process may be impaired in developmental dyslexia, it is important to understand how exactly we translate print to speech.

Ongoing projects

Complexity and unpredictability in artificial orthography learning

How do the characteristics of the orthography affect a child's efficiency in learning to read? We have argued that, on a linguistic level, orthographic depth can be dissociated into two underlying constructs: GPC complexity and the predictability of words based on the GPC rules. Now it is an empirical question whether these two constructs have different effects on the learnability of an orthographic system.


I have presented the results from a pilot study at the SSSR conference in 2016 in Porto, slides here.

The acquisition of different kinds of print-to-sound rules

In a previous paper, we described a way to quantify the degree to which participants rely on different types of sublexical correspondences in German and in English, using a nonword reading aloud paradigm and an optimisation procedure based on statistical predictions and the participants' responses (Schmalz et al., 2014). Now, the question is whether we can apply the same procedure to children.


I have presented some data as a poster at SSSR 2014 in Santa Fe and at ESCOP 2013 (here), and Eva Marinus presented some other data at SSSR 2017 in Halifax (slides here).