- Exploring a new technique for comparing bilinguals’ L1 and L2 reading speed
- Reading in a Foreign Language
- Volume | Issue number
- 22 | 1
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC)
Is it possible to tell whether bilinguals are able to read simple text in their two languages equally fluently? Is it thus possible to distinguish balanced bilinguals from unbalanced bilinguals with respect to reading fluency in their first language (L1) and second language (L2)? In this study, we avoided making direct comparisons between L1 and L2 reading speeds, comparing, instead, the amount of inhibition caused by a nonlinguistic, external factor (degraded text visibility). In two tasks, 32 university students read 20 target sentences in L1 Dutch and L2 English, each sentence appearing both in normal and in poorly readable font. Degraded font affected reading times substantially, more so in L2 than in L1, as predicted. However, it was not found that participants with higher L2 proficiency were less affected by degraded font in L2 reading than participants with lower L2 proficiency.
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