Effects of Vowel Length on Gaze Durations in Silent and Oral Reading

  • Lynn Huestegge RWTH Aachen University
Keywords: vowel length, reading, eye movements, dual task, articulatory suppression, silent reading, oral reading


Vowel length is known to affect reaction times in single word reading. Eye movement studies involving silent sentence reading showed that phonological information of a word can be acquired even before it is fixated. However, it remained an open question whether vowel length directly influences oculomotor control in sentence reading. In the present eye tracking study, subjects read sentences that included target words of varying vowel length and frequency. In Experiment 1, subjects read silently for comprehension, whereas Experiment 2 involved oral reading. Experiments 3 and 4 additionally included an articulatory suppression task and a foot tapping task. Results indicated that in conditions that did not require additional articulation (Experiments 1 and 4) gaze durations were increased for words with long vowels compared to words with short vowels. Conditions that required simultaneous articulation (Experiments 2 and 3) did not yield a vowel length effect. The results point to an influence of phonetic properties on oculomotor control during silent reading around the time of the completion of lexical access.
How to Cite
Huestegge, L. (2010). Effects of Vowel Length on Gaze Durations in Silent and Oral Reading. Journal of Eye Movement Research, 3(5). https://doi.org/10.16910/jemr.3.5.5