Authors: Stephan Kuester-Gruber,Theda Faisst,Vera Schick,Giulia Righetti, Christoph Braun, Angelika Cordey-Henke, Matthias Klosinski, Ching-Chu Sun, Susanne Trauzettel-Klosinski.

Article: Is learning a logographic script easier than reading an alphabetic script for German children with dyslexia?.

Publication: PLoS ONE 18(2): e0282200 2023 | DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0282200

[Full Text]



Developmental dyslexia in alphabetic languages (DD) is characterized by a phonological deficit. Since logographic scripts rely predominantly on visual and morphological processing, reading performance in DD can be assumed to be less impaired when reading logographic scripts.


40 German-speaking children (18 with DD, 22 not reading-impaired—group C; 9–11 years) received Chinese lessons. Eye movements (EM) were recorded during naming single alphabetic words, pictures (confrontational) and Chinese characters to be named in German and Chinese. The main outcome variables were: Articulation latency, numbers and durations of fixations. Quality of life (QoL) was assessed by questionnaires.


While reading alphabetic words, articulation latencies and numbers of fixations were significantly higher for group DD than for group C (AL-DD = 1.13, AL-C = 0.84, p< .001; FN-DD = 3.50; FN-C = 2.00, p< .001). For naming pictures and Chinese characters in German and in Chinese, no significant group differences were found for any of the EM variables. The percentage of correct answers was high for German naming (DD = 86.67%, C = 95.24%; p = .015) and lower for Chinese naming in both groups, but significantly lower in group DD, especially for Chinese naming (DD = 56.67%, C: 83.77%; p = .003). QoL differed between groups from the children’s perspective only at posttest. Parents of group DD perceived their children`s QoL to be lower compared with parents of group C at pre- and post-test.


Children with dyslexia performed as well as group C during naming Chinese characters in German and in Chinese regarding their EM variables, presumably because they processed Chinese characters by the visuo-spatial pathway with direct access to the semantic system. However, the significantly lower percentage of correct answers especially during Chinese naming showed that group DD had more difficulties naming Chinese characters than group C, which could be attributed to their phonological deficit, among other factors.

Tagged as: alphabet, chinese, eye movements, German, letter naming, logographic alphabet, and Rapid automatic naming


Kuester-Gruber S, Faisst T, Schick V, Righetti G, Braun C, Cordey-Henke A, et al. (2023) Is learning a logographic script easier than reading an alphabetic script for German children with dyslexia? PLoS ONE 18(2): e0282200. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0282200

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