This study explored the effects of phonological processing on text comprehension and word processing in a group of advanced Chinese students learning Japanese-as-a-foreign-language (JFL). Participants’ reading performance and global-and word-level eye-movement patterns were compared under five reading conditions: articulatory suppression, read-aloud, concurrent reading while listening to the text or to an irrelevant speech, and silent reading. In addition, the study examined whether text complexity moderates participants’ phonological processing when reading Japanese text. Finally, how participants’ Chinese knowledge affects their processing of Japanese words written in different script types was investigated through analysis of their word-level eye-movement behavior. The results indicated that participants could comprehend short Japanese texts without relying much on phonological recoding: Articulatory suppression and reading while listening to an irrelevant speech did not significantly impair reading comprehension nor did read-aloud and reading while listening to the text enhance text comprehension. Text complexity did not reliably moderate participants’ phonological processing under the reading conditions. The word processing results showed that participants’ Chinese knowledge facilitated their processing of Chinese-Japanese cognates (i.e., kanji existing both in Chinese and Japanese with the same meanings) but not the processing of Chinese-Japanese homographs or Japanese-coined kanji words. The fact that reading while listening to the text tended to only facilitate the processing of kana words but not the Chinese-Japanese cognates suggests that phonological recoding might not be necessary for accessing the Chinese–Japanese cognates’ meanings but is essential for the processing of words written in kana.
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