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In my Thessaloniki presentation I used as the springboard to my discussion of perceptual processing in reading the statement “the natural form of reading is not by spelling or syllabification, but by grasping word wholes, that is, word forms or configurations constitute the units of perception in reading.” I picked this statement off the internet, but couldn’t find the source.
Now I know the source: in “Recent studies of eye movements in reading.” [Psychological Bulletin, Vol 55(4), Jul 1958, 215-231] Miles Tinker reviews the following: Munoz, J.M., Odoriz, J.B. and Tavazza, J. “Registro de los movimientos oculares durante la lectura”, Revista de la Sociedad Argentina de Biologia, XX, Abril de 1944 pp. 280-286, and says: “It was concluded that the natural form of reading is not by spelling or syllabizing but on the basis of whole groups of words. That is, word forms or configurations constituted the units of perception in reading."
Later William Scott Gray and Ralph C. Staiger refered to the same article in their book The teaching of reading and writing: an international survey. They say: “The investigators concluded that ‘the natural form of reading is not by spelling or syllabizing, but on the basis of whole groups of words’. This fact, they pointed out, provides ‘the physiological basis of the modern methodology of reading.’”
Gray and Staiger must be quoting an English summary, but the original text might give
me a clue to the differences from the version I picked up on the internet, so I'm trying to locate the article. In the version I picked up in all those years ago “grasping word wholes” is substituted for “on the basis of whole groups of words,” and “syllabizing” was change to “syllabification.” Does anyone on Typophile have access to the Munoz, et. al., paper, or the journal it is in?
In the process I discovered that Tinker also talks about "total word forms" suggesting that in the lower case it’s a factor in perceptual processing and has an impact on the greater reading speed of the lower case as compared to all capitals.
Herbert Spencer in his The Visible Word discusses this, stating that Tinker has stressed the distinction between ‘total word shape,’ the bare outline of a word, and ‘total word structure’ which included internal form elements. I can determine this from google books and other sources, but I can’t access the identity of the Tinker text he references. Apparently it's #396 in the Spencer bibliography. If any typophiler has the book, can you tell me what that text Tinker text Spencer is referencing is. Tinker apparently favoured the notion that the unit of perception in reading is the whole word.