A1 Journal article – refereed

The role of interword spacing in reading Japanese: An eye movement study

List of Authors: Sainio M, Hyona J, Bingushi K, Bertram R


Publication year: 2007

Journal: Vision Research

Journal name in source: VISION RESEARCH

Journal acronym: VISION RES

Volume number: 47

Issue number: 20

Number of pages: 10

ISSN: 0042-6989

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.visres.2007.05.017

The present study investigated the role of interword spacing in a naturally unspaced language, Japanese. Eye movements were registered of native Japanese readers reading pure Hiragana (syllabic) and mixed Kanji-Hiragana (ideographic and syllabic) text in spaced and unspaced conditions. Interword spacing facilitated both word identification and eye guidance when reading syllabic script, but not when the script contained ideographic characters. We conclude that in reading Hiragana interword spacing serves as an effective segmentation cue. In contrast, spacing information in mixed Kanji-Hiragana text is redundant, since the visually salient Kanji characters serve as effective segmentation cues by themselves. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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