Korean reading speed: Effects of print size and retinal eccentricity

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Evaluating the effects of print size and retinal eccentricity on reading speed is important for identifying the constraints faced by people with central-field loss. Previous work on English reading showed that 1) reading speed increases with print size until a critical print size (CPS) is reached, and then remains constant at a maximum reading speed (MRS), and 2) as eccentricity increases, MRS decreases and CPS increases. Here we extend this work to Korean, a language with more complex orthography. We recruited 6 Korean native speakers (mean age=22) and measured their reading speed in central vision (0°) and peripheral vision (10° in the lower field). 900 Korean sentences (average 8.25 words) were created with frequently-occurring beginner-level words, presented using a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) paradigm. Data for English reading were obtained from Chung, Mansfield & Legge, Vision Research, 1998, for comparison. MRS was similar for Korean and English at 0° (713 vs. 787wpm), but decreased faster with eccentricity for Korean. CPS was larger for Korean than for English regardless of eccentricity, but increased with eccentricity similarly for both languages. From 0 to 10°, MRS decreased by a factor of 6.5 for Korean and 2.8 for English, and CPS increased by a factor of 11.7 for Korean and 10.2 for English. Korean reading speed is more affected by retinal eccentricity than English, likely due to additional within-character crowding from more complex orthography. Korean readers with central-field loss may experience more difficulty than English readers.

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