Skipping of the very-high-frequency structural particle de in Chinese reading

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Authors: Zang, C., Zhang, M., Bai, X., Yan, G., Angele, B. and Liversedge, S.P.

Journal: Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology

Volume: 71

Issue: 1 Special Issue

Pages: 152-160

eISSN: 1747-0226

ISSN: 1747-0218

DOI: 10.1080/17470218.2016.1272617

© Experimental Psychology Society 2017. How do readers decide whether to skip or fixate a word? Angele and Rayner [2013. Processing the in the parafovea: Are articles skipped automatically? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 39, 649–662] showed that English readers base skipping decisions on the parafoveal information available, but not the sentential context. Due to the increased visual density of the language, Chinese readers may be able to process a parafoveal word and integrate it with the sentence context to a greater extent than English readers. Consequently, influences on skipping decisions in Chinese may differ from those in English. In a boundary paradigm experiment, participants read sentences containing a single-character target verb (e.g., meaning get) whose preview was manipulated in three conditions: identity preview; a preview consisting of the syntactically anomalous high-frequency structural particle de, or a pseudocharacter preview. The results showed that Chinese readers were more likely to skip the target when the preview was de than in either of the other conditions, suggesting that de-skipping is triggered by the parafoveal preview of a highly frequent particle word rather than on the likelihood of the upcoming word given the sentential context.

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