Does Changing the Font Type Affect the Processing of Words Written in Cyrillic and Latin Alphabet?
Keywords:Latin alphabet, Cyrillic alphabet, font, visual degradation, grapheme characteristics
To understand the reading process, it is necessary to explore the mechanisms of visual word recognition. The basic level of that recognition is the processing of letters, their size and visual identity. The specificity of the Serbian language is characterized by the parallel use of two alphabetic systems – Latin and Cyrillic, which contain a number of common, but also their own unique letters. Since some of the differences between the fonts are based on visual specific aditions at the end of letter's lines, there is also a significant contribution of fonts in letter recognition and reading. The main goal of this study is to examine the effect of font type on the processing of Latin and Cyrillic words. The aim was also to examine the effect of letter degradation on the word processing in these two alphabetic systems. The study included two experiments with Latin and Cyrillic words written in lowercase and uppercase. Participants were 221 students from the University of Banja Luka. Three factors were varied in both experiments: alphabet, “visual availability” (which refers to the visibility of words after degradation), and font type. Two analyses were performed ANOVA by subject (F1 analysis) and ANOVA by item (F2 analysis). Results show that there is a main effect of visual availability on processing speed of words. Visual degradation has slowed reaction time, but this effect is not the same in Latin and Cyrillic words. Significant interaction of font and alphabet is confirmed only in F2 analysis, so these results have limited validity. This study also revealed differences between lowercase and uppercase. Degradation of lowercase was more detrimental that degradation of uppercase. The obtained results indicate that word processing in two alphabetic systems can be partly explained by the visual characteristics and grapheme structure of their letters.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Jovana Tešinović, Svetlana Borojevic, Strahinja Dimitrijević
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