Eye movement control in reading: Logographic Chinese versus alphabetic scripts

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Abstract

Eye tracking is widely used to study the reading process in different languages. Given the unique properties of written Chinese, it is important to identify the similarities and differences in eye-movement controls between readers of Chinese and alphabetic scripts. In this article, we review the data available for comparison in four domains: (a) the perceptual span, (b) parafoveal processing, (c) the basic encoding unit, and (d) computer modeling. Our review indicates that, while some aspects of eye movement control in reading appear to be universal (e.g., the availability of orthographic information in the parafoveal preview), others are more script-specific (e.g., the size of the perceptual span). It is concluded that the study of cross-language differences is important for the development of reading models that are generalizable across readers of different scripts.

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