Thai-specific and general reading processes in developing and skilled Thai readers

Jeesun Kim, Chris Wayne Davis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In a recent review, Share (2008) has argued that current reading research and practice has in large part been shaped by a concentration on English that has confined reading science to a domain that has limited relevance for a universal science of reading. Share’s point is that the investigation of diverse reading systems makes possible both the discovery of properties that are unique to particular languages and of properties that are common to them all. In this chapter, we introduce some properties of the Thai writing system that differ markedly from English. We then review some of our recent experimental findings with both developing and skilled Thai readers and draw out similarities and differences with those found with English readers. We consider findings from tests that range from a short-term priming technique that probes print-to-sound mapping to those examining the metalinguistic skills associated with the awareness of lexical tone. We also consider how the profile of performance for good and poor Thai developing readers on some basic perceptual and language tasks fits with the specific information-processing demands presented by the Thai writing system. In all, we identify patterns of results that are consistent with those found for English (problems in processing print-to-sound connections appear to be a common feature of reading difficulties) and also those results that most likely arise due to the specifics of Thai. We end by considering what these results suggest about the project for understanding unique and universal aspects of the process of reading.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSouth and Southeast Asian Psycholinguistics
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781139084642
ISBN (Print)9781107017764
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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