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Phonemes, words, and phrases: Tracking phonological processing in pre-schoolers developing dyslexia

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Schaadt,  Gesa
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Männel,  Claudia
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Schaadt, G., & Männel, C. (2019). Phonemes, words, and phrases: Tracking phonological processing in pre-schoolers developing dyslexia. Clinical Neurophysiology, 130(8), 1329-1341. doi:10.1016/j.clinph.2019.05.018.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-C281-F
Abstract
Objectives Individuals with dyslexia often suffer from deficient segmental phonology, but the status of suprasegmental phonology (prosody) is still discussed. Methods In three passive-listening event-related brain potential (ERP) studies, we examined prosodic processing in literacy-impaired children for various prosodic units by contrasting the processing of word-level and phrase-level prosody, alongside segmental phonology. We retrospectively analysed school children’s ERPs at preschool age for discrimination of vowel length (phoneme processing), discrimination of stress pattern (word-level prosody), and processing of prosodic boundaries (phrase-level prosody). Results We found differences between pre-schoolers with and without later literacy difficulties for phoneme and stress pattern discrimination, but not for prosodic boundary perception. Conclusion Our findings complement the picture of phonological processing in dyslexia by confirming difficulties in segmental phonology and showing that prosodic processing is affected for the smaller word level, but not the larger phrase level. Significance These findings might have implications for early interventions, considering both phonemic awareness and stress pattern training.