Effects of Homophone Density on Spoken Word Recognition in Mandarin Chinese

Bhamini Sharma


Homophones, words that sound same, influence spoken word recognition. Whether the effects of homophone density (i.e., number of same-sounding words) on spoken word recognition are facilitatory or inhibitory or complex is a matter of ongoing debate. In addition, there are limited studies investigating the effects of homophone density, probably due to paucity of homophones in the examined languages (e.g., English). In comparison, languages such as Mandarin Chinese have abundant homophony that makes it a suitable tool to investigate the effects of homophone density. In the current study, an auditory naming task was conducted using Mandarin Chinese to investigate the effects of homophone density on spoken word recognition. Using mixed modeling, a significant inhibitory effect of homophone density (β = 0.0098, t = 2.10) on reaction time was found. Participants were slower in naming words with high homophone density, possibly due to competition posed by more number of homophones, as compared to the words with low homophone density. Further, an interaction between homophone density and syllable frequency was found i.e., for high syllable frequency, homophone density effects were inhibitory but for low syllable frequency, the inhibitory effect was reduced. Taken together, the effects of homophone density are not straightforward but complex.


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2018-2114

Cite as: Sharma, B. (2018) Effects of Homophone Density on Spoken Word Recognition in Mandarin Chinese. Proc. Interspeech 2018, 3777-3780, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2018-2114.


@inproceedings{Sharma2018,
  author={Bhamini Sharma},
  title={Effects of Homophone Density on Spoken Word Recognition in Mandarin Chinese},
  year=2018,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2018},
  pages={3777--3780},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2018-2114},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2018-2114}
}