The process of reading in a second language is an under-studied area of research on second language processing. Researchers have found similarities and differences between first- and second-language reading (Koda, 2007; Artieda, 2017; Walter, 2007), and many believe that readers’ successful reading behaviors in their L1 reflect their reading patterns in the L2 (Yamashita, 2007; Cummings, 1991; Sparks & Ganschow, 1995). Others claim that a certain threshold level of L2 language proficiency is necessary before L1 reading ability transfers to L2 reading (Clark, 1978; Cummings, 1991). Eye tracking technology has enabled researchers to investigate early and late reading measures, the former associated with word recognition, and the latter with text integration (Rayner, 1998). However, research has not yet found much evidence for the effect of different proficiency levels in second-language reading behavior. This study builds from the aforementioned reading hypotheses and investigates whether multiple reading proficiency levels impacted reading behaviors of 37 Portuguese learners with native English backgrounds, with the use of eye-tracking technology. Participants read the same amount of passages in Portuguese (their L2), and in English (their L1), each of which ranged from Intermediate to Superior levels, and was followed by comprehension questions. Results indicate that, as expected, participants read faster in their first language and slower in their second language. Unexpectedly, proficiency level did not reveal significant effects on readers’ reading behaviors on their first or second languages.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Grahl, Larissa, "L1 and L2 Reading Behaviors by Proficiency Level: An English-Portuguese Eye-Tracking Study" (2019). Theses and Dissertations. 8547.
language acquisition, eye tracking, second-language reading, reading behavior