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Sensitivity to Sonority for Print Processing in Normal Readers and Dyslexic Children





We investigated sonority effects on letters cohesion and possible implicit segmentation for printed CVCCVs in French. Adult readers, dyslexic children and control children had to recall the color of target letters in briefly presented two-coloured pseudowords. The distribution of colours was either compatible or not with the hypothesized underlying CVC.CV structure. Sonority either did or did not obey the phonotactic rule for optimum syllable sequence (higher sonority for the end of the first syllable than for the beginning of the subsequent one). Data showed that CVC.CV repartition was respected by adult readers (and, to a lesser extend, by dyslexic children) if this phonotactic rule was obeyed. Only dyslexic children associated the two consonants as an onset cluster (CV.CCV) if this rule was not obeyed. Therefore, dyslexic children exhibit sensitivity to sonority for implicit syllabification in reading, but the phonotactic rule about syllabic sequence is too strictly applied and CVC syllables with obstruent coda are refused.

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