How is music related to English language reading?

This study has compared musical training with the visual aspect of reading languages. The most interesting thing about the study design is that they have compared Chinese language reading and English language reading. The main visible difference between these two types of language reading is that English is read sequentially from left to right whereas Chinese is read from several different directions.

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The researchers were trying to find out if the visual aspect of language reading was affected by the ability to read music, which is a left to right visual process. It turns out that musicians were better at tracking letters in English than in Chinese.

Another interesting thing is to consider the fact that Chinese is a tonal language, and native Chinese speakers have been found to have much higher levels of auditory processing at a much younger age. It has been suggested that having a tonal language as our first language could make learning music easier, but this research could then point to a more difficult cognitive process for tonal language readers to understand traditional Western music notation.

Fascinating nature/nurture language/music questions.
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