The interaction of lexical and sublexical information in spelling: What's the point?

Jocelyn R. Folk, Brenda Rapp, Matthew Goldrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Most theories of spelling propose two major processes for translating between orthography and phonology: a lexical process for retrieving the spellings of familiar words and a sublexical process for assembling the spellings of unfamiliar letter strings based on knowledge of the systematic correspondences between phonemes and graphemes. We investigated how the lexical and sublexical processes function and interact in spelling by selectively interfering with the sublexical process in a dysgraphic individual. By comparing spelling performance under normal conditions and under conditions of sublexical disruption we were able to gain insight into the functioning and the unique contributions of the sublexical process. The results support the hypothesis that the sublexical process serves to strengthen a target word and provide it with a competitive advantage over orthographically and phonologically similar word neighhours that are in competition with the target for selection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)653-671
Number of pages19
JournalCognitive neuropsychology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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