Mapping phonological information from auditory to written modality during foreign vocabulary learning

Margarita Kaushanskaya*, Viorica Marian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

8 Scopus citations


Learning to read in a foreign language often entails recognizing the printed form of words learned by sound. In the current study, the ability to map novel phonological information from the auditory modality onto the written modality was examined at different levels of overlap between the native language and an artificially constructed foreign language. In this study, monolingual English-speaking adults learned novel foreign words in the auditory modality. Recognition testing was first conducted in the auditory modality and then in the written modality. Participants who learned foreign words that matched English phonology showed similar accuracy rates when tested in either modality. Participants who learned foreign words that mismatched English phonology showed decreased recognition accuracy when tested in the written modality. Results indicate that cross-linguistic matching in phonology facilitated mapping of phonological information to the written modality. In addition, at different levels of cross-linguistic overlap, specific cognitive skills were found to correlate with the ability to map phonological information across modalities. This finding suggests that the cognitive skills required for acquisition of a foreign language may vary depending upon degree of cross-linguistic similarity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLearning, Skill Acquisition, Reading, and Dyslexia
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Inc.
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9781573317023
StatePublished - Dec 2008

Publication series

NameAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
ISSN (Print)0077-8923
ISSN (Electronic)1749-6632


  • Cross-linguistic overlap
  • Foreign vocabulary learning
  • Orthography
  • Phonology
  • Reading acquisition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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