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Assessment of dyslexia in the Urdu language
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 17:06 authored by Sana-e-Zehra Haidry
Urdu is spoken by more than 500 million people around the world but still is an under-researched language. The studies presented in this thesis focus on typical and poor literacy development in Urdu-speaking children during early reading acquisition. In the first study, we developed and validated a series of tests to assess reading and reading-related skills in Urdu, resulting in a test battery to diagnose dyslexia. For an in-depth understanding of the nature of typical and impaired reading processes in Urdu, in next two substudies the dual-route model (DRM) was adopted. In the first substudy we elaborated on the dual orthography of Urdu due to the presence or absence of short vowel markers or diacritics. We 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. We found that both the typical and struggling readers preferred the visual word-recognition route over letter-to-sound conversion. Our 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. We 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. We conclude that the test battery allows for diagnosing and profiling the reading skills and deficits of typically developing and struggling readers in Urdu.