Monday, July 21, 2008

Share (2008) in Psychological Bulletin

David Share has written a wonderful article entitled On the Anglocentricities of Current Reading Research and Practice: The Perils of Overreliance on an "Outlier" Orthography. The title says it all.

One issue that Share addresses is how we should conceive of multiple processing routes in reading. The standard division is on the lexical/sub-lexical dimension. He suggests that the important distinction is the learned/novel dimension (fluent/non-fluent). However, I would suggest that there really are two different processing routes (ventral, dorsal) and the proper distinction is the nature of visual/orthographic analysis. The high-level ventral orthographic representation (open-bigrams) is parasitic upon parts-based object recognition, and does not encode phonological information. The high-level dorsal orthographic representation is parasitic upon speechreading and encodes graphosyllablic information (i.e., letters grouped into onsets, vowels and codas). Both routes encode lexical information (i.e. there are connections from open-bigrams to lexical items, and connections from graphosyllables to lexical items), and both routes are activated by all letter strings.

Share stresses the importance of understanding how fluency arises. I would suggest that in order to do this, we must understand the nature of orthographic processing in exquisite detail; if orthographic processing qualitatively differs from normal, I think that fluency is not possible.

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