Children who grow up learning alphabetic languages and who are dyslexic have trouble connecting the letters in a word with their sounds. But Chinese readers face a different challenge: their brains must connect the subtle arrangement of strokes in each character to its sound and meaning, a task more visual and spatial. Now Li Hai Tan of Hong Kong University has discovered that the problem for Chinese dyslexics lies in a different area of the brain than children raised on alphabet soup.
Researchers have understood for several years that impaired reading of alphabetic scripts is associated with reduced activity in the left temporoparietal brain region. This is where the brain converts "graphemes"--written symbols--into phonemes (the sounds of speech), then
This article was originally published with the title Dyslexia by Culture.