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Phonological activation of category coordinates in spoken word production: Evidence for cascaded processing in English but not in Mandarin

  • QINGFANG ZHANG (a1), XUEBING ZHU (a2) and MARKUS F. DAMIAN (a3)
Abstract

A central issue in spoken word production concerns how activation is transmitted from semantic to phonological levels. Recent evidence from studies of speakers of Western languages supports a cascaded view, according to which under certain circumstances, lexical candidates other than the target can activate their corresponding phonological properties. In the current study, we investigated possible differences between English and Mandarin speakers concerning the degree of cascadedness in the production system, based on the broader recent claim that properties of word form encoding might differ according to languages. With English speakers (Experiment 1), we found that when activation of targets and semantic competitors was boosted via a manipulation of semantic context, then concurrently presented “mediated” distractor words (which were phonologically related to a semantic competitor) generated interference. However, no such mediated priming was found in a parallel experiment with Chinese materials and Mandarin speakers (Experiment 2). These results suggest potential fundamental differences across the target languages in how activation is transmitted during lexical access.

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Corresponding author
ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE Qingfang Zhang, Department of Psychology, Renmin University of China, 59 Zhongguancun Street, Haidian District, Beijing, 100872, China. E-mail: qingfang.zhang@ruc.edu.cn
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