The Effect of Inter-word Space on Chinese reading: An Eye Movement Study

단어 간 공백이 중국어 글 읽기에 미치는 영향: 안구운동 추적 연구

  • Han, Mi-ae (Jeju Halla University) ;
  • Jiang, Xin (Beijing Language and Culture University) ;
  • Zhao, Weiqi (University of Cincinnati)
  • Received : 2018.11.29
  • Accepted : 2018.12.31
  • Published : 2018.12.30


This research investigated whether inter-word spaces, the spaces between words, can affect the efficiency of Korean-speaking CSL(Chinese as a second language) learners in Chinese reading of Korean-speaking's ability to read Chinese. Through eye movement tracking experiments, CSL learners of different proficiency levels(beginning, intermediate, and advanced) and native Chinese readers were asked to read Chinese sentences with and without inter-word spaces. The tests analysed the participants' fixation counts and the time spent in reading each sentences and also between each words. In terms of the fixation counts and time spent between sentences, the results show that there were no significant difference in participants' fixation counts from reading sentences with and without inter-word spaces. The results also prove that reading sentences with inter-word spaces significantly shortened the reading time for both CSL learners and native Chinese readers. Even for the participants' fixation counts and time duration between each words, participants spent significantly less fixation counts and reading time while reading words with inter-word spaces. The results were more prominent and positive in tests conducted with CSL learners of lower proficiency. This research shows that inter-word spaces in Chinese texts can enhance the efficiency of chinese learners' reading ability.


inter-word space;Chinese reading;second language acquisition;Chinese learners from South Korea;eye tracking


Supported by : 중국 국가사회과학기금, 베이징어언대학


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