The Reading of Formulaic Sequences in a Native and Non-Native Language: An Eye Movement Analysis
AuthorGerard, Jessica Eve
Committee ChairWaugh, Linda R.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study contributes to the growing body of formulaic language research that indicates that formulaic sequences (e.g., idioms, collocations, metaphors, and other conventionalized multi-word items) facilitate comprehension by reducing processing load (Wray, 2002). Expanding on Underwood et. al. (2004), this study combines corpus analysis and eye-movement data to assess the contribution of formulaicity to the comprehension of a whole, authentic text.Information regarding grammatical, lexical, and contextual conventions for each formulaic item in the text was obtained via the Collins COBUILD Online Corpus and the British National Corpus. Additionally, using an Applied Science Laboratories Eye Tracker, the eye movements of two native speakers and one non-native speaker of English were recorded and the fixations for formulaic sequences were compared. All eye movement data was interpreted in light of Goodman's Transactional model of reading (2003). Specifically, eye movements for each participant were compared across two conditions: 1) a condition comprised of the formulaic sequences in the text and 2) a baseline segment from the text which was free of formulaic items. Paired t-tests were performed for each participant to determine whether or not the eye movement behavior differed significantly in the two conditions. Data analysis indicates that both native and non-native readers of English showed significant differences in the eye movement patterns for the two conditions. However, these significant differences were reversed for the two participant groups. In the case of the native readers, the predictable nature of formulaic sequences facilitated the processing of written text, as evidenced by a significantly lower percentage of words fixated in the formulaic sequences in comparison with the percent of words fixated in the baseline condition. However, for the non-native readers, 1) lack of experience with the formulaic items and 2) their opaque nature appeared to hinder comprehension, resulting in a significantly higher percentage of words fixated in the formulaic condition than in the baseline, non-formulaic condition. This dissertation has implications for the fields of first and second language acquisition, particularly literacy theory and instruction.
Degree ProgramSecond Language Acquisition & Teaching