Reading Chinese Script: A Cognitive Analysis

Reading Chinese Script: A Cognitive Analysis

Reading Chinese Script: A Cognitive Analysis

Reading Chinese Script: A Cognitive Analysis


This volume uses unique properties of Chinese script to focus on morphological analyses during the character and word recognition process, though some of the reported work also pertains to the use of phonological information. In addition, this volume contains work on syntactic and pragmatic processes during sentence reading and three chapters that examine on-line processes. A comprehensive appraisal of cognitive processes during the reading of Chinese script that includes studies conducted by leading researchers from within and outside the mainland, this volume will be of interest to all those studying reading and visual symbol processing.


Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in the study of Chinese language. To some extent, this increase is related to economic developments in mainland China, which has seen double-digit economic growth during each of the past 10 years. Increased trade, increased communication, and increased investment in mainland China have all contributed to a boom in Chinese language courses and in the development of Chinese language software.

Chinese writing, much more so than spoken Chinese, provides access to its culture (and economics), as it has provided a major means of unifying a diverse country. Spoken dialects differ substantially within the mainland, to the extent that a speaker of Mandarin is unable to understand a speaker of Cantonese or other southern dialects. Yet, irrespective of dialect, the same written characters are used to express meaning. Language researchers and psycholinguists also have shown increased interest in the Chinese language, reflected in the growing number of publications in which Chinese characters were used as stimuli. Chinese writing differs in critical aspects from alphabetic writing and thus provides an elegant means of testing hypotheses that are exceedingly difficult to examine in alphabetic writing systems.

This book examines the reading of Chinese text from a cognitive perspective; that is, it attempts to determine the nature of mental processes and structures that are used to assign meaning to Chinese character symbols during reading. a similar perspective was assumed in several other recently edited books, although we feel that this book is unique in at least two aspects. First, it focuses on the use and role of morphological knowledge. This differs from earlier volumes that focused on the role of phonology (although several of the current chapters either directly refer to or have implications for the representation of phonological knowledge). Second, the book includes a relatively large proportion of chapters with contributors from mainland China who have traditionally emphasized the study of meaning-related processes. Earlier volumes primarily featured contributors from outside the mainland.

The first chapter, by Shu and Anderson, examines issues related to . . .

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