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Allophonic mode of speech perception in dyslexia

Perceptual discrimination between speech sounds belonging to different phoneme categories is better than that between sounds falling within the same category. This property, known as "categorical perception," is weaker in children affected by dyslexia. Categorical perception develops from the predispositions of newborns for discriminating all potential phoneme categories in the world's languages. Predispositions that are not relevant for phoneme perception in the ambient language are usually deactivated during early childhood. However, the current study shows that dyslexic children maintain a higher sensitivity to phonemic distinctions irrelevant in their linguistic environment. This suggests that dyslexic children use an allophonic mode of speech perception that, although without straightforward consequences for oral communication, has obvious implications for the acquisition of alphabetic writing. Allophonic perception specifically affects the mapping between graphemes and phonemes, contrary to other manifestations of dyslexia, and may be a core deficit. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)



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