Eye Movements When Reading Spaced and Unspaced Texts in Arabic

Tommi Leung, Fatima Boush, Qiyang Chen, Meera Al Kaabi

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This study investigated the extent to which varying interword spacing influences eye movement during reading in Arabic. Previous works conducted in Latin-script languages suggested that interword spaces facilitated word recognition. On the other hand, word recognition was inhibited when interword spaces were either removed or replaced by other characters (Rayner et al., 1998; Sheridan et al., 2013). We focused on the influence of interword spaces on reading Arabic which is characterized by the use of interword spaces and the position-informative allographic system. Based on an eye tracking experiment in which subjects read Arabic sentences presented in three levels of interword spacing and two levels of target word frequency, we found that eliminating interword spaces did not significantly inhibit reading, yet widening interword spaces exerted a facilitative effect. We argued that the effect of eliminating interword spaces was compensated by the ligating properties of Arabic letters during sentence reading, i.e. Arabic ligatures were position-informative which provided sufficient visual cues for word recognition regardless of the presence of interword spaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages439-444
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event43rd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Comparative Cognition: Animal Minds, CogSci 2021 - Virtual, Online, Austria
Duration: Jul 26 2021Jul 29 2021

Conference

Conference43rd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Comparative Cognition: Animal Minds, CogSci 2021
Country/TerritoryAustria
CityVirtual, Online
Period7/26/217/29/21

Keywords

  • Arabic
  • eye movement
  • interword spacing
  • linear mixed model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Human-Computer Interaction

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