Reading in Spanish and Italian: Effects of age of acquisition in transparent orthographies?

Despite the similar transparency of their orthographies, reading in Italian has been found to be affected by frequency but not age of acquisition (AoA) [Barca, L., Burani, C., & Arduino, L. S. (2002). Word naming times and psycholinguistic norms for Italian nouns. Behaviour Research Methods, Instruments and Computers, 34, 424-434] while reading in Spanish is affected by AoA but not frequency [Cuetos, F., & Barbon, A. (2006). Word naming in Spanish. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 18, 415-436]. We examined this cross-linguistic difference, firstly, through a reanalysis of the Italian and Spanish reading latencies. After eliminating several between-experiment differences, we replicated the AoA effect in Spanish but not in Italian and the frequency effect in Italian but not in Spanish. The cross-linguistic comparison could not equate stimulus imageability; therefore, secondly, we compared the Italian reading latencies with new Spanish reading latencies for imageabilitymatched words. We found frequency effects but neither an AoA effect nor a language by AoA interaction. We argue that the previously reported cross-linguistic difference in the AoA effect resulted from a between-study difference in stimulus imageability. More imageable words induced more semantic involvement in reading, yielding an AoA effect in Spanish.

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Davies, Rob
Wilson, Maximiliano
Cuetos, Fernando
Burani, Cristina
Psychology Press,, [Hove] , Regno Unito
The quarterly journal of experimental psychology (2006. Print) 67 (2014): 1808–1825. doi:10.1080/17470218.2013.872155
info:cnr-pdr/source/autori:Davies, Rob; Wilson, Maximiliano; Cuetos, Fernando; Burani, Cristina/titolo:Reading in Spanish and Italian: Effects of age of acquisition in transparent orthographies?/doi:10.1080/17470218.2013.872155/rivista:The quarterly journ
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