Speech Prosody 2012

Shanghai, China
May 22-25, 2012

Priming Effects of Tones and Segments in Lexical Processing in Mandarin

Lan Shuai (1), Bin Li (1), Tao Gong (2)

(1) Department of Chinese, Translation & Linguistics, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
(2) Department of Linguistics, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

In tone languages, pitch variation is one of the primary cues to distinguish lexical meanings. Similar to consonants and vowels, lexical tones play a role in accessing to lexical information, but these segmental and suprasegmental features may have different roles in this process. In this study, we examine the priming effects of tones, consonants, and vowels in an auditory task of lexical decision in Mandarin, and compare such phonological priming effects with the direct and semantic priming effects. We find that consonants and vowels play a major role at the stage of lexical access, whereas tones facilitate lexical processing afterwards. In addition, partially conflicting segments, not tones, interfere with lexical selection. We discuss and compare these results with the previous findings to shed some lights on the follow-up research.

Index Terms: lexical tone, lexical decision, priming, Mandarin

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Shuai, Lan / Li, Bin / Gong, Tao (2012): "Priming effects of tones and segments in lexical processing in Mandarin", In SP-2012, 567-570.