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The role of morphology in word naming in Spanish-speaking children



The role of morphology in word recognition during reading acquisition in transparent orthographies is a subject that has received little attention. The goal of this study is to examine the variables affecting the fluency and accuracy for morphologically complex word reading across grade levels in Spanish. We conducted two word-naming experiments in which morphological complexity and word frequency were factorially manipulated. Experiment 1 was a cross-sectional study with 2nd-, 4th- and 6th-grade children as participants. In Experiment 2, a longitudinal study, a sample of the children in 2nd and 4th grades in Experiment 1 were retested with the same stimuli 2 years later in order to explore the evolution of morphology and frequency effects. Analyses of reading latencies and accuracy in both experiments showed that grade and frequency affected both reading fluency and accuracy. Morphology only affected fluency, irrespective of grade. In accordance with previous literature in Italian, we conclude that when learning to read in transparent orthographies, morphology mostly benefits reading fluency since accurate pronunciation can be achieved through grapheme-to-phoneme conversion rules.

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Corresponding author

ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE María Josefina D'Alessio, Instituto de Lingüística, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Universidad de Buenos Aires, 25 de Mayo 217, 1st floor (C1002ABE) Buenos Aires, Argentina. E-mail:


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The role of morphology in word naming in Spanish-speaking children



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