Recent research on speech rate (Pellegrino et al., 2011) has shown that languages
differ in terms of syllable rate, and that these differences are compensated
by the average amount of information carried by syllables. The more syllables
a language needs to express a given amount of information, the higher its syllable
rate tends to be.
These results were obtained with subjects reading texts on a computer screen. The question arose whether silent reading rates would correlate with oral reading rates across languages. Although silent and oral reading fluency has been studied with respect to reading comprehension and how it develops in children, little literature focuses on comparing them in different languages.
We present here data for 8 languages (Cantonese, Finnish, French, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Serbian, and Thai). For each language, silent and oral syllables rates as well as reading durations were measured for several subjects and 15 different texts. Various comparisons were performed, and mixed-effects regression models were used to further evaluate the weight of the different variables (gender, language, speaker and text).
Most significantly, oral and silent reading rates appear to be well correlated, suggesting that language-specific syllabic complexity impacts silent reading in a similar way to oral reading.
Bibliographic reference. Coupé, Christophe / Oh, Yoon Mi / Pellegrino, François / Marsico, Egidio (2014): "Cross-linguistic investigations of oral and silent reading", In INTERSPEECH-2014, 514-518.