A1 Journal article – refereed
The hyphen as a syllabification cue in reading bisyllabic and multisyllabic words among Finnish 1st and 2nd graders

List of Authors: Häikiö Tuomo, Bertram Raymond, Hyönä Jukka
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
Place: Dordrecht
Publication year: 2016
Journal: Reading and Writing
Journal name in source: READING AND WRITING
Journal acronym: READ WRIT
Volume number: 29
Issue number: 1
Number of pages: 24
ISSN: 0922-4777
eISSN: 1573-0905


Finnish ABC books present words with hyphens inserted at syllable

boundaries. Syllabification by hyphens is abandoned in the 2nd grade for bisyllabic

words, but continues for words with three or more syllables. The current eye

movement study investigated how and to what extent syllable hyphens in bisyllabic

(kah-vi ‘cof-fee’) and multisyllabic words (haa-ruk-ka ‘fork’, ap-pel-sii-ni ‘orange’)

affect eye movement behavior and reading speed of Finnish 1st and 2nd graders.

Experiment 1 showed that 2nd graders had longer gaze durations, needed more

fixations and had longer selective regression path durations for hyphenated than

concatenated words. This implies that hyphenated words were difficult to process

when first encountered, but also hard to integrate with prior sentence context. The

effects were modified by number of syllables and reading skill. That is, the

hyphenation effects were larger for multisyllabic than bisyllabic words and larger

for more than less proficient readers. Experiment 2 showed the same hyphenation

effect for 1st graders reading long multisyllabic words, even with a hyphen that was

smaller in size and hence visually less salient. We argue that syllable hyphens

prevent reasonably proficient readers from using the most efficient processing route

for bi- and multisyllabic words and discuss the possible implications of the results

for early Finnish reading instruction.

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Last updated on 2019-14-06 at 12:26