Publication details [#66739]

Vigário, Marina, Carla Pires, Susana Correia, Márcia Costa and Afonso Cavaco. 2019. Effects of non-native word shapes in the recognition and recall of medicine names. Written Language & Literacy 22 (1) : 95–129.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


Mistakes involving medicine brand names may lead to serious medication errors and even patients’ death. This study tested the effect of medicine brand names shape – native vs. non-native spelling – in two groups of Portuguese speaking subjects: (i) pharmacy clients (older and less educated); (ii) graduate students (younger and more educated). The study run a recognition task and an immediate recall task, testing three groups of names with: (1) non-native graphemes, (2) non-native grapho-/phonotactics, (3) native patterns. Results showed that names with non-native properties, especially non-native graphemes, were recalled significantly worse. Non-native patterns had a null effect in the recognition task, possibly due to a facilitating effect of the odd, non-native feature, compensating for the extra demand imposed by non-native patterns on processing. Less educated, older participants consistently performed significantly worse than more educated, younger subjects across experiments. The results suggest the pertinence of adapting medicine names to the language of target users.