Online activation of L1 Danish orthography enhances spoken word recognition of Swedish

Anja Schüppert, Johannes C. Ziegler, Holger Juul, Charlotte Gooskens

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Abstract

It has been reported that speakers of Danish understand more Swedish than vice versa. One reason for this asymmetry might be that spoken Swedish is closer to written Danish than vice versa. We hypothesise that literate speakers of Danish use their orthographic knowledge of Danish to decode spoken Swedish. To test this hypothesis, first-language (L1) Danish speakers were confronted with spoken Swedish in a translation task. Event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were elicited to study the online brain responses during decoding operations. Results showed that ERPs to words whose Swedish pronunciation was inconsistent with the Danish spelling were significantly more negative-going than ERPs to words whose Swedish pronunciation was consistent with the Danish spelling between 750 ms and 900 ms after stimulus onset. Together with higher word-recognition scores for consistent items, our data provide strong evidence that online activation of L1 orthography enhances word recognition of spoken Swedish in literate speakers of Danish.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-98
Number of pages19
JournalNordic Journal of Linguistics
Volume45
Issue number1
Early online date5-Jul-2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May-2022

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