When ciarli ciaplin drives a pejio' in Itali: Writing loan words in a shallow language

Francesca Meneghello, Cinzia Finco, Gianfranco Denes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With increasing frequency the lexicon of every language incorporates words taken from other languages (loan words) that become of common use, but whose orthography does not necessarily conform to the rules of the native language. This is particularly true for languages like Italian, where most words can be correctly written by the application of a sublexical phonology-to-orthography conversion procedure. Here we report the case of a neurologically unimpaired, highly educated Italian person, with a specific deficit in writing loan words. The aim of the study is to clarify the nature of her dysgraphic impairment, if linked to a semantic deficit, or alternatively reflecting an acquisition deficit, present both in the phonological and orthographic output lexicons, or specific only for the orthographic lexicon. A qualitative analysis of her errors and a comparison with the performance of a group of age and education matched subjects showed that her error pattern was not an amplification of the task difficulty effect observed in the control subjects, but rather an expression of an impairment in acquiring specific writing procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)926-933
Number of pages8
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Developmental dysgraphia
  • Lexical agraphia
  • Surface dysgraphia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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