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Reading Rate in L1 Mandarin Chinese and L2 English Across Five Reading Tasks

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Abstract

This study compared first and second language (L1/L2) reading rate and task performance on five tasks (scanning, skimming, normal reading, learning, memorizing) in two groups of Mandarin speakers (Canada group, China group). A repeated measures ANOVA design was used with one between-subject factor (Group), two within-subject factors (Language, Task), and L2 proficiency as a covariate. The results indicated substantial L1/L2 rate gaps for all tasks, but, for the most part, this gap was not the same across tasks. Comparing L1 and L2 task performance, the results indicated some decrease in L2 scores on three tasks (scanning, skimming, memorizing). Regarding group differences, the China group had faster reading rates on two L2 tasks (scanning, skimming) and on all L1 tasks; the Canada group scored higher on the memorizing task, a written recall. L2 proficiency was not a predictor of L2 reading rate but was a predictor of L2 performance on two tasks (learning, memorizing).

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