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date: 29 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter, we review research investigating the influence of linguistic focus on eye movements during reading. Focus is the assignment of prominence by phonological or syntactic means, which either marks new information or indicates that a contrast should be made between the focused information and some alternatives to it. We show that focus has a wide ranging influence on reading, from the processing of individual words, to the processing of sentence structure, the computation of reference, and the nature of the mental representation constructed by a reader. We conclude that eye movement research has been successful in revealing readers’ sensitivity to focus during language comprehension, and its influence on higher-order language processing during the reading and understanding of text.

Keywords: focus, eye movements, reading, language processing, phonological

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