A written Chinese character has a more direct connection with its meaning than a written word in English does. Moreover, because there is no unit in the writing system that encodes single phonemes, grapheme-phoneme mappings are impossible. These unique features have led some researchers to speculate that phonological processing does not occur in visual identification of Chinese words or that meaning is activated earlier than phonology. This hypothesis, however, has been challenged by more recent discoveries that suggest that phonology in Chinese, just as in English, is central to the visual recognition system. The present paper reviews the literature on phonological codes as early sources of constraint in Chinese word identification and considers the specific aspects of phonological and orthographic processing in Chinese that may differ from those in English. It emphasizes that early phonological processes and phonological mediation are two different questions in the identification-with-phonology hypothesis. ‘Mediation’ and ‘prelexical phonology’, two very important concepts in the literature on phonological computation in reading English, are both misleading in Chinese.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 6, 2004
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