The Thai data were collected as part of the first ever eye movement study of Thai at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. 22 subjects, 16 female and six male, read a Thai text. The text used was a Thai short story, Sim Bai (Sevikul 1993), comprising 2,120 words. The mean word length was 3.3 characters (SD = 1.9), with a minimum of one character and a maximum of 15. An SR Research Inc. EyeLink-II video-based eye tracking system was used.
Subjects were presented with 19 pages of the short story comprising between seven and 11 lines each, where lines contained on average 14 words. The font used was 14 pt Thonburi. At the end of the story, subjects were asked a number of questions about the characters and events described in the story by a Thai native speaker.
The Chinese data were collected from 23 subjects reading 40 sentences that formed part of a larger reading task involving 120 sentences dealing with the processing of four-character Chinese idioms at Tianjin Normal University (Yu and Yan 2010). These sentences are referred to as “filler” sentences and they serve as distractors from the sentences containing idioms, which were the main focus of that study. Sentences were presented one line at a time. Subjects were asked questions for 10 out of the 40 sentences. Mean sentence length was 6.9 words. Mean word length was 1.5 characters (SD = 0.52). Text was presented in a 25pt Song font.
Because of the sometimes controversial nature of word segmentation in Chinese, the Modern Chinese Word Dictionary (2007) was used as an arbiter in determining the precise length of words used in the experimental materials.