ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2018, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (9): 1535-1544.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2018.01535

• Conceptual Framework • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The functional unit of phonological encoding in Chinese spoken production: Study on phonemes

QU Qingqing*(), LIU Weilin, LI Xingshan   

  1. Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2017-11-03 Online:2018-09-15 Published:2018-07-30
  • Contact: Qingqing QU


Speech production studies have demonstrated cross-linguistic differences in the processing units involved in phonological encoding. It has been widely assumed a critical role of phonemes in spoken production of Indo-European languages. Phonemes are normally conceived of as abstractions of discrete segmental speech sounds which can distinguish the meaning between words. For instance, the word "big" represents a sequence of three phonemes /b/, /i/, /g/. Currently, investigations on the processing units in Chinese spoken production mainly focused on syllables, whereas only few studies concern the role of phonemes. In the present project, we propose to comprehensively tackle the role of phoneme in Chinese speech production, focusing on its psychological reality, potential factors influencing phoneme-based effects, processing mechanism and temporal properties, using both behavioral and electrophysiological techniques. Specifically, we will investigate: 1) whether phonemic processing has "psychological reality" in Chinese speech production, and whether sensitivity to phonemic representations is artificially induced by exposure to English as a second language, experience of Pinyin, or phoneme-based typing input method? 2) how we process phonemes? Specifically, we are interested in whether phoneme-based effects are phoneme-specific and position-specific, how phonemes associate together to form larger units, and the temporal properties of phonemic processing. The findings of the present project will not only improve our understanding of how Chinese speakers produce words in mind/brain, but also provide insights into the construction and development of theoretical and computational models of Chinese speech production. In addition, the findings will provide basis for cross-language comparisons, and the development of scientific teaching approaches of Chinese phonology.

Key words: spoken production, Chinese, functional units in phonological encoding, phoneme, ERPs

CLC Number: