The study investigated the eye movements of Thai–English bilinguals when reading both Thai and English with and without interword spaces, in comparison with English monolinguals. Thai is an alphabetic orthography without interword spaces. Participants read sentences with high and low frequency target words embedded in same sentence frames with and without interword spaces. Interword spaces had a selective effect on reading in Thai, as they facilitated word recognition, but did not affect eye guidance and lexical segmentation. Initial saccade landing positions were similar in spaced and unspaced text. As expected, removal of spaces severely disrupted reading in English, as reflected by the eye movement measures, in both bilinguals and monolinguals. Here, initial landing positions were significantly nearer the beginning of the target words when reading unspaced rather than spaced text. Effects were more accentuated in the bilinguals. In sum, results from reading in Thai give qualified support for a facilitatory function of interword spaces.
Winskel, H, Radach, R & Luksaneeyanawinc, S 2009, 'Eye movements when reading spaced and unspaced Thai and English: a comparison of Thai-English bilinguals and English monolinguals', Journal of Memory and Language, vol. 61, no. 3, pp. 339-351.
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