LINGUIST List 14.623

Tue Mar 4 2003

Qs: Writing Systems, Literature and Variation

Editor for this issue: Naomi Fox <foxlinguistlist.org>


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Directory

  1. bender, Writing systems and reading speeds
  2. bender, Sociolinguistics and comparative literature

Message 1: Writing systems and reading speeds

Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2003 11:33:22 -0800 (PST)
From: bender <bendercsli.Stanford.EDU>
Subject: Writing systems and reading speeds

Dear colleagues,

I remember hearing or reading about a study which found
that proficient readers of Chinese read faster than
proficient readers of English, and both read faster
than proficient readers of Spanish. The explanation was
that in the Chinese writing system, words have distinctive
visual properties, allowing readers to read them quickly.
English, because of its spelling irregularities, also
has many words with distinctive shapes. Apparently, 
proficient readers of alphabetic systems also often
recognize whole words, rather than reading off the sounds.
The more distinctive the word-shapes, the faster this
goes. The good sound-graph correspondence in Spanish
leads to less distinctive word-shapes and therefore slower
reading.

Can anyone point me to a reference for this study?

Many thanks,

Emily M. Bender
Stanford University
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Message 2: Sociolinguistics and comparative literature

Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2003 11:35:46 -0800 (PST)
From: bender <bendercsli.Stanford.EDU>
Subject: Sociolinguistics and comparative literature

Posting a question for a student:

Does anyone know of work applying sociolinguistic notions
of variation and style to comparative literature? How
about any other cross-over studies involving the two fields?

Many thanks,

Emily M. Bender
Stanford University
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