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Processing punctuation and word changes in different editions of prose fiction

Carrol, Gareth; Conklin, Kathy; Guy, Josephine; Scott, Rebekah

Authors

Gareth Carrol gareth.carrol@nottingham.ac.uk

JOSEPHINE GUY josephine.guy@nottingham.ac.uk
Professor of Modern English Literature



Abstract

The digital era has brought with it a shift in the field of literary editing in terms of the amount and kind of textual variation that can reasonably be annotated by editors. However, questions remain about how far readers engage with textual variants, especially minor ones such as small-scale changes to punctuation. In this study we present an eye-tracking experiment investigating reader sensitivity to variations in surface textual features of prose fiction. We monitored eye movements while participants read textual variants from Dickens and James, hypothesising that readers may pay more attention to lexical rather than punctuation changes. We found longer reading times for both types, but only lexical changes also increased reading times for the rest of the sentence. In addition, eye movement behaviour and conscious ability to report changes were highly correlated. We discuss the implications for how such methods might be applied to questions of “literary” significance and textual processing.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Mar 30, 2015
Journal Scientific Study of Literature
Print ISSN 2210-4372
Electronic ISSN 2210-4380
Publisher John Benjamins Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Issue 2
APA6 Citation Carrol, G., Conklin, K., Guy, J., & Scott, R. (2015). Processing punctuation and word changes in different editions of prose fiction. Scientific Study of Literature, 5(2), https://doi.org/10.1075/ssol.5.2.05con
DOI https://doi.org/10.1075/ssol.5.2.05con
Keywords Text-editing, Prose fiction, Textual variants, Punctuation, Reading, Eye-tracking
Publisher URL http://www.jbe-platform.com/content/journals/10.1075/ssol.5.2.05con
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf
Additional Information Copyright John Benjamins Publishing. The publisher should be contacted for permission to re-use or reprint the material in any form.

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf





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