This article considers text comprehension through the integrated perspectives of language processing research and practical writing advice as expressed in writing guides and language policies. Such guides for instance include advice to use active constructions instead of passives and sentences instead of nominalizations. These recommended and problem constructions and two other contrasts were investigated in an eye-tracking experiment where 27 students read four authentic texts where the target constructions had been manipulated. A mixed-effects regression analysis showed no difference between recommended and problem constructions, while several control variables were significant. This result indicates that the linguistic manipulations are not in themselves crucial to text comprehension, and it is hypothesized that the central aspect for text comprehension is how the linguistic manipulations support cohesion and coherence in the text.
Bibliographical notePublished online: 26. March 2017
- Discourse processing
- Eye tracking
- Text comprehension
- Writing advice