Literacy advantages beyond reading: Prediction of spoken language

Falk Huettig*, Martin J. Pickering

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

Abstract / Description of output

Literacy has many obvious benefits: it exposes the reader to a wealth of new information and enhances syntactic knowledge. However, we argue that literacy has an additional, often overlooked, benefit: it enhances people's ability to predict spoken language thereby aiding comprehension. Readers are under pressure to process information more quickly than listeners and reading provides excellent conditions – in particular, a stable environment – for training the predictive system. It also leads to increased awareness of words as linguistic units and to more fine-grained phonological and additional orthographic representations, which sharpen lexical representations and facilitate the retrieval of predicted representations. Thus, reading trains core processes and representations involved in language prediction that are common to both reading and listening.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-475
Number of pages12
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number6
Early online date20 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • anticipation
  • language
  • prediction
  • printed text
  • speech


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