Sixth International Conference on Spoken Language Processing
(ICSLP 2000)

Beijing, China
October 16-20, 2000

Lexical Tone in the Spoken Word Recognition of Chinese

Xiaolin Zhou, Yanxuan Qu

Department of Psychology, Peking University, Beijing, China

Constraints of lexical tones on semantic activation in spoken word recognition of Chinese were investigated in three crossmodal priming lexical decision experiments. In Experiments 1 and 2, disyllabic compound words that shared the same segmental templates but differed in lexical tones (e.g., tiao4 yue4 vs. tiao2 yue1, jump vs. treaty, numbers indicating tone types) were used as auditory primes while words that were semantically related to one of the pairs (e.g., ben1 pao3, run) were visually presented for lexical decision. The semantic primes and the tone-mismatch primes differed in the tones of either the first, the second, or both syllables. In Experiment 3, nonword tone-mismatch primes were created by changing the first or the second tones of semantic primes. The similarity between the original tones and the resulting tones was also manipulated. The appearance of significant priming effects for the tone-different primes depended on lexical competition environment, the global and local goodness of fit between input tones and underlying tones, and the constituent position of tone alternation. The findings are discussed in terms of how tonal information is represented in the mental lexicon, how tonal information in speech input is mapped onto the lexicon, and how tonal constraints on lexical access and semantic activation is influenced by competition environment.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Zhou, Xiaolin / Qu, Yanxuan (2000): "Lexical tone in the spoken word recognition of Chinese", In ICSLP-2000, vol.2, 45-50.