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Eye-movement recording as a tool for studying syntactic processing in a second language: a review of methodologies and experimental findings

Cheryl Frenck-Mestre
Second Language Research
Vol. 21, No. 2, Special Issue: Experimental psycholinguistic approaches to second language acquisition (April 2005), pp. 175-198
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43103681
Page Count: 24
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Eye-movement recording as a tool for studying syntactic processing in a second language: a review of methodologies and experimental findings
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Abstract

The complex trace of saccades, fixations and regressions that the eyes make while taking in a line of text is unquestionably one of the richest accounts available as concerns the process of reading. Recording these jumps, stops and re-takes provides a to-the-letter, millisecond-precise report of the readers' immediate syntactic processing as well as revisions thereof. In addition, the influence of innumerable factors - from low-level visual conditions to highlevel pragmatic cues - on the reading process can be measured via this method, thereby rendering possible the testing of various psycholinguistic models of parsing and comprehension. For all of these reasons, eye-movement recording has become an invaluable tool in the study of how readers process text. Interestingly, however, only a handful of eye-movement studies have been published as concerns reading in the second language. The goal of the present article is to outline the findings of these second language studies and, hopefully, to encourage future work in the field using this tool.

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