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Book: The Multimodal Context of Phonological Learning

Chapter: The Perceptual Functions of Eye Gaze

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.46492


Chapters 4 and 5 address the question of where perceivers look on the face of a talker and how eye gaze patterns change as a speech event unfolds. Chapter 4 provides some background on eye-movement research with an emphasis on speech. Chapter 5 presents original data from a study that tracked the eye movements of L1 English intermediate-level L2 French learners during L1 and L2 vowel identification tasks in different stimulus conditions. Identification accuracy and several eye gaze measures were calculated for both languages, and eye movements were visualized through heatmaps and gaze plots. This study was able to assess how much of the variability in each measure was accounted for by the independent variables of language and stimulus condition, and how much could be attributed to variability across the learners. In post-study interviews, the learners reflected on their use of facial cues in phonological learning.

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