Date of Award

6-1-2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Payne, Tabitha W.

Abstract

Fifteen subjects with English as a first language (L1) and French as a second language (L2) had their eye movements observed while reading sentences in both languages. The fixation duration for each word in each sentence was calculated. Words were classified as either content (e.g, nouns, verbs) or function (e.g., determiners, conjunctions). The average fixation time spent on each word type by language was compared. Results revealed main effects of word type and language, with longer fixations for content words and L2. Additionally, word type and language interacted, with content words yielding longer fixations than function words in L2 but not L1. This suggests that French is a more difficult language to comprehend for the subjects, but that there is sufficient semantic knowledge of function words in L2 to process them the same way as function words in L1.

Comments

Includes bibliographic references: pages 16-17

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