The time course of phonological encoding in Mandarin monosyllabic word production was investigated by using the picture-word interference paradigm. Participants were asked to name pictures in Mandarin while visual distractor words were presented before, at, or after picture onset (i.e., stimulus-onset asynchrony/SOA = −100, 0, or +100 ms, respectively). Compared with the unrelated control, the distractors sharing atonal syllables with the picture names significantly facilitated the naming responses at −100- and 0-ms SOAs. In addition, the facilitation effect of sharing word-initial segments only appeared at 0-ms SOA, and null effects were found for sharing word-final segments. These results indicate that both syllables and subsyllabic units play important roles in Mandarin spoken word production and more critically that syllabic processing precedes subsyllabic processing. The current results lend strong support to the proximate units principle (O’Seaghdha, Chen, & Chen, 2010), which holds that the phonological structure of spoken word production is language-specific and that atonal syllables are the proximate phonological units in Mandarin Chinese. On the other hand, the significance of word-initial segments over word-final segments suggests that serial processing of segmental information seems to be universal across Germanic languages and Chinese, which remains to be verified in future studies.
Psychonomic Bulletin & Review – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 5, 2017
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