Beyermann, Sandra (2018). Sound-spelling units in German word identification. A developmental perspective. PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.

Diss_Beyermann_2018.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (1MB)


This dissertation explores the interaction of spoken and written language units in German word identification at different stages of reading proficiency, under consideration of cross-linguistic differences. The first part is based on a visual lexical decision experiment and a corpus study investigating the role of word stress in written word identification. Study 1 compares subjects’ responses to bisyllabic words with dominant vs. subdominant stress pattern. The results show that young readers tended to assign the most frequent stress pattern by default, whereas responses of adult participants did not reflect such a tendency. These observations indicate that word stress is automatically activated, at least in young readers from primary school. Study 2 investigates whether orthographic patterns present in word endings might provide cues to stress patterns in bisyllabic words, and the findings support this view. Considering observations from Study 1 and 2, it is argued that an implicit acquisition of orthographic cues to word stress through reading experience is a typical step in reading development, which is discussed within a recent model on polysyllabic word reading (Perry et al. 2010). The second part of this dissertation focuses on the role of orthographic information in spoken word identification. Study 3, an auditory lexical decision experiment compares subjects' responses to simplex words with sound-to-spelling consistent rimes vs. words with inconsistent rimes. The results show that words with inconsistent rimes were processed more slowly than words with consistent rimes even in young readers, thus indicating that spelling information is automatically activated in spoken word identification, already early in reading acquisition. Assumptions on the impact of spelling knowledge for the quality of lexically stored word representations is discussed, and it is argued that teaching methods should include implicit and explicit orthographic trainings from early on.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Beyermann, Sandras_beyermann@web.deUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-81050
Date: 7 March 2018
Language: English
Faculty: Faculty of Human Sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Human Sciences > Department Heilpädagogik und Rehabilitation
Subjects: Language, Linguistics
Uncontrolled Keywords:
word identification, German, reading development, word stress, sound-spelling consistency, lexical decision, corpus studyEnglish
Date of oral exam: 9 March 2016
NameAcademic Title
Penke, MartinaProf. Dr.
Schabmann, AlfredProf. Dr.
Refereed: Yes


Downloads per month over past year


Actions (login required)

View Item View Item