The Importance Of Spacing In Language Learning

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In recent decades there has been attention to how spacing has an effect in first and second language reading, for which the development of eye-tracking technology has allowed a deeper understanding. The importance of these findings are linked to information on how readers process language and its implications to language teaching. Some researchers have explored spacing and word boundaries within writing systems, focusing on its effects on readers’ landing positions and saccades (e.g., Li, Liu, & Rayner, 2011; 2015), fixations and word frequency (e.g., Yan, Tian, Bai, & Rayner, 2006; Li et al., 2013), word identification (e.g., Li, Rayner, & Cave, 2009; Epelboim et al., 1996), acquisition of new vocabulary (e.g., Blythe et al.,
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They also expected that this improvement would be more significant in native speakers of a spaced language than in native speakers of an unspaced language (p.194). The results confirmed their hypotheses, proving that spacing that delimits word boundaries does improve reading for learners of Chinese as a second language, independently of their language background. They also showed that spacing between characters and spacing that formed non-words influenced negatively the reading of participants. In the current study texts are presented with the same conditions as sentences in Shen et al.’s (2012) study, with the exception of non-word …show more content…
All of the participants were native English speakers enrolled in 2nd and 3rd year of college level Mandarin Chinese at a large Mid-Western University. The gender of the participants was not controlled. After preliminary analysis of the collected data, the final number of participants resulted in X. The researcher visited the students in their classroom to recruit them for voluntary participation in the study. Due to the nature of the research, students with glasses were encouraged to wear contact lenses. Participants were divided randomly into each test group: (1) unspaced, word spaced, character spaced, (2) word spaced, character spaced, unspaced, (3) character spaced, unspaced, word spaced. All of the participants had normal or normal-to-corrected vision. Extra credit.

Participants’ eye movements were recorded using an XXX, connected to Ogama. The texts were presented in a 21.5-inch iMac monitor with 1600 X 1200 pixel resolution. The distance between the participants and the screen was approximately 23 inches. Texts were presented in X font, and the size of the Chinese characters was of X points.

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