Statistical analysis of the bidirectional inconsistency of spelling and sound in French

Johannes C. Ziegler, Arthur M. Jacobs, Greg Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

192 Scopus citations


Recent studies suggest that performance attendant on visual word perception is affected not only by the "traditional" feedforward inconsistency (spelling → phonology) but also by its feedback inconsistency (phonology → spelling). The present study presents a statistical analysis of the bidirectional inconsistency for all French monosyllabic words. We show that French is relatively consistent from spelling to phonology but highly inconsistent from phonology to spelling. Appendixes B and C list prior and conditional probabilities for all inconsistent mappings and thus provide a valuable tool for controlling, selecting, and constructing stimulus materials for psycholinguistic and neuropsychological research. Such large-scale statistical analyses about a language's structure are crucial for developing metrics of inconsistency, generating hypotheses for cross-linguistic research, and building computational models of reading.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)504-515
Number of pages12
JournalBehavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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