How Should I Read This Word?: The Influence of Vowelization in a Deep Language Orthography on Online Text Comprehension

  • Karen Precel
  • Ronit Webman
  • Yoram Eshet
  • Batsheva Engelberg-Behr
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5616)


This study examined whether online text vowelization of words in context facilitates reading in Hebrew, which is a deep orthography language. The study compared the effect of vowelization on reading among native and non-native Hebrew speakers. In Study 1, 44 participants performed a self-paced reading - cumulative presentation task [9], that includes a 2 (voweled/non-voweled) X 2 (frequent/non-frequent) X 2 (homographs/unambiguous words) X 2 (location of words: beginning or middle/end of sentence) design. Study 2 was conducted in order to deal with some of the methodological problems in study 1. Eighty-six participants performed the same task. Results indicated that vowelization does not facilitate reaction times of homographs for both Hebrew and non-Hebrew speakers. The results are discussed in relation to previous studies and the participants’ characteristics.


Target Word Native Speaker Comprehension Question High Frequency Word Experimental Sentence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Abu-Rabia, S.: The role of vowels in reading Semitic scripts: Data from Arabic and Hebrew. Reading and writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal 14, 39–59 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bentin, S., Frost, R.: Processing lexical ambiguity and visual word recognition in a deep orthography. Memory & Cognition 15, 13–23 (1987)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Birnboim, S.L., Share, D.L.: Surface dyslexia in Hebrew: A case study. Cognitive Neuropsychology 12(8), 825–846 (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Frost, R.: Phonological computation and missing vowels: Mapping lexical involvement in reading. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition 21, 398–408 (1995)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Frost, R., Katz, L., Bentin, S.: Strategies for visual word recognition and orthographical depth: A multilingual comparison. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 13, 104–115 (1987)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Gvion, A., Friedmann, N.: Surface dyslexia in a deep-orthography language. In: Presented at The Israeli Association for Literacy 16th SCRIPT conference, Shfayim, Israel (July 2001)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Koriat, A.: Reading without vowels: Lexical access in Hebrew. In: Bouma, H., Bouwhuis, D.G. (eds.) Attention and performance: 10. Control of language processes, pp. 227–242. Erlbaum, Hillsdale (1984)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Koriat, A.: Lexical access for low and high frequency words in Hebrew. Memory & Cognition 13, 37–44 (1985)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Marinis, T.: Psycholinguistic techniques in second language acquisition research. Second Language Research 19(2), 144–161 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Navon, D., Shimron, J.: Does word naming involve grapheme-to-phoneme translation? Evidence from Hebrew, Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior 20, 97–109 (1981)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Shimron, J.: The role of vowels in reading: A review of studies of English and Hebrew. Psychological Bulletin 114(1), 52–67 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Shimron, J.: The role of vowel signs in Hebrew: Beyond word recognition. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal 11, 301–319 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Shimron, J., Navon, D.: The dependence on graphemes and on their translation to phonemes in reading: A developmental perspective. Reading Research Quarterly 17, 210–228 (1982)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Shimron, J., Navon, D.: Source and function of phonological codes in processing written Hebrew: Final report to the U.S.-Israeli Binational Science Foundation. University of Haifa, Haifa (1985)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Shneiderman, B.: Designing the user interface. Strategies for effective human-computer interaction, 3rd edn. Addison-Wesley Longman, MA (1998)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen Precel
    • 1
  • Ronit Webman
    • 2
  • Yoram Eshet
    • 1
  • Batsheva Engelberg-Behr
    • 1
  1. 1.Chais Research Center for the Integration of Technology in EducationThe Open University of IsraelIsrael
  2. 2.The Graduate CenterCity University of New YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations