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


  • Schüppert Anja
  • Ziegler Johannes C
  • Juul Holger
  • Gooskens Charlotte


  • Spoken word recognition
  • Literacy
  • Event-related potentials
  • Danish
  • Swedish

document type



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.

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