Phonological and semantic factors in the object-naming errors of skilled and less-skilled readers.

Annals of dyslexia

PubMedID: 24234272

Katz RB. Phonological and semantic factors in the object-naming errors of skilled and less-skilled readers. Ann Dyslexia. 1996;46(1):187-208.
Children who read poorly have difficulty naming objects, and their errors usually bear a semantic or a phonetic resemblance to the correct words. Excessive semantic and phonetic naming errors could both be due to underlying phonological deficiencies in poor readers. When children cannot name an object because its name is not represented well in long-term memory or cannot be processed well, semantic information as well as partially available phonological information may be used in selecting an alternative response. This hypothesis was tested by looking for the joint influence of semantics and phonology in the naming errors of third-grade children. The same children were asked to name a set of pictured objects, repeat the object names after being spoken by the examiner, and recognize the objects from their spoken names. A separate group of children produced associative responses to the same pictures. First, it was found that, compared with skilled readers, less-skilled readers who named objects without any time pressure had a deficit that could not be attributed to repetition difficulty or limited vocabulary. Second, the naming errors showed a semantic relationship to the correct words that was as strong as that of the associative responses. Third, the naming errors also showed a phonetic relationship to the correct words, whereas the associative responses did not. Finding a joint semantic and phonetic effect in the naming errors of children suggests that the errors may be attributable to phonological deficiencies.