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Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, Vol. 51 Issue (8) : 857-868     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00857
Reports of Empirical Studies |
The neighborhood effect of semantic and phonetic radicals in phonogram recognition
WANG Juan1,MA Xuemei1,LI Bingbing1,ZHANG Jijia2()
1 School of Education Science, Jiangsu Normal University, Xuzhou 221116, China
2 Department of Psychology, Renmin University of China, The State Ethnic Affairs Commission Key Research Center for National Language Cultural Psychology, Ethnic Education Development Research Center of Ministry of Education, Beijing 100872, China
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Abstract  

Phonograms are comprised of a semantic radical and a phonetic radical. The semantic radical usually implies the meaning of a character, while the phonetic radical offers a phonetic clue for the pronunciation of a character. Prior research has indicated that semantic and phonetic radicals each play an important role in phonogram cognition. However, the way in which the 2 kinds of radicals combine to influence both phonogram recognition and the activation process remains a controversial topic. Neighborhood size is one of the most important characteristics of radicals. The differences induced by the neighborhood size of radicals are called neighborhood effects. Prior studies employed various methods to investigate the roles of semantic and phonetic radicals on phonogram recognition and discovered that phonetic radicals have an advantage in phonogram processing. They also found that the neighborhood size of semantic radicals regulated the relative contributions of semantic and phonetic radicals. However, most of these researchers investigated the roles of semantic and phonetic radicals respectively. Only a few investigators have focused on the comprehensive role of semantic and phonetic radicals in character processing. This study attempted to investigate the comprehensive effect of semantic and phonetic radicals on phonogram recognition.


Participants’ brain responses were recorded using event-related brain potentials. Four types of characters were selected: HH (phonogram comprised of a high-frequency semantic radical and a high-frequency phonetic radical), HL (phonogram comprised of a high-frequency semantic radical and a low-frequency phonetic radical), LL (phonogram comprised of a low-frequency semantic radical and a low-frequency phonetic radical), and LH (phonogram comprised of a low-frequency semantic radical and a high-frequency phonetic radical). A lexical decision task was adopted; the frequency of the entire character and the number of strokes were equivalent for all groups.


The results showed that, for characters with high-frequency semantic radicals (HH and HL), the characters with high-frequency phonetic radicals (HH) elicited a larger P200 waveform component than the characters with low-frequency phonetic radicals (HL). However, for characters with low-frequency semantic radicals (LH and LL), there was no significant difference between the characters with high-frequency phonetic radicals (LH) and those with low-frequency phonetic radicals (LL). Characters with high-frequency phonetic radicals (HH and LH) elicited a larger N400 component than those with low-frequency phonetic radicals (HL and LL), and the N400 differences induced by the neighborhood size of phonetic radicals with high-frequency semantic radicals (HH and HL) were larger than those induced by characters with low-frequency semantic radicals (LH and LL). These results indicate that in the early stage of phonogram recognition, the neighborhood effect of phonetic radicals is regulated by the neighborhood size of semantic radicals. In the late stage of phonogram recognition, the higher the frequency of phonetic radicals, the stronger the semantic activation degree of the character. In general, the neighborhood size of phonetic radicals was found to affect vocabulary accessibility. However, the effect of the neighborhood size of phonetic radicals is regulated by the neighborhood size of semantic radicals.

Keywords semantic radical      phonetic radical      meighborhood size      pictographic recognition     
ZTFLH:  B842  
Corresponding Authors: Jijia ZHANG     E-mail: Zhangjj1955@163.com
Issue Date: 24 June 2019
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Juan WANG
Xuemei MA
Bingbing LI
Jijia ZHANG
Cite this article:   
Juan WANG,Xuemei MA,Bingbing LI, et al. The neighborhood effect of semantic and phonetic radicals in phonogram recognition[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2019, 51(8): 857-868.
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http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00857     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/Y2019/V51/I8/857
汉字类型 材料举例 平均字频 平均笔画数
HH 扛, 吵, 泡 0.002443 (0.0026) 9.72 (1.79)
HL 捏, 吼, 泻 0.001551 (0.0011) 9.60 (2.00)
LH 衬, 陪, 狗 0.004279 (0.0099) 9.47 (2.39)
LL 裤, 随, 猿 0.003109 (0.0055) 9.57 (2.27)
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
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