PhD Study conducted with collaboration of CDP-HF
Assessment of Dyslexia in the Urdu Language
Urdu is spoken by more than 500 million people around the world but still is an under researched language. My research focused on typical and poor literacy development in Urdu-speaking children during early reading acquisition. In the first study, I developed and validated a series of tests to assess reading and reading-related skills in Urdu. Findings of my study showed that the test battery allows for assessing and profiling the reading skills and deficits of typically developing and struggling readers in Urdu. For an in-depth understanding of the nature of typical and impaired reading processes in Urdu, in next two sub-studies the dual route model (DRM) was adopted.
In the first sub-study I elaborated on the dual orthography of Urdu due to the presence or absence of short vowel markers or diacritics. I investigated this transparency effect as well as lexicality effects in terms of the DRM by measuring accuracy and speed of reading of (a) words with and without diacritics and (b) words and pseudowords. I found that both the typical and struggling readers preferred the visual word-recognition route over letter-to-sound conversion.
My final study addressed the letter-position effect resulting from the fact that in the Urdu orthography many letters change shape according to their position in a word. I found reading accuracy to be higher for words in which migrated letters changed shape as compared to same-shape cognates. This was again true for both the typical and the struggling readers but more so for the latter group.
Prof. B.A.M. (Ben) Maassen (University of Groningen, Netherlands)
Prof. Anne Castles (Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia)
Dr. Wim Tops (University of Groningen, Netherlands)
Internship Supervisor: Dr. Carol Moxam, Director Literacy Clinic (Newcastle University, United Kingdom)
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