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DOI: 10.18413/2313-8912-2023-9-1-0-5

The complexity of semantic search in native and foreign languages: an analysis of eye-movements

The article discusses the central problems of word recognition in native and foreign languages. Russian-speaking and Azerbaijani-speaking subjects were solving the visual semantic search task and were looking for Russian words among randomly arranged Cyrillic letters. Words were hidden in the 15x15 letter matrix, they were not spaced, consisted of 6-7 letters, were arranged either horizontally or vertically; half of words included several identical letters, half of them did not. Each matrix had ten words and had an emotional valence index and a frequency index. The recorded indices were the number of found stimuli and eye metrics. The study showed the effects of language knowledge, the arrangement of words in the matrix, their frequency and the letter set. The subjects were more likely to detect horizontally arranged words that have a higher frequency and several identical letters; the established regularity had a similar effect for both groups. The effect of emotional valence was weak only for the Azerbaijani-speaking subjects. The search in the native language was more effective due to the use of more effective strategies for cognitive processing of verbal material. The Russian-speaking subjects employed a consciously controlled strategy, associated with the use of mental resources and reflected in longer fixations and short saccades; the Azerbaijani-speaking subjects used a more chaotic strategy, covering a larger search space, associated with longer saccades and shorter fixations. More complicated tasks (with lower-frequency lexemes) led to a change in strategies and the use of special skills of identifying words, which were different for both groups.

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