Chinese orthographic decomposition refers to a sense of uncertainty about the writing of a well-learned Chinese character following a prolonged inspection of the character. This study investigated the decomposition phenomenon in a test situation in which Chinese characters were repeatedly presented in a word context and assessed whether the decomposition of a character is related to the boundness of its constituent radicals. Two experiments were conducted to compare differences in the rate of decomposition between two types of LR-character (i.e., such a character consisted of two radicals juxtaposed horizontally). One type was the characters with each character consisting of unbound radicals (i.e., the radicals can stand alone and have their own lexical entries). The other was those with each consisting of bound radicals (i.e., the radicals cannot stand alone and have no lexical entries). Results show that the decomposition of the LR-characters was robust but independent of the boundness and, hence, lexicality of their constituent radicals. This result suggests that the character decomposition is better understood by considering that the link between a visual character and its sound is not direct so that its sound cannot be used to bind its visual details into the gestalt in which the character is perceived, which may finally result in an orthographic decomposition.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 28, 2012
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